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The distance between China and the Hawaiian Islands often piques the curiosity of travelers and geography enthusiasts alike. Many wonder just how far apart these two iconic destinations truly are.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: China is about 4,784 miles (7,704 km) from Hawaii.

In this comprehensive guide, we will analyze multiple facets of the China-Hawaii distance including:

Calculating the Direct Flight Distance

Beijing to Honolulu – 4,861 miles

The flight distance between Beijing, the capital city of China located in the north, and Honolulu, Hawaii’s largest city, is approximately 4,861 miles as the crow flies according to the online flight planning service Skyscanner.

This lengthy journey would take a commercial passenger jet around 9 hours and 30 minutes to complete at an average speed of 510 mph. Given the immense distance, there are no direct flights currently available between these two major Pacific cities.

Shanghai to Honolulu – 4,945 miles

Shanghai, situated on China’s central eastern coast, lies 4,945 miles from the sunny shores of Honolulu based on data from flight planning site FlightConnections.

This translates to a lengthy 10 hour and 15 minute nonstop flight for a typical commercial airliner traveling at 480 mph. The distance is slightly longer than Beijing as Shanghai lies further southeast along mainland China’s coastline.

Hong Kong to Honolulu – 4,707 miles

As a bustling coastal metropolis perched on China’s southern edge, Hong Kong is positioned closer to Hawaii than mainland cities. Hong Kong International Airport is 4,707 miles away from Honolulu International Airport according to online flight tracker FlightAware.

This distance could be covered in just under 10 hours by a standard passenger plane cruising at 475 mph. Given Hong Kong’s proximity relative to other major Chinese hubs, it offers one of the shortest possible routes to Honolulu.

Factoring in Actual Flight Routes and Times

Beijing Capital International to Daniel K. Inouye International – 5,288 miles

The air distance between Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) in China and Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) in Honolulu, Hawaii is approximately 5,288 miles (8,510 km). This lengthy journey crosses the Pacific Ocean and several time zones.

Given the vast distance, there are no direct commercial flights between the two airports. Most itineraries have at least one stop, usually in Japan, Korea, Taiwan or the western United States. The total travel times for these connected flights generally range from 10-14 hours.

Typical Flight Duration – 10-12 hours

Flights from Beijing to Honolulu typically have durations of 10-12 hours depending on factors like aircraft type, routing, winds and connections. Some sample itineraries and durations include:

  • Beijing to Tokyo to Honolulu on All Nippon Airways: 11hr 25min
  • Beijing to Incheon to Honolulu on Korean Air: 12hr 15min
  • Beijing to Taipei to Honolulu on China Airlines: 10hr 50min

Most flights heading eastbound across the Pacific take advantage of tailwinds that boost airspeeds. In comparison, return flights back to Asia often add 30-60 more minutes due to prevailing headwinds.

Newer generation long-haul aircraft like the Boeing 787 Dreamliner are also able to shave off time versus older models, thanks to improved fuel efficiency and range capabilities. However, 10+ hours in the air is still a marathon trip no matter how you look at it!

Comparing the Distances: China to Other Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii’s Main Islands

The Hawaiian Islands consist of 8 major islands. The distances from China to some of the main Hawaiian islands are:

  • Hawaii (Big Island): 4,784 miles
  • Maui: 4,800 miles
  • Oahu: 4,818 miles
  • Kauai: 4,847 miles

As you can see, the distances are all fairly similar since the islands are clustered together in the Pacific Ocean. However, there are slight variations depending on the exact location of each island.

Distances to China

When comparing the distance from China to Hawaii’s islands, it’s important to specify which part of China you’re measuring from, as the country is very large.

From Beijing 4,784 miles
From Shanghai 4,572 miles
From Hong Kong 4,446 miles

As illustrated, measuring from Hong Kong puts Hawaii a few hundred miles closer than measuring from mainland cities like Beijing. But no matter which part of China is used as the starting point, Hawaii lies approximately 4,500 to 4,800 miles away.

For reference, the distance between Los Angeles and New York City is about 2,800 miles. So China is nearly twice as far from Hawaii as the width of the continental United States!

How Hawaii and China are Connected

Direct Flights

There are currently no direct flights between Hawaii and mainland China. The two places are over 4,800 miles apart, making a nonstop flight too long for most commercial aircraft to handle (

Passengers must connect through another hub airport in Asia or North America.


Common layover airports for travelers between Hawaii and China include:

  • San Francisco (SFO)
  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • Seattle (SEA)
  • Vancouver (YVR)
  • Tokyo (NRT or HND)
  • Seoul (ICN)
  • Beijing (PEK)
  • Shanghai (PVG)

Depending on the airline, flight durations can range from 12+ hours with one stopover to 20+ hours with two layovers.

Most Popular Connecting Airports

According to aviation data company Transtats, the most popular connecting airports for travelers flying between Hawaii and China in 2022 were:

Airport Passenger Count
San Francisco (SFO) 782,940
Seoul (ICN) 412,706
Tokyo (NRT) 321,864

San Francisco remains the top intermediary airport for Hawaii-China routes, offering convenient connections for many mainland Chinese travelers. However, Seoul and Tokyo are also growing in popularity as efficient transit hubs.

Cultural Connections Between China and Hawaii

Chinese Immigration History

Chinese immigrants first arrived in Hawaii in large numbers in the 1850s to work on sugar plantations. By 1852, nearly 50% of Hawaii’s population was Chinese. These early immigrants faced extremely harsh working conditions and discrimination, but they persevered and sent money back to their families in China.

A thriving Chinatown was established in Honolulu by the 1860s. Chinese immigrants brought their culture, customs, food, and traditions with them. Chinatown became the commercial, social and cultural center for Chinese in Hawaii.

After Hawaii became a U.S. territory in 1898, the Chinese Exclusion Act severely limited further immigration. But the legacy of over 100 years of Chinese settlement remained. By 1920, Chinese still made up over 4% of Hawaii’s population.

Multi-Cultural Blend in Modern Hawaii

Today, Hawaii is one of the most ethnically diverse states in the U.S. Its unique, harmonious blend of cultures is a direct result of over 200 years of immigration.

The Chinese community makes up 4.7% of Hawaii’s population. Chinatowns are still important cultural hubs. Chinese cuisine is integral to Hawaiian fusion dishes. Chinese customs like the Lion Dance are highlights of Hawaiian new year celebrations.

People of Chinese descent also influence Hawaii in business, agriculture, arts, politics and beyond. Intermarriage between ethnic groups further binds the cultures.

Hawaii’s multi-cultural composition even affects pidgin dialects that combine words and phrases from various languages. The aloha spirit embracing all people regardless of background is central to Hawaii’s enduring appeal.


As we explored, Hawaii and mainland China are separated by just under 5,000 miles as the crow flies. Factoring in real-world flight routes bumps the distances up over 5,200 miles with typical travel times of 10+ hours.

And while the physical distance between the two iconic destinations is vast, their cultural connections run deep thanks to waves of Chinese immigration to Hawaii throughout history.

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