Traditionally, Chinese passports have been synonymous with onerous visa applications, in-person interviews and other bureaucratic headaches when considering international travel. That’s something I learned many years ago when I first tried to bring my husband, then boyfriend, home to the US with me.
But, to borrow that line from Bob Dylan, the (traveling) times, they are a’ changing.
Today’s Chinese tourists have just as much wanderlust as their Western counterparts, as more opt for independent travel and unique locales, and they also represent huge dollars in the international tourism industry. That has spurred a growing number of global destinations to welcome Chinese visitors with preferential policies.
Earlier this year Travel & Leisure and Lonely Planet posted their lists of the hottest travel destinations for 2019, and a number of the countries listed give easier visa clearance for Chinese citizens. So if you’re interested in hitting a buzz-worthy destination as a Chinese citizen, check out the following countries, listed in alphabetical order:
The seat of the legendary Angkor Wat also offers superb beaches and a cuisine that shares much common ground with Thailand and Vietnam, not to mention some new ecotourism adventures in the country’s south (as mentioned by Travel & Leisure). And for Chinese passport holders, an e-visa (which you can pay for with Alipay and even a UnionPay card) or visa on arrival will help secure your vacation in the land of Khmer culture.
Who hasn’t dreamed of gazing upon the country’s ancient pyramids, Sphinx, the Nile and more (made even more tantalizing in this mention on Travel & Leisure)? Fulfill your wish, thanks to Egypt’s visa on arrival for Chinese passport holders who meet some relatively simple requirements.
Jordan has enticed many travelers (and Lonely Planet in 2019) with its iconic Jordan Trail (which includes the ancient city of Petra). The fact that it offers visas on arrival for Chinese passport holders further paves the way for your visit there.
Besides the great outdoors and safari adventures, Kenya has also landed on savvy travelers’ must-see lists (including Travel & Leisure) for its vibrant arts scene in Nairobi. E-visas for Chinese passport holders will help kickstart your journey to this dynamic East African country.
This far western neighbor to China has garnered rave reviews among a growing group of independent travelers for trekking and pristine landscapes (earning it a mention by Lonely Planet). Its e-visa offers a simple, convenient way for Chinese passport holders to gain entry and experience the stunning scenery.
From picturesque Penang and to idyllic coastlines, islands and rainforests, Malaysia has long remained a trusty destination for Chinese passport holders – and it got a special recommendation from Travel & Leisure in 2019. An e-visa is all Chinese passport holders need before buying that ticket to Kuala Lumpur.
Considered by Travel & Leisure as “one of the most beautiful countries on the Arabian peninsula”, Oman has everything from brilliant beaches and desert wonders to the UNESCO Frankincense Trail. And Chinese passport holders just need an e-visa to set foot in this Middle Eastern gem.
The Seychelles have seduced many a traveler to its shores with its Instagram-worthy beaches and forests straight out of a travel brochure (catching the eye of Travel & Leisure this year too). Even better, no visa needed for Chinese passport holders to visit this island paradise, so all you need to worry about is your plane tickets and luggage.
The success of the movie “Crazy Rich Asians” has catapulted Singapore, one of the first overseas destinations open to Chinese, to the top of many travelers’ itineraries (including Travel & Leisure), hoping to experience some of the swanky spots featured in the novel and film. Chinese passport holders only need an e-visa or, even simpler, the visa-free 96-hour transit option — then you’re one step closer to cocktails at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel.
#10: Sri Lanka
Lonely Planet says “Sri Lanka is decidedly having its moment in the equatorial sun,” and that’s especially true among Chinese travelers. They flock to its shores for the great temples, natural wonders, amazing beaches and surfing, mouth-watering curries, spice gardens, world-famous teas and more – especially because the country offers a visa on arrival or e-visa.
From awe-inspiring Roman sites to glorious Mediterranean beaches, Tunisia has a lot for visitors – and it’s making a comeback with travelers in recent years, as Travel & Leisure reported. Even better, no visa required for Chinese passport holders, making this land of couscous especially tempting.
#12: United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates has gripped the world with grand and glittering Dubai (which has everything from the tallest building on Earth to superior options for shopping). But Travel & Leisure also recommends rising star Sharjah for its beautifully preserved heritage and more. No visa necessary for Chinese passport holders to experience this Middle Eastern powerhouse.
Home to the most mesmerizing views of Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe has inspired wanderlust among countless travelers, eager to gaze upon the superlative natural wonder (and more). It ranked No. 3 on Lonely Planet’s list of countries for 2019 – and it should get priority on your list, since Chinese passport holders can secure an e-visa/visa on arrival.
What other hot destinations for 2019 would you recommend for someone traveling on a Chinese passport? Let us know in the comments!