The Coastal City - Qingdao
Located in East China, southeast of the Shandong Peninsula, and east of the Yellow Sea, Qingdao is the economic center of Shandong Province. It's also an important central city along the coast of China, a coastal resort city, and an international port city.
Qingdao is a famous historical and cultural city in China and the birthplace of Chinese Taoism. In addition, Qingdao has been rated as the happiest city in China many times, and is known as the "Oriental Switzerland". For travelers who wish to enjoy the seaside and beaches during their China tour, Qingdao would be definitely on the list.
Top sights to see and things to do in Qingdao
Eight Great Passes
Refers to the eight roads (now increased to ten) named after the eight passes of the Great Wall, located in the south of Qingdao. Built-in in the 1930s and known as the "World Architecture Expo", the buildings in this area are a collection of villas with architectural styles from more than 20 countries, including Russia, Britain, France, and Germany. Now it's a famous scenic resort in China, covering an area of more than 70 hectares. In addition to enjoying the architecture, visitors can also feel the four seasons here. The peach blossoms in spring, the charming crape myrtle in summer, the red maple leaves in autumn, and the green cedar on both sides of the road in winter.
Located at the southern end of Qingdao Zhongshan Road, and the bridge extends from the coast into the depths of Qingdao Bay. The bridge allows visitors to visit and dock with tourist boats, from which they can see Qingdao on the sea. The bridge is 440 meters long and 8 meters wide, with a steel-concrete structure. It used to be Qingdao's earliest military dedicated artificial wharf, and now it is a landmark and famous scenic spot in Qingdao.
Located in the Laoshan district of Qingdao, it's the main mountain range of the Shandong Peninsula and the highest peak of China's coastline, with an altitude of 1132.7 meters. It has become a famous Taoist mountain for its majestic, spectacular, peculiar, and beautiful. There will hold the Laoshan International Mountaineering Festival every April, and the Laoshan Cherry Festival every May. There will be a lot of visitors and it will be very lively.
- Opening hour: 06:00 - 19:00 (1 April to 31 December), 07:00 - 17:00 (1 January to 31 March).
- Admission fee: CN￥180 per person (1 April to 31 December), CN￥120 per person (1 April to 31 December).
Wandering in the old district of Qingdao
Walking in the old town of Qingdao is a very pleasant thing. The beauty of the old district of Qingdao comes from a not-so-glorious history, the colony. Many European-style streets and buildings still remain here, and with a strong cultural atmosphere. Many Chinese writers, novelists, and poets once lived in this area. Recommended walking route (about 5-6 hours): Zhongshan Road→Catholic Church→Jiamu Art Museum→Christian Church→Signal Hill→Governor's Mansion Museum→Lao She's Former Residence→Ocean University of China→Xiaoyu Mountain.
Making a Leisure tour to Qingdao International Sailing Center
Located in the Shinan District of Qingdao by the Fushan Bay, where the sailing events of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and the 13th Paralympic Games were held. Summer is the best time to come here, the seawater is warm, the beach is soft, the weather is not too hot. The sailing and motorboat experience activities are available for travelers to choose from. Certainly, travelers can just relax and take a break here, blowing the sea breeze. The food district and shopping center is about 800 meters away from the Sailing Center.
Enjoy the happy hours in Qingdao Brewery Museum
Set up in the old factory and equipment of Tsingtao Brewery 100 years ago, with Tsingtao Brewery's century-old history and technological process as the mainline. Here is a condensed history of the development of China's beer industry and Tsingtao beer, integrating cultural history, production process, beer entertainment, shopping, and catering. For every visitor who purchases a ticket, the museum will provide a glass of raw beer, a pack of beer beans, and a glass of original beer for free.
- Opening hour: 08:30 - 16:30.
- Admission fee: CN￥60 per person.
Special activities and experiences in Qingdao
Qingdao International Beer Festival
Founded in 1991 and takes place on the second weekend of August every year for 16 days. It’s a large-scale national festival that integrates tourism, culture, sports, economy, trade, and a beer event in Asia. The Beer Festival has become a grand festival that highlights the advantages and charm of Qingdao. It uses beer as a medium to show the Qingdao Beer Company and the city. The theme activities of the Qingdao International Beer Festival include 15 activities such as beer tasting activities, beer wine label exhibition, beer seafood competition, drinking competition, and various carnival entertainment projects.
Local Seafood Markets
Qingdao is surrounded by the sea on three sides and has abundant seafood. There are many local seafood markets, all selling fresh seafood caught in the early morning of the day. For travelers, the Nanshan Market and Sifang Road Market are recommended. These two markets are the most popular seafood and regular markets for locals, with various varieties and relatively cheaper prices.
Licun Country Fair & Night Market
Located about 20 kilometers away from the city, Licun Country Fair was founded in 1892 and will be held every month on the day with "2" or "7" as the end, in the Chinese lunar calendar (like the 2nd, 12th, 22nd, 7th, 17th, 27th day). Various food materials, fruits, Chinese medicinal materials, clothing, fabrics, decorations, traditional Chinese handicrafts, paintings, and calligraphy, etc. are sold in the country fair. Every day after dusk here is another lively and distinctive place. The night market in Licun has been the most popular place for local young people in recent years. In addition to local snacks and drinks, it also brings together the cuisines of other cities and regions in China.
Best time to visit Qingdao
May-October is the best time to travel in Qingdao. The sea becomes warm from May, August is the Grand Beer Festival, September is the season for seafood and the autumn scenery is also very charming. Although the flowers are in full bloom in March and April, the weather is still a bit cold and the sea breeze is still strong. November to February is the winter in Qingdao, the climate is cold, swimming in the sea and eating seafood is not the best choice at this time.
How to get to Qingdao
Taking a flight is the most convenient way to get to Qingdao, the only Qingdao Liuting International Airport has routes to 50 major cities in China (like Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai, Chengdu, etc.) and many international/regional cities (like Seoul, Tokyo, Paris, Los Angeles, etc.). It's about 30 kilometers away from the urban area, with only 40 minutes' drive.
Qingdao currently has four railway stations, and many cities across China have opened trains to and from Qingdao every day. For example, Beijing has more than 10 high-speed trains every day to reach Qingdao Railway Station and Qingdao North Railway Station, and it takes about 4-5 hours.
Lodging and dining in Qingdao
Lodging in Qingdao
Most tourists will choose to stay near the Zhanqiao pier and Zhongshan Road, which is the old district and essence of Qingdao. In addition, transportation is very convenient as both the Qingdao Railway Station and the airport shuttle bus stop are located here. Travelers would also choose to stay near the Olympic Sailing Center and Hong Kong Middle Road, which is regarded as Qingdao's trendiest and most high-end area. Yunxiao Road Food Street, the May Fourth Square along the coast are all here. For travelers who want to enjoy better beaches and seawater, the Golden Sand Beach area is a good choice, but far from the downtown area.
Like most Chinese tourist cities, Qingdao has various categories and grades from inns, guesthouses, 3-star economy hotels to 5-star luxury hotels. Depending on the off-season, peak season, and holidays, the average price of a 3-star hotel usually ranges CN￥300-600 per night, CN￥600-1,200 per night for 4-star hotels, and CN￥1,100-2,500 per night for 5-star hotels.
Dining in Qingdao
As a coastal city, seafood is definitely one of the most popular and representative delicacies in Qingdao. The seafood here is not only fresh but also a wide variety of fish, hundreds of types of fish, dozens of species of shrimp, crabs, conch, shells, and so on. The price of a seafood meal is about CN￥100-220 per capita.
Qingdao Dumplings are also very different from dumplings in other places, using fish meat as the main filling. The Japanese Spanish mackerel (a species of true mackerel fish) dumpling is the most distinctive and popular dumpling in Qingdao. The fish dumplings cost CN￥40-60.
Sauce Halogen Pig's Trotters, also known as Liuting Pig's Trotters, is one of Qingdao's special snacks, about CN￥40-60. Qingdao Jelly, also known as sea vegetable jelly, is a specialty snack in Qingdao. It is the best and coolest snacks and appetizer in summer, which costs CN￥18-38.
As the world's beer city, it is common to see local residents carrying plastic bags of beer around the streets, especially in summer. Basically, every small market or grocery store near the residential building provides this kind of fresh beer in bulk, and the general price is CN￥2.5 per 500ml.