There's a ferry that goes from Shenzhen Shekou ferry terminal (and a bunch of other places) directly to the Hong Kong airport, and let's you completely bypass Hong Kong entirely! And, of course, information in English online is sparse and confusing. The airport's page about ferry transfers is super confusing, and the ferry schedule itself is nearly unintelligible. By comparison, taking the train was a piece of cake.
But wow it was convenient!
We didn't really want to go back to Hong Kong at the end of our trip - we were really enjoying Shenzhen. This ferry let us go straight from Shenzhen to the airport, and even got us through very easy security. In theory, if we'd gotten to the ferry terminal early enough, we even could have checked our bags at the terminal all the way through to Seattle - home.
Our flight from Hong Kong to Seattle was set to depart at 10:30am. Working backwards, that meant we were supposed to be on a ferry that reached HKIA by 8:30am. That meant we needed to catch the very first ferry at 7:15am. So we got a taxi at 6am from our hotel that was less than 5 minutes from the ferry terminal.
Waiting for our ultra-early taxi.
Inside was pretty much chaos, though. I had to go to four different counters and automatic terminals before I was able to just get our ferry tickers, and then all the lines were so long and slow-moving that it was 7:30 by the time we got to the security line. Luckily, that was the case for nearly everyone, so the ferry was delayed until everyone was on board.
But, man, once we sat down, it was this easy, quick trip over to the airport, and then we had a separate baggage check and security line just for passengers from the ferries.
Finally onboard the dang ferry.
I don't even remember all the questions I had before our trip... Please comment with questions so I can improve any support I can give! Traveling around China is incredibly easy once you actually get started, but planning is challenging.
(Oh, also... Shekou isn't as exciting as the rest of Shenzhen, but there's an adorable cat cafe!)
If you're looking for more thoughts about traveling through China, you can find more about our trip here.