- Macau, the former Portuguese colony and present largest gambling haven in the world, is just an hour away by TurboJet ferry. It was the first European enclave in East Asia, and a major trading port from its founding in the 1500s. Today its main attractions are casinos, European food and wine, and old colonial buildings. Ticket prices start at $18 for the one-hour ride to Macau. The ferry building is near the Sheung Wan MTR station on Hong Kong Island. Less frequent ferries are also available from New World First Ferry in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon and the Hong Kong International Airport.
- Shenzhen, mainland China's boomtown just across the border can be reached by MTR train services in about 40 minutes. The train is convenient if you are keen on shopping as it terminates in the Lo Wu commercial centre. Another alternative, especially if you are starting from the island is the ferry to Shekou which takes around 50 minutes and costs around $13.
- Guangzhou, capital of mainland China's Guangdong Province, which was known as Canton in the tea-clipper era. Guangzhou is thousands of years old and has always been the most important city of Southern China. It is also considered the root of the Cantonese culture in Hong Kong, Macau and all over the world. Guangzhou can be reached by train within 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on Guangdong Line. If you are on a budget, many cross border buses are available throughout Hong Kong. The trip will take more than 3 hours, including going through customs at the border and changing buses. Check bus schedules and fares online.
Also, there are several nearby areas in South China that are well worth visiting:
- Guilin and Yangshuo for famous mountain and river scenery, possibly returning via Southern China's greatest city, Guangzhou.
- Hainan for tropical beaches.
- Wu Yi Mountain for history and scenery, returning via the lively modern city of Xiamen.
- Yunnan a very popular tourist destination, home to many of China's minority ethnic groups and the self-proclaimed Shangri-La County.
Visa information: Macau offers visa-free access to most nationalities who enjoy visa-free access to Hong Kong; please refer to the Macau visa-free access policy for more details. For the other destinations on this page, you will need to pre-arrange a People's Republic of China visa from a PRC embassy in your country or diplomatic mission before arriving in Hong Kong.