13 Hot Travel Spots for Chinese Passport Holders in 2019

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:

Image by Dean Moriarty from Pixabay

#1: Cambodia

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.

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

#2: Egypt

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.

Image by Judith Scharnowski from Pixabay

#3: Jordan

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.

Image by Herbert Aust from Pixabay

#4: Kenya

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.

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

#5: Kyrgyzstan

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.

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

#6: Malaysia

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.

Image by Patrick Fransoo from Pixabay

#7: Oman

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.

Image by Walkerssk from Pixabay

#8: Seychelles

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.

Image by Jason Goh from Pixabay

#9: Singapore

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.

Image by Roman Bader from Pixabay

#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.

Image by Alex Sky from Pixabay

#11: Tunisia

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.

Image by Olga Ozik from Pixabay

#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.

Image by Simon Matzinger from Pixabay

#13: Zimbabwe

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!

Cambodian Husband Deported from US, White American Wife to Follow Him to Cambodia

As the US continues to ramp up its deportation efforts, the media have documented the casualties of this punitive response toward immigrants in terms of affected families.

A heartbreaking story on PRI I came across the other day details the deportation of a Cambodian man married to a white American woman from Wisconsin:

Lisa Kum has an endless list of tasks every day. The 41-year-old from Cottage Grove, Wisconsin, has a 19-month-old daughter and a high school-aged son. She’s also tending to her health after undergoing elbow surgery earlier this year.

Nowadays, she’s also busy growing her business that sells refurbished HP printer parts — so that she can sell it and move her family to Cambodia. That’s because Kum’s husband, Sothy Kum, was deported to Cambodia, a country he left when he was just 2 years old. She plans to shut down the small business they started together four years ago and start over 8,000 miles away.

“It’s pretty much been pure hell,” she says. “It’s very emotional. At the same time, you have to get up every morning and keep going because what other choice do you have?”

I can only imagine what a nightmare this has to be for her and her family. Meanwhile, you’re probably wondering, what exactly prompted the US to arrest and deport Sothy Kim? The article details that as well:

Lisa says her husband spent most of the last two years in immigration detention, almost as long as their young daughter has been alive. Sothy and his family fled Cambodia as refugees and spent years in camps, first in Thailand and then the Philippines. He arrived in the US in 1981, when he was about 6 years old.

Lisa and Sothy met in 2009 when they worked at the same company. In 2014, they decided to quit their jobs and take the financial risk of starting their own business. Sothy allowed an acquaintance to pay him to send marijuana to his house. He was convicted of possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver.

After serving his one-year sentence in 2016, Sothy was again detained by ICE. Though Sothy was a legal permanent resident with a green card, his conviction made him deportable. He remained in ICE detention until August 2017, when he was released just in time to see his daughter turn 1 and to marry Lisa. But by October 2017, Sothy was back in custody.

The reporter doesn’t probe further into Sothy’s conviction for marijuana, but it follows a sinister pattern in the US — that people of color constitute close to 80 percent of those imprisoned for possession and sales of marijuana, compared with a paltry 4 percent for whites. (And interestingly, with the legalization of marijuana in America, the people who now stand most to profit are overwhelmingly white.)

Does a conviction of this nature warrant deportation? Supposedly only people committing “crimes of violence” should be sent back to their countries, and it’s hard to imagine that any real violence was going on here.

Meanwhile, there’s another question worth asking — is it right to deport a man who came to the US as a refugee, and at such a young age? The actions of the current Trump administration have overwhelmingly shown they have no regard for such people, including the most recent example of ending protected status for Hondurans in the US. But still, it boggles the mind that a country that would welcome a refugee when he was only 6 years old has now shipped him back to his country of birth, despite the fact that he’s lived the vast majority of his adult life in the US.

Lisa and Sothy Kum remind me of so many interracial couples I’ve encountered over the years, and it was chilling to encounter their story in PRI. Meanwhile, I can’t help but wonder, what will their lives be like after reuniting in Cambodia? Will they be able to find a way forward for themselves and their family? I know deportation can have a devastating effect on people and their families, as a recent report of the tragic end of one man deported to Mexico revealed.

But here’s hoping their family will overcome these difficulties and start anew in Cambodia.

What do you think of this story? Do you believe Sothy Kim’s crime warranted deportation?