For many expats spending an extended period of time in Yangshuo on a tourist visa, it can be quite a nuisance having the 30 or 60 days stay limit on your Chinese visa. If Yangshuo’s charms have you wanting to stay longer than your visa permits at one time, how do you get around the maximum stay limit?
Visa permits often include a maximum day stay limit. Depending on the visa, this is often 30/60 days. The “visa run” is something used by travelers to overcome this issue and is something many will come across at least once during their travels. It simply requires spending some time in a different country or exiting the current country, before heading back in to finish off travels.
Due to Yangshuo’s inland and remote location, it can be a pretty difficult and arduous journey to leave China before you can get back in again. It is wise to plan your trip way in advance – it’s important to give a few days leeway on your visa to allow any hiccups along the way, and arguing with Chinese immigration police is probably not what you want to be doing anytime soon.
The most efficient way to do your visa run from Yangshuo is to go to Guilin, then Shenzhen, cross the border into Hong Kong, and back again! This round trip takes around 2 days, depending on methods of travel, queues at immigration, and train times. You could also use your trip as a great excuse to spend some time outside mainland China, and see what Hong Kong has to offer.
Getting from Yangshuo to Guilin is pretty straightforward, and takes around 1 hour. In a taxi, this could take 45 minutes and cost around 200 RMB. The bus takes slightly longer but is about 10x cheaper. From Guilin, you can take the high-speed train to Shenzhen, lasting around 3/4 hours. Alternatively, you could take the night bus which leaves Guilin at 9 pm and arrives at around 6 am in Shenzhen. This costs 160 RMB, and for a sleeper bus, is surprisingly pleasant. Once in Shenzhen, you can cross the border to Hong Kong on the metro, or via taxi from Shenzhen port (150 RMB).
If your visa allows it, you may also be able to get a 30-day extension in Guilin or Shenzhen if you apply for it. You should check this out online to see if your passport allows for this service.
Travelers shouldn’t rely on doing visa runs in order to stay in the country, and should only be used for further travel. It’s nice you want to explore more of the country, but limitations are there for a reason – don’t outstay your welcome!