For many Yangshuo Expat the “visa run” is not only a rite of passage, but a legal necessity every 60-90 days (depending on your visa). Back in the day, this was somewhat a bitch of a journey with the choices being the overnight train (impossible to get a ticket), or the overnight sleeper bus. If you’ve never taken a sleeper bus in China it’s worthy of an article in itself. There’s not much space, there are no toilets, and the time of arrival is an estimate rather than a science. Then a few years ago, China, being China, built a high-speed rail network between Yangshuo/Guilin and Guangzhou/Shenzhen, thus reducing travel time from 12 hours to under 3, and amazingly for far cheaper than it used to cost for a sleeper on the train or bus. So what is the best way to travel from Yangshuo to Hong Kong (or vice-versa)?
Yangshuo station, which is actually in Xinping (half an hour from Yangshuo) offers the smartest route with 5 daily trains to Guangzhou, from where you can transfer to Shenzhen or Futian, but this train tends to sell out quickly, leaving option 2. Option two is taking the bus to Guilin North (2 hours) and then one of the three direct trains to Shenzhen North, from where you can transfer to one of the border crossings. This also sells out quickly leaving option 3. Option 3 takes the longest, but also rarely sells out. Bus to Guilin North, train to Guangzhou South, transfer to Shenzhen and over the border into Hong Kong, ideally within about 7 hours of leaving your house.