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Hong Kong to Shenzhen North Station by subway is not too difficult if you leave plenty of time and read these tips. Hong Kong has two subway stations that offer border crossings into Shenzhen, China.

I’ve crossed into China at the LoWu crossing hundreds of times on business, but since that time another better station has opened, it has a lot fewer people and does not require a subway line change on the way to Shenzhen North Railway station, so this is a much faster and simpler option. Here’s how…

Hong Kong to Shenzhen North Station by Subway

From Hong Kong take the subway (Called the MTR – Mass Transit Railway) to the north, to Lok Ma Chao station (Lokmachao) 落馬洲. There’s a very useful app that will guide you. If you don’t have a smartphone don’t worry, the signs are all in English and the station staff speaks good English.

Useful Apps


1. Get Google Translate Configured to Work Offline
In settings, you can download the whole language databases for Chinese Mandarin and English into your phone, but sadly this is only on Android. This tip saves you not only data but the frustration of discovering nothing Google is reliable in China. Google has some Chinese government relationship problems 😉 but respect to Google for not selling out on privacy like Microsoft and Yahoo.
Here’s how to run Google translate offline (caching the languages):
1. Get on Wifi to avoid mobile data costs (unless your on an unlimited plan)
2. Android phone, open Google Translate
3. Click settings icon, it looks different on different versions
4. Select “Offline languages” from the menu, which will take you to a screen listing all the languages currently available to cache offline.
5. Tap the pin icon on the languages you want. English and Chinese mandarin (simplified).

2. MTR Subway Map

This English language official app from the MTR corporation even tells you how long it will take from your current location and the best points to change train. The user design and speed of the app are good. Download the app from Apple or the play store for  Android.
Hong Kong Subway (MTR) Map App
Hong Kong Subway (MTR) Map App
There is also a free tourist version which includes the specific subway exit information for attractions around HK. So if your planning to stay in Hong Kong a few days, get that app!

3. Hong Kong Immigration Department Border App

This app is free and can be useful in planning your set off time. This shows live wait times at the borders. Combine this with the MTR app and you get a better idea of an expected travel time. Especially useful on Chinese holidays. However, no such app for China side, but this border crossing route is (in my years of experience) much faster than LoWu.
You just click the location within the app to see estimated wait times. You can download this app from Apple or the play store for  Android.
HongKong Immigration Boarder Wait Time App
HongKong Immigration Department’s App, Showing Border Wait Time Times.

4. China Train Ticket Booking Apps

A large travel agent called China Highlights offers hotels, flights, and train ticket bookings. They released their own app which offers easy in-app train ticket booking and payment. Once purchased you collect it from the train station with a reference number on or before the day of departure. You can also request to have it posted to a mainland Chinese address or Chinese hotel, not including Hong Kong. Naturally, they take a fee, but the ability to deal with a team with good English and easily bag a ticket on the dates you need is priceless! In the past, we only could book train tickets 10 or 7 days in advance in person at a station in China. This coupled with the new high-speed trains opens up more options for travelers You can download this app from Apple or the play store for  Android.

As part of my tourism consulting in China, I did consult in the design of this service and app, but I receive no benefit or commission for recommending it. I just know the team who are behind the app are awesome people, you’re in safe hands dealing with them!

China Train Ticket Booking App Screenshot
English China Train Ticket Booking App

Don’t forget to bring:

1. Pen – for the customs slips
2. 5 or 10 RMB notes – for buying subway tickets in the ticket machines in Shenzhen.
3. Passport with China Visa
4. Train ticket booking reference no. (No need to print this out, showing your phone is enough)

Travel Tips:

Don’t let these interchanged names confuse you. This border crossing is called The Futian Checkpoint, but most Hongkies (Hong Kong people) call it the Lokmachao crossing.


On exiting, the electronic subway gates at Lokmachao you’ll instantly be able to see the HK border immigration desks ahead, it’s that easy.

Travel Tips:

You’ll need your exit slip and passport. If you’ve lost the white exit slip part (given to you when you arrived into Hong Kong) don’t panic! Grab a new one from desks at the side and back of that hall, and just fill out a new one. Where it asks “Flight or Train No.” write down “MTR Lok Ma Chao to Shenzhen”.

Once your passport has been bent backward, turn inside out, scanned, stamped, pressed, and origami’ed into a little bird, follow the signs towards Shenzhen, it’s not far, and all inside the same building. Just follow the other people. You’ll soon cross an (enclosed) border bridge, the river below is no man’s land, and you’ll arrive at the Shenzhen border in a few minutes. Just like Hong Kong the border and subway share the same building. Stay left and you’ll see the overhead blue sign for foreigners. Fill in an arrival slip and stand in line. Once stamped into China just follow the signs to the Shenzhen subway. This will contain the Chinese characters for subway, which are 地铁.
This is the only tricky bit; you have just to follow the signs, but they are not consistent in their language or wording, they change the routes and signs often. China’s rapid development mean things change fast. It should be towards the left and down one level as you come out of customs. At least at the time of writing this, June 2015. (update, also the same 2017)
In a worst case scenario just show people this Chinese:
打扰你了…. Sorry to trouble you….
地铁站在哪里?  Where’s the subway station?

How to get to Shenzhen North Station by Subway

The subway station at this border house has only one line, the REDLINE 4, this is called the Longhua Line 龙华线, and to make things very easy; you’re at the end of the line. The subway station name is Futian Checkpoint.
Just ride the line north towards Qing Hu 清湖. You can’t go wrong, it’s the only direction you can go. Here’s a useful section of the map:

Shenzhen Subway Map

HongKong to Shenzhen North Railway Station Map
HongKong to Shenzhen North Railway Station – Subway Route Map
Just to reconfirm, on this map you’re be at the bottom of the red line and will ride north, up to the Shenzhen North Railway Station. No changes required.
If you need help or reassurance you can always use this Chinese to ask:
I want to go to the North Train Station. Is this right?  
Then point at whatever you need, platform, train, map, ticket machine screen.
How to Buy Shenzhen Subway Tickets
Inside the station select the station, it defaults to 1 person 1 way, enter a 5 RMB note and change and a plastic token comes out.

Travel Tips:

It’s a good idea to first enter the security check and buy the ticket inside because the ticket machines outside the security area area crowded.

How to Use the Shenzhen Subway
The token is placed over the sensor to enter the gates and dropped in a coin slot at the destinations to exit the gates.
Once you arrive, you’ll need to follow the signs and hunt around a little for the signs to the north train station.
China likes to use all sorts of inconsistent signage for everything from parks to government offices. In this case I’ve seen signs displaying: CRH, China Rail High Speed, North Station

北站,高铁站,候车站,高铁 etc….
Don’t worry it’s fairly close, and normally just down a level by escalator, here’s something you can show people that will get you there.
我真在找北站,在哪里?  I’m looking for the North Station, where is it?
Outside the station, there are lines for the security check to enter the station area. If you have used the recommended China Train Booking App to order your ticket and opted to collect it at the station, it’s best to allow plenty of time to line up. You’ll need the passports for everyone you are collecting tickets for, plus the reference no. for your ticket collection. No need for a paper print out, you can just show you phones email.
The ticket collection counter we have used Ticket Hall A; it was next to the escalator we came down from the border house and had a very large sign in English. If you can’t see it just walk out into the large square in front of the railway station and turn and look backwards directly at the train station, it’s on the left side.
In the unlikely event you have trouble finding it, this might be useful:
我在网上买的票, 可是我不能用那些的自动机收到票,应为我是外国人,没有身份证。所以我需要排队。在哪里可以借票?在那里排队?什么窗户是对的?
I bought my ticket online. However,  I can’t use the automatic machines to collect my ticket because I am a foreigner, I have no Chinese ID card. So I have to line up to collect my ticket from staff. Where can I collect the ticket?  Where should I line up? Which ticket window is correct?
You probably won’t need this Chinese, but it is nice to have. Once you have your tickets, go through security gates, showing the ticket and your ID. The passport no. will be on the ticket, so ensure you’ve not changed passport since booking. Go through the X-rays and you’ll arrive in the large station hall.

Travel Tips:

If you’re yet to get a coffee fix, there is a Starbucks and McCafe in the far left and right corners on the balcony levels. Escalators are location in front of each.
There is a toilet with Chinese characteristics 😉 under the McCafe escalator. Please bring soap, hand gel, toilet paper, air 😉  Toilets are better on the trains, so if you can wait, wait.
High speed trains, also called bullet trains, board about 20-15 minutes before departure. Even if you have a VIP or 1st ticket everyone will board together through the same gates in the main hall. When boarding they form 2-3 lines for blue tickets (automatic machine issued) and 1 line for pink tickets (old school offline tickets) bought at train stations or ticket offices. The gates only accept the colour ticket for that line. This is useful to know, as you don’t want to try and fight across 2 lines of gates with your luggage when you get to the front.

Travel Tips:

The station saves money by either not turning up the a/c 🙁 It can be hot. The best option you have is to sit under the ceiling fans in McCafe, although they are not so effective its much better than nothing.
There is a beef noodle chain, KFC, McDonalds, McCafe, Starbucks, Noodle bar inside the waiting area. Surprisingly on the high speed trains you can now often (but not always) get freshly ground coffee and imported ice cream.
In summary, if time is on your side and you have booked a train departing in the mid to late afternoon, you can remove stress and find this fairly easy. If you’re aiming at a midday train and a last-minute kind of person, or someone easily stressed, you might find this way too much hassle. In that case, it might be better to fly to a destination directly from HK, especially during an official holiday.
I have explained Hong Kong to Shenzhen North Railway Station in detail, as a resource for you to take with you. This article in some ways might make traveling from Hong Kong to Shenzhen North Station seem more complex than it is.  I normally prefer to keep things short, but in the end decided everyone is different, and we want to offer as much detail and help as possible to cover all types of people and some eventualities. So print this out, download it, bookmark or copy and paste it into your yellow notes app.
Have you done this before? Can you share some tip, or do you have any questions about getting to the north station?
Do you have any tips, or different ways you get from Hong Kong to Shenzhen North Station? Please share with us all in the comments.