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13 Hilarious Instructions from the China Government to its tourists

The China tourist guidebook in Chinese. Screen cap from YouTube.

The guidebook.

Who are the world’s WORST tourists?

A. The Chinese     B. The Chinese     C. The Chinese     D. Refer to A, B & C

You were probably thinking the Chinese too, right? After that Thai AirAsia incident where Chinese travellers scalded a crew member with hot water and noodles and threatened to blow up the plane? And another where a Chinese passenger opened the Xiamen Air emergency exit just before take-off because he wanted to get some fresh air?

WRONG! The Business Insider published a survey showing that Russians, Brits and Americans could give the Chinese a run for that title. But we’re not going to talk about the others, no. We want to talk about Chinese tourists. Why? Because the other countries’ governments didn’t come up with a guidebook to civilised tourist behaviour, no. But China did!!!

According to Chinese media, senior Communist Party leaders, President Xi Jinping and Vice Premier Wang Yang fear that Chinese travellers’ etiquette boo-boos give them a reputation problem (senior Communist Party leaders fear that??!). So, their solution was to release a ‘Guide To Civilised Tourism’ on National Day, where the whole country gets a week off and Chinese people can go……..uhhhh-ohhhh…travelling.

China tourists coming in hordes. Screen cap from YouTube.

We were gonna use a Ned Stark ‘brace yourselves, tourists are coming’ meme, but THIS is soooo much better. Screen cap from YouTube.

Let’s watch a short trailer about the book from Tomo News first. We janji it’s so worth it.

So we picked out 11 hilarious points from the guidebook to share with you, complete with illustrations of clip art people that – correct us if we’re wrong – look strangely NOTHING like ethnic Chinese.

Do not feed animals. Image from the guidebook.

How PC. The illustration shows the kid offering the monkey an apple…not a stone. Image from the guidebook, pg 25.

1. Do not chase, beat or feed the animals, pg 6

Are you kidding us?! People still need to be told not to mistreat animals?! Chup. We have a feeling you guys are gonna say, ‘Wake up and smell the animal abuse, CILISOS. It’s still happening everywhere in the world‘. It’s not that we are not aware, it’s just that we’re rhetorically expressing a point.

And yes, we’re painfully aware that the Chinese are just a teensy bit stunted on love for animals. At home, they’ve got bears in bile farms *sniff*, they threw rocks and garbage at crocodiles to check if they were real or fake *sob*, snowballed lions in the Hangzhou Zoo *sob sob* and used a dying dolphin as a photo prop… then the poor thing died *bawwwwwww*.

Overseas, animals are not spared either. In Sabah, an ex-Resort Manager once told this writer that on one of her dive trips with Chinese tourists, a woman used her pointer to stab at a moray eel.

“So I grabbed her oxygen tank and yanked her away from the eel.” – Ex-Resort Manager

Don't take the corals. Image from the guidebook.

Image from the guidebook, pg 40.

2. Do not block streets by walking side by side, pg 6

Ever notice that where there is one China tourist, there’s always 4 or 20 more herding around? That’s coz Chinese tourists usually go in groups. How does the idea of a group of Chinese tourists make you feel? Uneasy? Check. Queasy? Check. Unfortunately it’s pretty much the only way for them to travel, especially the older generation, because of language and cultural barriers.

Look out for the pack leader. The one carrying the flag. There’s always a flag. Then you have time to detour and avoid running into the group. In their defence, it is pretty hard not to walk side by side and block the street as the guidebook discourages when you’re travelling in such a large group. OMG be careful not to step too close or you might end up being swallowed into the mass, ugaiz. You might never come out the same.

Image from Tom Magliery on Flickr.

There’s the flag! There are the tourists. There are their caps. But where’s Wally? Image from Tom Magliery on Flickr.

But don’t despair, ugaiz. CNN has discovered a trend of independent tourism in China. More and more young people with foreign language skills are dumping tour groups to fly solo. At the moment, slightly more than half the tourists (53%) prefer to go with tour groups. This could all change one day, so yes, in future we’ll still get Chinese tourists, but at least not in a horde!

3. Do not bare your chest or back in public, pg 7

Clothing is mentioned a few times in the guidebook. It tells the ladies not to wear revealing clothes in Muslim regions and men not to wear jewellery in public (pg 41). So, apparently if you wear it in the privacy of the hotel room, it’s fine(?!). Also revealing clothes should never be worn in Nepal (pg 39). Tourists, you have been warned.

But in Thailand, Chinese tourists are getting a reputation for disrespecting the dress restriction in Chiang Mai temples. Monks were having a hard time explaining to them that wearing shorts is not allowed. The baring of legs is not mentioned in the guidebook. Yanyways, here’s an illustration (the ones that look nothing like Chinese people) of how it should go down at temple runs.

Image from the guidebook.

Long-sleeved tops and jeans are the way to go during trips overseas. Image from the guidebook, pg 39.

And then we found this on (where else) the Internet.

Tourists in awful clothes. Image from Nir Elias on Reuters.

Whut are they wearing?! Image from Nir Elias on Reuters.

OK, when you go on a tour you want to dress as comfortably as possible, but seriously where did they – no WHY did they get these outfits?! We can’t decide which is a bigger travesty to humanity, this, or refusing to dress appropriately in temples. It’s like Sophie’s Choice! What about you guys?

Actually, here’s a funnier instruction in the guidebook: In Algeria and Guinea, female tourists wearing white clothes or capes will be respected by locals and everyone will make way for them (pg 41). It’s not totally redonkulous tho because in Algeria, a full-white outfit called ‘haik’ is the traditional dressing of Algerian women. So if a foreigner wears it respectfully, we’re sure the locals would be respectful of her. It’s just funny coz it’s in a ‘Guide To Civilised Tourism’ by the China National Tourism Administration.

4. Do not deface, touch, or climb on cultural relics, pg 16

Illustration 1. Do not vandalise cultural sites. Image from the guidebook.

Image from the guidebook, pgs 16 (left) and 17.

OMG ya, who could forget that kid who carved ‘Ding Jinhao was here‘ onto a 3,500-year-old Egyptian temple wallHere’s the interesting thing, it was another Chinese tourist who posted it up and condemned the act, saying ‘My saddest moment in Egypt. Ashamed and unable to show my face’, according to New York Post. Another guy called it a ‘disgrace to their entire race

Chinese tourist carve name ancient Egyptian temple. Image from The Wire

This kid’s got a twisted sense of humour. Image from The Wire.

But the damage is done and that fugly carving is irreversible (they can’t even rub it off with water). Now when people think of China tourists, they’ll automatically remember this incident. Man, this guy’s kids are so gonna be the social pariahs in school for up to like 10 generations! But another 3,500 years from now, who knows, maybe his carving will be famous and accepted as part of pop culture and Ding Jinhao will be the hero of anti-establishment. Entah.

Don't take photos without permission. Image from the guidebook.

Image from the guidebook, pg 17.

The book also teaches Chinese tourists not to touch exhibits or cultural relics without permission and to obey signs like ‘no smoking’, ‘no food and drinks’, ‘no photography with flash’ (pg 17).

5. Reject superstitions, pornography, prostitution, gambling and drugs, pg 25

Reject hookers and drugs. China tourist. Image from the guidebook.

Image from the guidebook, pg 25.

Wait. What?!

Then they give this illustration. What in the name of Photoshop is that? One of our writers sez it looks a woman in a sarong interrupting this nice couple’s dinner. Maybe Ginger is about to shoot heroin into that guy’s arm. Maybe she’s rolling dice. Maybe the guy is soliciting something from her. Maybe it’s a seance and the tour guide (see flag in left hand) is stepping in to save them from their vices.

Do Chinese tourists have a rep for those things? For gambling they kinda do. In Macau, the gambling mecca, they’re not just targeting Chinese high rollers any more. They’re going for middle-class families! And, aaand, because the scene there is getting too crowded, South Korea is also building moar casinos for China tourists.

6. Do not pick your nose or teeth in front of others, pg 13

GROSS! Under the ‘Common Sense for Civilised Tourism’ chapter, the book tells tourists not to pick their noses or teeth, cough, sneeze or engage in other vulgar behaviour in front of other people (pg 13). Errrr… don’t all mothers teach their children NOT to do that?

6. Image from the guidebook.

Yuck, don’t do that! Image from the guidebook.

On the same point, it teaches people not to spit out their chewing gum or *hack* actually spit on the ground and that in Singapore, they could get fined for it (pg 40). Some illustrations below to help Chinese tourists see the difference. What would they do without illustrations.

Throw rubbish on ground. Image from the guidebook.

DO throw trash into the trash can, DON’T toss it on the ground. Image from the guidebook.

7. Do not relieve yourself in random places, pg 13

China crotchless pants. Image from Chinese traditions and culture.

Image from Chinese traditions and culture.


Ganja is illegal in Malaysia, but CBD oils are being sold online. What's the difference?

You mean in China they relieve themselves in random places? We know some of their toilet cubicles don’t have doors. And we’ve heard that even if they had doors, locals sometimes don’t bother to close ’em.

We were relieved (not in the toilet) that the guidebook didn’t put in an illustration for this one.

Then we found this news. A mainland Chinese mother let her son pee in a bottle in a Hong Kong restaurant even though there was a toilet. The wait staff were not happy. Heard of the crotchless pants trend in China? It’s all the rage. So easy for baby to do their business anywhere on the street.

And OMG did you know there is a sign at the Louvre in Paris not to pee or take a dump on the premises but…wait for it…it’s ONLY IN CHINESE? What is that trynna imply???

8. Do not leave footprints on toilet seats, pg 15

Whaddaya mean? Why would someone STAND on a toilet seat? What, are they afraid they might fall in?

Other bathroom do’s and don’ts the book mentions are:

  • Do not occupy public bathrooms for long periods, pg 15.
  • Do not damage them, pg 7.
  • Remember to flush after use, pg 15.
Chinese tourist break toilet. Screen cap from YouTube.

That woman! Now she done gone and broke the toilet. Screen cap from YouTube.

9. Do not boo and hoot or jeer actors, pg 26

The guide tells Chinese tourists be on time when going to the cinema or theatre. If they’re late, they should ask the staff to help them find a seat. And keep quiet.

The next point says, respect the actors. Stand up and clap at the end of a performance. If the actors make any mistakes, don’t boo, hoot or jeer them.

9. Image from the guidebook.

OMG the first Chinese-y human illustrations on our list! It’s a miracle! Image from the guidebook.

10. When watching a sport competition, do not throw things into the field, pg 27

Now this is how Comrades Xi Jinping and Wang Yang want you to behave at a game. Respect both teams and referees, do not lose control, do not scream or shout, do not swear at…. ehhhhh like that? Where’s the fun in that? It’s a sports game. Aren’t the spectators allowed to be loud and boorish. Malaysia has been there and done that, waaat.

field. OK, naooo you’re talking sense. Take 

Throw rubbish properly. Image from guidebook.

That’s right, a little more to the left, thereee you go. Image from guidebook.

11. Take normal-sized servings at a buffet, pg 22

Just as the Kims Jong Il and Jong Un like looking at things, Chinese tourists like taking things.

So the guidebook reminds them to measure their portions and try to finish whatever they put on their plates. That’s weird though. We thought Chinese people are known to be calculative and never waste food? Remember that myth our parents thought we were dumb as doorknobs to believe – about what happens to kids when they don’t finish every grain of rice on their plates?

Ooops maybe that applies only to non-mainland Chinese because China is food waste central. People waste like $32.6 billion worth of food every year! Enough to feed 200 million people!! But WHY? They say it’s probably because of an old Chinese custom where people leave food behind as a sign of respect to their hosts. Emptying the dishes meant that food has run out.

Don't take more food than you can finish. Image from the guidebook.

Shing shong shang…I mean, take only what you can finish. Image from the guidebook.

Wise guidebook oso say, do not be gleedy wif comprimetary item, pg 7 (we hope you read this with overly-Chinese accent).

It’s one thing to take stuff if they’re free but after airline staff tells you to put it back and you refuse…just, what the heck! Singapore Airlines staff were shocked when a group of tourists from Zhejiang didn’t want to return 30 sets of stainless steel plane cutlery. Dunno about China but in the rest of the world, we call it STEALING. Hong Kong Airlines smarter. They train their staff in wing chun to deal with drunk passengers flying to and from the mainland.

Bruce Lee Hong Kong Airlines staff wing chun. Image from

12. Do not lie down or remove shoes or socks in public, pg 18

And do not go out with uncombed hair or a dirty face (pg 19). Yes Asians take their shoes off… indoors! But we found that the Chinese, who’ve apparently been into foot reflexology for over 5,000 years, believe that going barefoot allows the pressure points to be stimulated at the expense of everyone else’s olfactory agony. Or maybe they’re just taking revenge against their ancestors for the (now banned) foot binding tradition?

China tourist no shoes belly exposed. Image from the guidebook.

Image from the guidebook.

Also, do not shout or be rowdy in public (pg 18). We don’t know if that is physically possible for a mainland Chinese person since they’re anatomically built with enlarged uvulas, causing their vocal volumes to be 2.5 times louder than the average human being. There’s a study that shows it’s something in their diet…… nawwww we’re just messin’ witcha!

But they are LOUUUUUD. Case in point, The New York Times reported pandemonium at a L’Oréal cosmetics counter in Singapore WHERE A BUSLOAD OF CHINESE TOURISTS GRABBED AT ALL THE SKIN REFINERS AND WRINKLE DECREASE. KAREN EU, ONE OF THE SALESPERSONS RELATED:

“Oh, my God. They talk so loud I have to yell until my throat hurts.” – Karen Eu, The New York Times


There’s a popular legend that says Huangpu Park in Shanghai used to have a sign at the gate: ‘No dogs and Chinese allowed’. There’s no evidence to it but that didn’t stop Bruce Lee from kicking the legend in the butt in his 1972 classic, Fists of Fury!

Here’s a real story though, Thierry Gillier, owner of the exclusive Zadig Hotel told Women’s Wear Daily in an interview that the hotel would not be open to Chinese tourists. He later asked the journal to change “Chinese tourists” to “busloads of tourists”.

13. Everything in the country section, from pg 38 onwards

China is teaching its tourists that Spanish women never go out without earrings coz it’s as good as going out without any clothes. So we’ll be seeing Chinese women stock up on bling before flying to Spain (pg 38).

But please keep this book away from the Hungarians or they are going to be very, very sad…

In Hungry....From the guidebook.

From the guidebook.

According to the guidebook, Chinese tourists should not ask to buy stones in Scotland as souvenirs (pg 38). Just why?!?! Oh wait… there’s a Wikipedia page on the stones of Scotland. Some stones are considered lucky it seems! No wonder the Chinese want in.

Page 41 tells tourists that supermarkets in Muslim countries do not sell alcohol and that they should never discuss pork!! This is serious.

Pork in Muslim country. Image from YouTube.

Oh no she DIDN’T!!! Image from YouTube.

In Iran, do not discuss babies’ eyes (pg 41). This one is probably not so serious. All we could find on Google was someone’s comment on Yahoo! Answers that the eye thing is ridiculous.

The fashionable way of greeting in Africa is to raise your right hand and show your palm to the other person as if saying ‘there is no rock in my hand’. And African people dislike the words Negro and black, so the Chinese better pick up on slang fast or else their ‘Nàgè (that one) and Nǐ gěi wǒ (you give me) could be mistaken for something else!

Why are Chinese tourists like that?

Somehow because China’s Tourism Administration just knew that the book is not enough, they made a video guide using adorable pandas to demonstrate good behaviour. It’s an admirable effort on their part, if not practical. Who will they enforce these rules? Commie Panda?

Chinese first time travelling. Screen cap from YouTube.

Mummy, mummy, look, it’s Commie Panda! OMG HE’S GOT A GUNNNN!!! Screen cap from YouTube.

It’s subjective. We can’t really say that they’re the worst of the worst or that there are just more of them to go around. China is the world’s most populous country with 1.35 billion people.

There’s also the matter of education and differences in culture. Older tourists who have little or no education tend to act more unruly and entitled. It’s not like they intend to be bad. They just don’t know how to behave when in Rome.

Additionally, they’re new to this whole travelling thing. Ever since China’s economic boom, there are suddenly all these nouveau riche Chinese – tuhao, or crass splendour in English. And flushed with cash, they wanna travel the world.

“You cannot reason with these kinds of people. They think they can do anything with their money.” – Jenny Wang, Travel agent for the Maldives, South China Morning Post

OK waaat. Now that they’ve given Chinese tourists this manual, these people may change? Maybe in time the rest of the world will stop the Chinese-tourist bashing? In fact ALL tourists could learn a thing or two from it. Right, world?… World???

The chinese are coming

Image from Dailymail.



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