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!

‘African Jasmine Flower’: Ruth Njeri Finds Success, Love on Chinese Stage

Among the many talented foreign women who happened to marry Chinese men, there’s Kenyan Ruth Njeri, who rose to fame – and found love – on the stage in China.

Njeri is also known in China as “非洲茉莉花“ (fēizhōu mòlìhuā, the “African jasmine flower”), a nickname she received from the country’s former president Hu Jintao after meeting him and singing together with him the Chinese folk song “茉莉花” (Jasmine Flower) in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2006, which landed her in the national TV news in China. As China Daily reported in an April 7, 2013, story titled Chinese Tones:

Njeri’s patience and persistence in learning Mandarin paid off in April 2006 when Hu Jintao, then China’s president, visited Kenya. Because of her progress in Chinese, she was selected from the Confucius Institute to meet him.

“I was quite nervous meeting him, and I heard my voice trembling while talking to him. He is actually a nice person who is very approachable and likes to chat with young people.”

Njeri completed her studies at Nairobi’s Confucius Institute in June that year and moved to China to pursue a degree in language and literature at Tianjin Normal University a month later.

She also received a scholarship for her studies, thanks to winning the Chinese Bridge Competition in Kenya.

In the next several years, she went on to appear numerous times in TV shows on networks all across China, including the country’s prominent China Central Television, or CCTV, which named her one of the most influential foreigners of 2007.

But her greatest moment – the one that changed her life and love forever – came with her high-profile singing performance in the 2011 Spring Festival Gala, or Chunwan, China’s annual Chinese New Year’s Eve show broadcast across the country on CCTV on the most important night of the year. That year, she shared the stage with Ya Xing, a Chinese man she first met in a Shanghai:

Ya, 40, hails from Luoyang, an industrial city in Central China’s Henan province. He met Njeri, 34, from Nairobi, Kenya in a restaurant in Shanghai while she was studying on a Chinese government scholarship. At the time, they were both participating in the World Expo and met again a month later in Shanghai just before sharing a stage during the CCTV Spring Festival Gala in Beijing in 2011.

“It was fate, Yuánfèn“, Ya said.

The two of them would go on to perform together on TV many times.

Njeri also sang for the 2013 Spring Festival Gala as well (a year that saw Celine Dion perform for the event).

And as for Njeri and Ya:

Three years ago, Ya Xing married Ruth Njeri before his friends and family in China. He is considered brave among his peers for starting a new life in Kenya but the ebullient entrepreneur, once a TV host, does not think so.

“I am in love,” he said. “It might look complicated to marry into a new culture, but I think people think too much of it.”

Read the full story — and see a photo of the delightful couple — at China Daily.

Bilibili has a more recent video about Ruth Njeri’s life in Kenya, including highlights from her performances.

For people in China, here are links to Ruth Njeri’s performances on CCTV, including this CCTV performance of Ruth and Xing, and this other CCTV performance by the couple

You can learn more about Ruth Njeri at Baidu Baike (written in Chinese).

What do you think of Ruth Njeri?