Why people hate Chinese tourists that travel on a group tour?

Chinese group tourA Chinese group tour (the guy with the flag is the tour guide)

Last year I spent some months in Chiang Mai, Thailand. But China follows me everywhere. Or at least, this is the impression I got: there were Chinese tourists at every corner, every restaurant and every coffee shop.

The Chinese invasion of Chiang Mai

Why Chiang Mai became so fashion within Chinese tourists? It seems that it’s because of “Lost in Thailand“, a popular movie in China (the Chinese version of “The Hangover”, with less drugs and more kung fu).

Theorem: Since “Lost in Thailand” was shot in Chiang Mai. about every Chinese person with a passport is going to visit Northern Thailand in the following two years.

Corollary: Chiang Mai’s inhabitants got upset with Chinese tourists. So upset that Chiang Mai University started to charge a “visiting fee” to the hordes of Chinese tourists that arrive every day. Here a quote from the article that reported the news:

Among the more bizarre incidents is Chinese tourists dressing up in the university students′ uniform and taking pictures with the university landmarks, Mr. Rome said, adding that the security guards detained four such tourists yesterday during their cosplay activity.

This is just one of the many examples that I was able to find on the web.

Wait a minute…

“Thai people upset with tourists?”

This sounds like an oxymoron to me because a large chunk of Thai GDP is based on tourism and, overall, Thai people seem to be super friendly with foreigners.

Unless the foreigners are Chinese, I’ve discovered!

Disclaimer: Everything that will follow concern Chinese tourists that travel on a group tour. Chinese people that travel by themselves belong to a totally different class of tourists, probably the best as they don’t go to clubs and get super drunk (most popular hobby within Western tourist that visit Thailand after looking for prostitutes), they are super polite and spend a lot of money.

Am I surprised by this discovery?

Not at all! I had already noticed that Chinese people traveling on a group tour are, generally speaking, extremely rude, dirty and noisy (YES, more than Italian pigs like myself). A pain in the ass. A fucken tsunami.

When did I make this discovery? One week after I landed in China, while visiting the West Lake of Hangzhou. Yes, it’s in China that you’ll find the worse Chinese tourists, the ones that never traveled before, take a tour to Beijing or the West Lake and think they can behave as they do on their farmer village: smoking, screaming, eating, spitting and littering everywhere (and at the same time).

As an example, the last time I took the flight Shanghai-Hong Kong I had the joy to share the plane with forty tourists coming from Inner Mongolia (Northern China). They were all traveling together and, most likely, it was the first time they were going “abroad” (although Hong Kong is a Chinese Province, it’s a special administrative zone and you need to cross a border as if you were going to another country).

Beside the mess on the plane, which after we landed looked like a garbage dump, the funniest episode of the trip was during the queue at Hong Kong airport’s passport checkout. You know, one of those queues filled with elegant businesses men and shy Hong Kong girls that stare at their iPhone while an unreal silence fills in the room.

I can guarantee to you that, the day the Inner Mongolian horde of tourists landed, there wasn’t much silence. They started to overcome the travelers that were before them at the queue while letting a contrail of garbage behind them, screaming and, of course, eating chicken feet and other shit. One even lighted up a Yun Yan cigarette.

The Hong Kong police women at the border tried to stop the barbarians but there was nothing to do: they didn’t listen and grouped all together in front of the border counter.

Nobody really complained. Everybody (the Hong Kong police, the other Chinese travelers and the international business men) understood what was going on and everybody thought the same: let’s just let them go as fast as we can as it’s way easier to ignore their primitive behavior than try to deal with it.

I must admit that it was quite funny and that this mess is one of the aspect of China I miss the most every time I leave. But I must be a weird person: most of non-Chinese people can’t stand this behavior.

What is the reason for this behavior?

As I said at the beginning of this article, Chinese people that travel by themselves are completely different. My opinion is that they are well-educated, speak a least a bit of English and, generally speaking, know how to behave outside their farmer village in Shandong Province or their neighborhood in North Shanghai.

On another hand, Chinese people that take a group tour most luckily don’t speak any English and have zero interest for knowing more about other cultures. Taking a group tour allow them to travel without changing their habits: they can keep being impolite with waitresses or employees (in China it’s socially accepted), littering everywhere (in China there are armies of garbage collectors that “follow” the tourists and clean the place, but the rest of the world is different), smoking all the time (China is the only place in the world where I see people smoking at the airport, outside the smoking room), screaming at the phone, spitting on the floor, and so on. The list is quite long!

This explains why in Paris – but also in many other cities – there are “secret” Chinese restaurants especially built for the group tours that arrive from China.

The tourists take a pic in front of the Tour Eiffel and then go straight away to these “nice” restaurants where they can eat the very same stuff they it in Beijing or Shanghai. You may not believe me, but maybe you’ll believe Evan Osnos, who published a fantastic essay, “The Grand Tour: Europe on fifteen hundred yuan a day“, that describes the behavior of a Chinese group tour in Europe (he joined a tour before to write the essay). Here a short quote taken from the essay:

We followed Li into a small Chinese storefront, down a flight of stairs, and into a hot, claustrophobic hallway flanked by windowless rooms jammed with Chinese diners. It was a hive of activity invisible from the street, a parallel Paris. There were no empty seats, so Li motioned for us to continue out the back door, where we turned left and entered a second restaurant, also Chinese. Down another staircase, into another windowless room, where dishes arrived: pork braised in brown sauce, bok choy, egg-drop soup, spicy chicken.

So why they travel?

If they don’t want to learn anything about other cultures, meet different people, taste new food or doing anything they already do in China, so why in the hell they want to travel abroad?


They gain face among their social circle: being to Rome or Paris is a bit like displaying a Picasso on their living room. Since they can’t afford a Picasso, they take a twelve days tour to Europe so that, in less than two weeks, they can take a pic in Frankfurt, Paris, Nice, Venice, Florence and Rome. Awesome!

Pig on the loose: Chinese Tour Groups

If you’re interested on knowing more about this subject you can read Pigs on the Loose: Chinese Tour Groups, a short essay written by Echo Wang, a Chinese girl that traveled around the world and, ashamed by the behavior of her compatriots, decided to write a manifesto against Chinese people that travel on a group tour.

Photo Credits: Photos by Sapore di Cina

21 thoughts on “Why people hate Chinese tourists that travel on a group tour?”

  1. Totally agree!!
    I’m at thailand now facing all that kind of behaviour. Start thinking to ask hotels where i’m going to stay wether they have a lot of them or not ?

  2. From personal experience living in Thailand 12 years: These Chinese tourist are some of the rudest disrespectful people I’ve seen in Thailand, they travel in heads of 30-60 filling the entire sidewalk pushing into anyone going the opposite direction, not giving an inch to anyone outside their group and will try to force you off the path using thier sheer numbers, horribly rude inconsiderate people.

  3. I’m in Chiang Mai right now and am reminded every day of how Chinese tourists are so annoying.

    Even checking in at a hotel, they are so rude, arrive like they’re entitled to everything, talking to the staff like they’re talking to slaves, no smile, no “please”, no “thank you”… they’re so rude and so basic.

    And these ridiculous tour groups that they travel on… sometimes with 50 people at once. Especially on Thai islands, it’s so ridiculous and annoying… a group of 50 loud and basic people going to visit a beautiful cave or a beach – talk about ruining the experience for all the other ones! Yikes.

    Poor people who work in the tourism industry and have to put up with them all the time. My heart goes out to them.

    Even the Queen of England has been caught off camera dissing the Chinese delegations as “rude”… lol! If even SHE can drop her diplomatic posture to criticize them, imagine how the rest of the world feels about them.

  4. Just finished a two-week trip in Japan with my family. I cannot agree more with all the comments in this post. Chinese tourists are taking first place in the rankings of annoying travelers, even on top of the loud and obnoxious Americans!!!

    BTW, what’s with all these Chinese girls traveling in Japan and dressing in kimonos??!?!?? WTF!!! It took me a while to realize this before I took several photos of pretty “Japanese” girls in their traditional costumes….. Arghhh!!! I’m ok with a fake Chinese Rolex, but now even one cannot be sure when traveling in Japan and seeing Japanese girls at the Japanese tourist spots!!! Fake Chinese alert!!!!

    1. I disagree! If we’re talking about individual tourists, Italian or Spanish are much more annoying (notice I’m Italian myself)

  5. I had a good laugh reading this article. I travel all over Europe and Japan for both business and pleasure at least three, four times a year and stay around 30-45 days per each trip in average. What I couldn’t help but to notice during last 5 years of my travel was incredible increase in number of Chinese tourists everywhere. It is very hard not to notice such increase in numbers as they are so loud and rude. They don’t care about public manners or do they show any kind of respect for the country they are visiting. Few examples? They hardly ever stand in line for anything. Since they are travling in a group with a tour guide, they are used to not having to stand in line to get into Museums or other famous local attractions. Such condition combined with their nature, they refuse to wait in line at any place they visit. I was visiting an outlet once time outside of Paris once. There they were, a dozen plus group of Chinese tourists yelling, smoking and buying everything at sight. I saw group of Chinese women walking into one of the clothing store where they literally took an entire rack of clothes and pushed them towards cashier. I suppose they either had lots of relatives and/or friends to buy presents or they were simply on a buying spree to take back to China to resell for profit which happens quite often. As I watched these women taking away the rack, one of them raised her arm and started yelling in Chinese at one of the slaes clerk. She was then pointing at her watch as if she was trying to tell the store clerk that she was in a hurry. There were only around 3-4 people waiting in line to pay, but apparently she these group of Chinese women refused to wait as they felt that they should be given priority since they are buying more. Hotel I stayed at near Vendome in Paris has quite of few smaller hotels that are taking on these Chinese tourists groups. I had an opportunity to enjoy their breakfast buffet as I met up with a business associate who happened to stay there. Typical breakfast buffet in Paris hotels consist of cereals, eggs, including hard boiled, fresh fruits, danishes and juices. Most Chinese tourists will flock into the buffet bar and use a single spoon to dig into other dishes to put food on their plates instead of using each spoons that are placed per cuisine. Also, most of them were packing fruits and hard boiled eggs into their backpacks and were packing juices into empty plastic water bottles. I guess they were taking them to consume on the bus. By the time the group left, there were hardly anything left to eat for other guests. Most of them, if not all, will speak, more like yell, at store clerks snd employees at any business establishment they are visiting in Chinese and expect the locals to understand them. Anyway, I couldn’t agree more with the article I came across today, so I wanted to share a bit of my personal experience here. I try to keep my distance far away when ever I spot a group of Chinese tourists where ever I go these days. I just can’t stand the way they behave in public as they are so rude in many ways. Funny thing is, I am an asian. I suppose I should understand them better than those who are non-Asians, but I hate them more as they bring shame to all other non-Chinese asians. I guess you can call it a reverse racism.

    1. Hi Nanako, from your name I suppose you’re Japanese!

      I saw group of Chinese women walking into one of the clothing store where they literally took an entire rack of clothes and pushed them towards cashier.

      This is hilarious. And yes, often they buy stuff to resell it in China

      1. Good morning Mr. Fu,

        I just returned home from het another lengthy trip to various parts of Europe, including Italy, Czech, Austria, Poland and Germany. First, I would like to begin my reply by saying I do not mean to disrepect Chinese people entirely, but rather merelh trying to share my personal exoerience during my travel. Indeed, there are a lot more of Chinese people in a group tour these days thanks to their rapid economic growth in recent years. Unfortunately, many, if not most, of them are bringing some of their old habits to the countires they are visiting. After reading your article, I had to download the book you suggested, Pigs on the loose. I very much enjoyed reading it, by the way, as it described most of my personal experience in dealing with such tourist groups. Anyway, I hope the government will spend more money and efforts in educating youger generations to become more aware of how they should behave in other foreign countries while they are on a holiday. Such poor image towards Chinese as a whole certainly brings negative impact to whole asian ethnic as most Europeans can’t tell Chinese apart from any other asians since we supposedly all look alike in the eyes of non-asians. Anyway, it is disheartening to see many Europeans looking down towards asians because of poor images these tourists paint during their visit. I learned to stay far away from such group when I spot them, so locals don’t look at me in such ways they often do when they see a group of tourists taking away the beauty of their local cities.
        Thanks again for sharing your experience.
        Have a lovely day

  6. the part on chinese tourists at the eiffel tower made me laugh because I am so familiar with it,
    I live near the eiffel tower and run almost everyday there so I witness it everyday.
    I got the habit of practicing my chinese with tourists a bit before I start running but that one specific spot he is refering to I avoid at all costs :)
    it is just insane ! and I must say I nearly lost hope in my interest in chinese culture the first time I saw them, I was quite shocked to be honest, luckily I met way more interesting chinese people after…
    These tourists they just all run out of the buses take the very same shitty photo with the bus on the way, then 5 minutes later run to the huge queue of the nearby packed crappy chinese restaurant, You can see groups of dozens all day long like that, spitting and screaming then disapearing without even noticing their environment.
    As a traveler I often feel mass traveling is such a shame, but this is just a whole different level of mass traveling !

  7. Presently on the Island of Patmos in Greece with the author of “Pigs on the Loose”. She is having nightmares about what will happen on the Greek Islands when they finally discover them and start visiting the monasteries here.

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