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!

The Unglamorous Reality of Citizenship in Chinese-Foreign Marriages

“So, do you have Chinese citizenship?”

As a foreigner living in China and married to a Chinese citizen, it’s a question I’m intimately familiar with, especially from friends and family back home in America. Even I used to think the same thing growing up in the US — that international marriage automatically meant getting another passport. Wouldn’t it make sense that, in the most intimate of all bonds, loved ones could also share their own citizenship?

How I wish it were that easy. That somehow saying “I do” with someone from another country would magically make another passport pop out of thin air, with your name on it.

Invariably, I have to let everyone who asks this question down, dispelling those fantasies with a cold, hard answer: “No, I don’t have Chinese citizenship.” And sometimes, I might strangle any remaining hopes by adding the disappointing details of how it’s very difficult to gain Chinese citizenship, and that China doesn’t even allow dual citizenship, so I would have to renounce my US citizenship (something I would never want to do).

I’m reminded of how, years ago, people in China would ask my husband, after we had just tied the knot, “So, are you an American now?” And then we’d be forced to divulge the far more complicated reality — that first he would have to apply for a green card (which isn’t guaranteed), and then later he would be eligible to apply for US citizenship (which also isn’t a sure thing and requires taking an exam many Americans can’t even pass). And even if he received US citizenship, he would still have to surrender his Chinese citizenship. It’s a strangely dispossessing situation that he has never wanted to face, preferring to remain a citizen of China.

The clunky reality of how citizenship actually works — especially when Chinese and foreigners wed — is nothing like all of those gossamer hopes and dreams you might have had about international marriages. And I haven’t even gotten into the issues involving kids in a Chinese-foreign marriage (which my fellow blogger Susie writes about at WWAM BAM in a post that deals with citizenship issues). And if you really want to make your head spin, read about how kids and citizenship issues and the like left Ember Swift, who was married to a Chinese man, grounded in a Toronto airport.

Some people do get lucky in their international marriages, though. For example, Monica, an American woman married to a Korean man, could actually gain South Korean citizenship and still keep her US citizenship at the same time.

But what I know is this — as much as I would love for things to change, I cannot possibly measure the value of my marriage by whether it grants me an additional passport or dual citizenship. I care far more about the “dual” things that really matter in the passport pages of our life: love, respect and support. Jun and I have all of these and so much more in our marriage, which continues to bring us both boundless happiness. That’s something no passport could ever guarantee.