Qingdao (青岛; Qīngdǎo; also known as Tsingtao), is regarded by some Chinese as one of the most beautiful and cleanest cities in China. With a population of around 7.2 million, it is one of the largest cities in Shandong Province. The name Qingdao means The Blue/Green Island. In 2011, the China Institute of City Competitiveness named Qingdao China's most livable city.
Qingdao City lies on the east shore of Jiaozhou Bay (胶州湾; Jiāozhōuwān) and comprises three districts from south to north:
- Shinan District (市南区; Shìnánqū) — the downtown core that runs along the sea with most of the city's major hotels, attractions and beaches.
- Shibei District (市北区; Shìběiqū) — sits directly north of Shinan District and contains many new major commercial and residential developments as well as the oldest parts of Qingdao in the west.
- Licang District (李沧区; Lǐcāngqū) — north of Shibei and home to Peach Blossom Tourism Spot and to more industry.
Four suburban districts comprise primarily coastal areas close to the city proper:
- Laoshan District (崂山区; ) — southeast of downtown and home to Laoshan Mountain and some of the best beaches in the city.
- Chengyang District (城阳区; ) — north of Licang on the north shore of Jiaozhou Bay and mostly new industrial areas, but also contains a large Korean expat community, and hence many authentic Korean restaurants. The Qingdao Liuting airport is located here.
- Huangdao District (黄岛区; ) — on the southwest shore of Jiaozhou Bay and home to huge wharfs, the port area and other industry. There are also some nice beaches here.
- Jimo District (即墨区; ) — north of downtown including the coast north of Laoshan District.
Three rural areas administratively part of Qingdao:
- Jiaozhou City (胶州市; ) — west of downtown.
- Pingdu City (平度市; ) — far northwest.
- Laixi City (莱西市; ) — far northeast.
Qingdao is a city steeped in China's 20th century history. It was taken as part of the Imperial German Concession of Jiaozhou Bay. Despite ongoing discussions with Chinese authorities about giving the Germans a territory, on 7 November 1897, they landed troops. Their pretext was the murder of two missionaries on 1 November of that year. A concession treaty was signed in 1898, for a 99-year lease. At the time, it was a relatively unimportant town of about 1,000 inhabitants. Yet by 1902, it had grown to 668 Caucasians and 15,000 Chinese.
During the colonial period, the Germans left a distinct mark on Qingdao's architecture that can still be seen in its historic center and train station. The train station has undergone an overhaul that has tried to strike a balance between maintaining its colonial heritage while modernizing to be the terminus of the high speed rail line to Beijing. Many German-period buildings have been preserved as heritage monuments. It is a kind of Bavaria-on-the-East-China-Sea, where they even sell bratwurst on the street. In 1903, China's most well-known beer maker, Tsingtao Brewery, was established by the new occupants homesick for Germany.
Japan occupied Qingdao on 7 November 1914, as part of World War I, and remained until 1922. They took the city because they were allied with the British against the Germans during World War I. After the war, the Japanese wanted to continue to hold the city for the remainder of the German lease, which the Western Allies agreed to despite having promised to return it to China. With the Chinese government powerless to do anything, this led to protests by students in Beijing during the May 4th Movement of 1919, eventually forcing the Japanese to return the city to Chinese sovereignty. In 1938, the Japanese again took Qingdao and remained until the end of World War II in 1945. Between 1945 and 1949 the American 7th Fleet was based in Qingdao as it assisted the Kuomintang in fighting the Communist Party; the Communists took the city in 1949.
While Qingdao has a long history, the eastern half of the city has been built since 1993, and there is no sign of it slowing down. In 2008, it hosted the sailing events of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
Qingdao's early summer is quite an enjoyable season, although it can be humid near the sea shore. Late summer can become hot, while other places of Northern China start to feel cooler. The climate in late fall and winter can be harsh but snow patches can generally last no longer than a few days. Qingdao is an ideal destination if you want to combine sea-side fun with your trip to China.
If you are looking for the typical congested Chinese scenario with swarming markets, unpredictable traffic and intense street commerce, Qingdao has little to offer. For instance, bicycling is actually forbidden. The city is relatively clean and orderly and might give the impression of an upcoming wanna-be Singapore.
- 1 Qingdao Liuting International Airport (TAO IATA). The main hub for Shandong Airlines and a focus city of China Eastern Airlines. Flights to Shanghai and Beijing are frequent. If you arrive in Beijing or Shanghai in the morning or in the afternoon, you don't even have to book your ticket to Qingdao ahead of time. Depending on the season, last minute tickets may be sold at discount. But in the busy summer months, buying in advance is advised. International destinations include Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Seoul (Incheon), Busan and Frankfurt (via Shenyang). Qingdao also has flights to Hong Kong and Taipei.
The airport is 32 km (20 mi) from the city proper, about half an hour taxi ride. Prices for a taxi ride from the airport to the Hong Kong Middle Road area should be between ¥120-140 depending on the route taken (National Highway 308 is slower but cheaper, the toll expressway is faster and more expensive) and time of day (more expensive at night).
There is an Airport Shuttle Bus. Unfortunately, you need to make it clear where should you get on.
- 2 Qingdao Railway Station (青岛站), 2 Tai'an Road (泰安路2号), ☏ . At the west end of Shinan District and near Zhanqiao pier and the ocean, this historic German colonial style train station remains and has be upgraded for modern high-speed trains.
- 3 Qingdao North Railway Station (青岛北站). This station is at the northern end of Metro Line 3. Most trains leaving Qingdao main station for Jinan also stop here.
Trains from major cities not too far away include:
- Beijing — The high-speed train has 10 trains per day and takes 4h20m–5h26m, a second class seat for ¥252–303. The high-speed line runs down from Beijing South station, not the Beijing station.
- Shanghai — There are four direct high-speed trains between Shanghai and Qingdao, takes 6h25m–6h57m, a second class seat for ¥550.
- Tianjin — For normal trains, four per day, 10 hours, ¥103 for a seat or ¥179–¥286 for a sleeper; For high-speed trains, seven per day, Tianjin South Station is very far away from the urban area, better choose train D345 or D347 which departs from Tianjin West Station, 4–5 hours, starting from ¥220.
- Jinan — 21 direct high speed trains (2hr 30min, ¥122–146), and there are twenty-one slower and cheaper trains taking 4-5 hours (¥49-162).
- Taishan — No high-speed trains. Many normal trains, 5–7 hours, air-conditioned seat ¥62 or ¥70, sleeper ¥116–195.
- Nanjing — There is four high-speed train taking 5hr 9min–5hr 35min, starting from ¥400.
Trains from major cities further away include:
- Harbin — one direct train per day, 28 hours, ¥231-642.
- Xian — three direct trains per day, 21-23 hours, ¥165-529.
- Guangzhou — one direct train per day, 29 hours, ¥266-738.
- Guilin — one direct train per day, 39 hours, ¥271-754
- Nanning — one direct train per day, 46 hours, ¥302-841.
- Chengdu — one direct train per day, 40.5 hours, ¥281-783
Qingdao has international sea connections.
There are also twice-weekly connections from Shimonoseki, Japan on Orient Ferries [dead link]. The trip takes over 24 hours and 2nd class one-way costs ¥12,000. The voyage is one night from Shimonoseki to Qingdao, but two nights from Qingdao to Shimonoseki. The ferry also serves as a cargo vessel and after boarding in Qingdao, it will often take several hours to finish being loaded with cargo before it departs.
The restaurant food and drinks, snacks and souvenirs from the shop are all priced in Japanese yen, so make sure to get some/have some left over before boarding. The cost of most food and drink is reasonable considering you're stuck on the boat with nowhere else to buy things, but the pennywise traveler will definitely bring their own alcohol, cigarettes, and snacks. (Mind that there might be duties when crossing into Japan or China).
There are electrical outlets in the lounge area, but if those are taken, there are also some up in the gym/fitness area, where no one goes. After boarding from China, the ship operates under Japanese time, so change your watches and pay attention to announcements for when dinner will be served, as food is only served at certain times of the day. There are Japanese-style shower/bath rooms on the upper level where the first class rooms are.
If you are travelling from within Shandong Province, going by bus is probably the easiest way. Especially now with the new excellent and fast expressways linking Qingdao with other cities in the province. There are several buses per day from Jinan, Taian, Qufu, as well as Yantai and Rizhao on the coast. They leave from and arrive to the bus station just outside the train station, but also from the new bus station north of town, which can be reached by local trolleybus number 5 in 20 minutes.
As of November 2017, the meter rate for normal taxis starts at ¥10 while the larger cabs start at ¥12. The meter is based on both distance traveled and time taken. If you take a taxi to or from the airport, and use the Qingyin expressway there will be a ¥10 rate added to whatever the meter price is.
During the summer months that are the peak tourist season, taxis may be hard to flag down. If ever you get one of the larger taxis, the drivers will usually be delighted to give you their business card, so that in the case of planned travel to somewhere like the airport or train station, you can avoid the hassle of trying to flag down a cab.
If you have a SIM card and internet on your phone, you can order taxis using an app (for example Didi), and the rates might even be lower.
Qingdao's metro system opened in 2015. As of 2018, there are two lines (M2 and M3) with more under construction. M3 runs approximately north–south, connecting the main train station (火车站 / huǒchē zhàn) to the north rail station (青岛北站). Along the way it passes May 5th Square. M2 runs east–west near Qingdao's south shore, then turns north.
The bus and trolleybus network is quite well put together and useful once you figure out the routes. Buses 11, 26, 228, and 501 run from the railway station (Shinan District) along the coast via Donghai Xi Lu to all the beaches in the modern eastern part of town (Middle Hong Kong Road), where pubs and cafes are located. Many major routes have dedicated bus lanes, that can make taking the bus faster than taking a car during rush hour. Buses 316 and 231 will bring you to the center of the town from the newly renovated station. Regular buses cost ¥1 and the air conditioned ones are ¥2. If you get on a bus that goes really far (out to the suburbs) you need to tell the ticket person on the bus where you are going and it will cost up to ¥6.
Very few locals in Qingdao cycle because it is illegal on streets and sidewalks. When renting a bike make sure that it is legal to ride your planned route. There are more than 40km of waterfront trails. If you really want a work out, try hiking Fushan or the TV Tower hills as there are some decent mountain bike trails.
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- 1 Qingdao TV Tower (青岛电视塔), 10 Taipingshan Rd, ☏ . Nov-Mar 9AM-7PM, Apr-Oct 8:30AM-9:30PM. Visitors take the elevator to an outdoor observation deck that offers fantastic views of Qingdao. Tea, snacks, and beer are available inside, as are souvenirs and an exhibit on Qingdao's winning bid for the sailing competitions during the Beijing Olympics. ¥50.
- 2 Zhan Qiao (栈桥; Zhànqiáo). The famous pier Zhan Qiao is the iconic symbol of Qingdao. It was extended by the Germans and is a popular tourist station. The famous pavilion that is the logo of Tsingtao Beer was built in 1931 and now houses a small aquarium just renovated. The pier is now lined with individuals selling all manner of things, as well as beggars and opportunities for very small-time gambling.
Parks and natureEdit
- 3 Baihuayuan Gardens (百花苑; Bǎihuāyuàn), 55 Yan'an First Rd (延安一路55号; Yán'ān Yīlù), ☏ . 8AM-6PM. Small park with lots of trees, flowers and sculptures. For many years it was the cemetery for foreigners, but the cemetery was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. It is now a beautiful park with sculptures of writers, artists, and revolutionaries. free.
- 4 Little Qingdao Island (小青岛公园), 2 Qingyu Rd, ☏ . 7AM-6:30PM. This is the island from which Qingdao takes its name, literally, Green Island. The island was used for military purposes for many years, and it features a lighthouse built by the Germans in the 1900s. The Japanese later built a bridge to the island. Visitors may also tour the botanical gardens and enjoy the views of Qingdao. ¥15.
- 5 Luxun Park (鲁迅公园), 1 QinYu Rd, ☏ . 8AM-5PM. A 2-km-long beachside park, between Xiao Qingdao Park and Bathing Beach. There is an oriental gate leading to a statue of Luxun, a famous Chinese writer. free.
- 6 [dead link] Polar Ocean World (青岛极地海洋世界). An aquarium focusing on polar animals, including polar bears and penguins. Newer and more modern than the Underwater World. It has a well known Beluga whale and dolphin show, as well as a daily large seal exhibition. ¥15.
- Qingdao Eastern Bear Park (青岛东方熊乐园), 10 Laoshan Rd, ☏ . 9AM-5:30PM. A new attraction in Qingdao that houses Asian Black Bears (Dog Bears) among others. The bears are segregated by age, and visitors can feed them the food provided. While the bears are interesting, there are large numbers crammed in relatively small spaces. Bear shows take place several times a day and feature bears with chains around their necks being hit by their trainers until they perform tricks, only to receive very small rewards. There is also a lovely park that has a separate entrance and entry fee, in which visitors can take the stairs to the top of a mountain, passing several temples en route. It is worth the walk up, if visitors are OK with contributing their money to the bear habitat. ¥150.
- 7 [dead link] Qingdao Underwater World/Qingdao Aquarium (青岛海底世界; Qīngdǎo Hǎidǐshìjiè) (Next to the #1 beach). Aquarium open daily. Qingdao is host to China's first public aquarium, opened in 1932. Today the "Underwater World" consists of four main areas on both sides of the street connected via an underground tunnel. One highlight is the moving platform that takes visitors in a tunnel through the aquarium, one can look all around and see fish from every angle. Also, do not miss the ever-popular mermaid shows. During the day and in the summer, it will be packed with hordes of noisy children and tourists. Two of the exhibits do not have air-conditioning. The ¥120 ticket also includes the Polar Ocean World, which has to be accessed separately. ¥120.
- 8 Xiaoyushan Park (literally, Little Fish Hill), 24 Fushan Access Rd, ☏ . 7:15AM-6:15PM. A park built in traditional Chinese style in 1983. It has great hilltop views of Qingdao especially during sunrise. ¥15.
- 9 Xinhaoshan Park (Signal Hill Park), 18 Lonshan Rd, ☏ . 6AM-9:30PM. This hill was used by the Germans as a signalling station, and was later turned into a park. It has lovely landscape and features a revolving tea shop offering a 360-degree panorama of Qingdao. Visitors will also see the Heart to Heart Bridge, where local couples place a heart-shaped padlock on the bridge to ensure that their relationship will last forever. ¥15.
- 10 Zhongshan Park (中山公园; Zhōngshān Gōngyuán), 28 Wendeng Rd (文登路28号; Wéndēnglù). 6AM-6PM daily. Free.
- 11 (中国人民解放军海军博物馆, previously known as the Qingdao Naval Museum), 8 Laiyang Rd, Shinan District (市南区莱阳路8号) (about 700 meters south of Renmin Huitang Metro Station on Line 3), ☏ . 09:00-17:00, no entry after 16:00. A major national-level museum with exhibits on the history of the Chinese navy, as well as full-size warships that visitors may tour. Visitor numbers are capped at 1000 per day, including a maximum of 500 viistors in the monring and a maximum of 500 visitors in the afternoon. Hence bookings are now essential. Bookings can made on the official website and also on WeChat (see website for QR code). Free.
- 12 Qingdao Municipal Museum (青岛市博物馆; Qīngdǎoshì Bówùguǎn), 27 Meiling Rd, Laoshan District (崂山区梅岭路27号; Láoshānqū Méilǐnglù) (Bus 101, 230, 234, or 301 to Qingdao Museum Stop), ☏ . Apr-Sep: Tu-Su 9AM-5:30PM, Oct-Mar: 9AM-4:30PM. This museum includes exhibits of art and antiquities of ancient to modern Qingdao, and exhibits on porcelain and calligraphy. ¥50.
- 13 Haier Science and Technology Museum (海尔科技馆; Hǎiěr Kējìguǎn), 27 Meiling Rd, Laoshan District (崂山区梅岭路27号; Láoshānqū Méilǐnglù) (Bus 104, 230 or 231 to Qingdao Museum Stop, in the same building as Qingdao Municipal Museum), ☏ . 9AM-5PM. A separate museum specially geared towards children. ¥20.
- 14 [formerly dead link] Qingdao Art Museum (青岛市美术馆; Qīngdǎoshì Měishùguǎn), 7 Daxue Rd (大学路7号; Dàxuélù). ¥20.
- 15 [dead link] Tsingtao Brewery Museum (青岛啤酒博物馆; Qīngdǎo Píjiǔbówùguǎn), 56 Dengzhou Rd (登州路56号; Dēngzhōulù), ☏ . 9AM-5PM. The brewery has some interesting exhibits and the bottling plant is fascinating. Inside, you will see the history of the brewery and how beer was made in the late 19th and 20th century. All tickets includes one free 125 ml sample of delicious unfiltered "raw" beer and one of draft beer. The more expensive tickets may also include free drinking (one hour), sausages and other food. When booked online through an app, the tickets are significantly cheaper (¥35 for regular and ¥55 including free drinking as of Nov 2017) ¥50 for regular ticket, ¥70 including one hour free drinking.
- German Governor's Residence (Qingdao Guest House). A Bavarian-style castle where Mao stayed as well. Also the observatories on the hills around it are interesting for good views and museum sites.
- 16 Qingdao German Prison Site Museum, 25 Changzhou Rd (Metro 3 Renmin Huitang), ☏ . Apr-Nov 8AM-5PM, Nov-Apr 9AM-5PM. This building housed a prison built by the Germans. The visit begins with an exhibit of the good and bad sides of German and Japanese occupation, followed by a visit of the cells and torture rooms. The building originally housed German prisoners, but was later used to incarcerate Chinese prisoners under Japanese rule, and communist party members under the Kuomintang. The basement recreates the Japanese torture cells, complete with original implements and illustrations. ¥15.
- 17 Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center. Qingdao was the location of the sailing events for the 2008 Summer Olympics hosted in Beijing. Visitors can see the plaza, lighthouse, and closing ceremonies site, as well as visit the restaurants and bars at the venue.
- 18 Qingdaoshan Park (青岛山(炮台遗址)公园; Qīngdǎo Shān (pàotáiyízhǐ) Gōngyuán) (Next to Baihuayuan Gardens), ☏ . 8AM-5PM. This park is the site of the former German battery overlooking Jiaozhou Bay. Visitors can enjoy the park, as well as visit the battery structure and an exhibit on the history of the German military in Qingdao. ¥15.
- 19 Catholic Church (天主教堂; Tiānzhǔjiàotáng; also known as St. Michael's Church), 15 Zhejiang Rd (浙江路15号; Zhèjiānglù), ☏ . M-Sa 8AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. Built in 1934. Masses held every Sunday. ¥15.
- 20 Protestant Church, 15 Jiangsu Rd, ☏ . 8AM-5PM. This is a Lutheran church located in the older part of the city. It was built in 1910, and has an auditorium and bell tower, both of which are open to visitors. The bell is original and was brought from Germany specifically for the church. ¥7.
- 21 Zhanshan Temple (Situated at the foot of Zhanshan Hill and to the east of Taiping Hill). 8AM-5PM daily. This temple was built in 1945. It has five halls and a pagoda, with an area of 20,000 m². The temple boasts a large collection of skillfully carved statues of Buddha and Buddhist scriptures. There are tens of thousands of people at Zhanshan Temple from the 8th to the 10th of April on the lunar calendar every year. ¥8.
Qingdao has some wonderful beaches worthy of visiting. Unfortunately, litter is a problem at all of them, ranging from the occasional cigarette butt to having to wade through a flotsam of trash just to get into the ocean itself. Your experience will vary depending on the tides and the time of year you visit. During summer weekends, Qingdao city beaches are very crowded (sometimes upwards of 100,000 people), and slightly less crowded on summer weekdays. Again, these can be packed full of people during the weekends. Bring sunscreen, while you can buy beach toys, food, drinks, and knick-knacks at any of Qingdao's beaches, surprisingly no-one sells sunscreen at the beach. You can find bathing beaches all along the seaside from the Zhanqiao Pier to the Shilaoren Beach in the eastern suburbs.
- Laoshan Beach (崂山浴场; Láoshān Yùchǎng) (Close to the Qingdao Museum, about a 60 min drive from the train station (青岛站 / qīngdǎo zhàn). Bus 104, 230, 231, or 301 to Qingdao Museum Stop). Surrounded by mountains and visited far less often than its alternatives, Laoshan Beach is one of the best in town. Make sure to arrange transportation there and back, because taxis are harder to get there.
- Old Stone Man Beach (石老人浴场; Shìlǎorén Yùchǎng), Donghai E Rd and Haikou Rd (东海东路 - 海口路) (Bus 125 or 321). daily. One of the best beaches within easy striking distance of the city. It is cleanish, very long and broad, with the highest waves. Tables, chairs, tents, boats, shower, changing facilities etc. are available for rent. Free; Shower and changing ¥10 at the cheapest. Locker additional ¥10 + ¥30 deposit.
- 1 Beach #1 (第一海水浴场; Dìyī Hǎishuǐ Yùchǎng), Nanhai Rd (南海路) (¥15-20 in taxi from the center; numerous buses stop near bus stop Haishui Yuchang (海水浴场; Hǎishuǐ Yùchǎng)). Daily. Clean and full of amusement for children but often crowded. Very basic shower and changing facilities available. Surrounded by restaurants and hotels. Free. ¥5 shower and changing facilities.
- 2 Beach #2 (第二海水浴场; Dìèr Hǎishuǐ Yùchǎng), Shanhaiguan Rd (山海关路; Shānhǎiguān Lù) (¥10-15 in taxi from the center; numerous buses stop at Wusheng Guan a bit N of the beach). Quiet beach. ¥2 in summer.
- 3 Beach #3 (City Beach) (第三海水浴场; Dìsān Hǎishuǐ Yùchǎng). Has a "plastic island" so you can swim far away and have a rest before coming back (but it is sometimes exhausting to swim in the waves).
- Beach #6 (Muscle Beach). Not very clean. ¥5 basic shower and changing facilities.
International Beer FestivalEdit
Qingdao International Beer Festival, held at the end of August every year, is a celebration of Qingdao's brewing heritage. During the daytime, there are official ceremonies that celebrate Qingdao's heritage as well as carnival type rides, food and games. In the evening, the event really picks up as crowds flock to huge tents set up by each beer company with a presence in China.
You can sit down and order beer or snacks. The price of food at night during the festival may be beyond budgets of some. You can also watch (or participate in) various performances such as karaoke, concerts, auctions, or comedy. The entertainment, however, is tame and bland.
The International Beer Festival, unfortunately, no longer seems to have much of an international presence save the beer. Much of what you see now can be found at any Chinese carnival, park or civic celebration.
- 4 Huangdao (黄岛). Providing there isn't persistent fog as is often in the area, one can take a ferry from Qingdao port to the neighbouring district of Huangdao. The city has mostly been built in the last 10-15 years and thus is completely devoid of character. That said, there are plenty of Japanese hostess bars, and a few Western drinking holes too, if you get tired of Qingdao's fare. The ferry prices generally range from ¥15-30 one way, but if the ferries aren't running the taxi fare is more than ¥200 back to Qingdao.
- Seafront walk. Walk along the sea front in the evening from Beach 2 back into town to 6.
- 5 Hiking on Fushan (浮山) (take bus 312 from Qingdao station to 浮山后六小区 station for the north entrance, or bus 501 to 王家麦岛 station for the south entrance). The Fushan forest park (浮山森林公园 Fushan senlin gongyuan) is a mountain park with some nice trails for easy walking and hiking and offers spectacular views over the city, shore and beaches. There are some old military tunnels near the peak that can be explored (bring a flashlight!). The hike to the top takes about 1 hour. Don't forget to take enough water and maybe some snacks along, as there are no vendors or stores in and nearby the park. free.
- Taidong Pedestrian Street (Taidong Buxingjie). The best area for buying stuff. Very "renao" (bustling), especially at night when the peddlers come out and you can buy all manner of trinkets, clothing, household wares, etc. While in Taidong be careful of the pickpockets.
- 1 Central Hong Kong Road (香港中路) (stretch of Hong Kong Rd between Fuzhou. and Nanjing Rds). To provision yourself, head out to this area. Carrefour sells grocery, food, and small electronics. It has a KFC. Jusco is part shopping mall, part grocery store and part department store. MyKal is an eight floor department store with a movie theatre on the top and a grocery store in the basement. Sunshine is a department store across from Carrefour that sells upmarket goods. The Hisense shopping centre located behind Jusco has many luxury goods stores, and a grocery store with possibly the best selection of western foods in Qingdao.
- Jimo Lu market. Do not miss this market, a great place to buy knock off Gucci, Prada, Louis Vitton as well as local retail goods. It has been refurbished and opened new shops across the street in a new plaza.
- 2 Zhong Shan Lu (中山路-道路). Still boasts some of the oldest shops in Qingdao.
Head to Yunxiao Road west of Fuzhou South Road for a large selection of restaurants of all Chinese varieties ranging from the local Shandong style, to Cantonese and Sichuan. Yunxiao Road is recognized as Qingdao's restaurant street, and serves up a wide variety of mouth watering dishes. Minjiang Road, near Fushou South Road (bordering on Qingdao's restaurant district), has several outstanding restaurants. The area is booming with foods from around the world.
Small cheap restaurants are found around the city, especially away from the main streets. Basic meals for less than ¥10.
Also, dumpling restaurants tend to be cheap, some options are:
- Sanheyuan (Ningxia Road Branch) (三合园水饺 (宁夏路店); Sānhéyuán Shuǐjiǎo (Níngxiàlùdiàn)), 147 Ningxia Rd, Shinan District (市南区宁夏路147号; Shìnánqū Níngxiàlù), ☏ . ¥30-40.
- [dead link] Da Niang Dumplings (大娘水饺; Dàniáng Shuǐjiǎo). Fast food chain specialising in dumplings. ¥20-25.
- Shibei District Branch, 64 Taidong 3rd Rd, Shibei District (市北区台东三路64号; Shìběiqū Táidōngsānlù).
- Shinan District Branch, Hong Kong Middle Rd, Shinan District (市南区香港中路; Shìnánqū Xiānggǎngzhōng Lù).
If you want something a bit more comfortable than the most basic restaurants, you can try one of the restaurants below where you can expect to pay around ¥20-40 each person:
- 1 Yunxiao Road (云霄路). Yunxiao Road is recognized as Qingdao's restaurant street. Here you'll find lots of choices for seafood and other Chinese dishes.
- 2 Old Hong Kong Restaurant (香港老饭店; Xiānggǎnglǎo Fàndiàn), 42 Hong Kong Middle Rd (Below New York Club in the Hirun Hotel on Hong Kong Middle Rd), ☏ . Better than average dim sum, clean upmarket atmosphere and decent service. Unfortunately their dim sum menu lacks English, but it is still definitely worth a try. ¥50-75.
- 3 Bifeng Tang (港记避风塘; Gǎngjì Bìfēngtáng), 158 Minjiang Rd (闽江路24号), ☏ . until 4AM. Hong Kong dim sum and seafood. About average of ¥50 per person.
- [formerly dead link] Laoshan Pao Hotpot Restaurant (老山炮活鱼锅; Lǎoshānpàohuóyúguō), 20 Yunxiao Rd (云宵路20号), ☏ . Seafood as well. ¥50.
- Tanyutou Hotpot Restaurant (谭鱼头火锅; Tányútóuhuǒguō), 14 Minjiang Rd (闽江路14号), ☏ . ¥50.
- Minsu Korean Restaurant (民俗酒家; Mínsújiǔjiā), 68 Shanghang Rd (上杭路68号), ☏ . Korean BBQ. ¥50.
- Xiaobenjia Korean Restaurant (小本家; Xiǎoběnjiā), 58 Shanghang Rd (上杭路58号). Korean BBQ. Reservation is recommended. ¥50.
- [dead link] Shanglinyuan Restaurant (上林苑餐饮), 169 Minjiang Rd, Shinan District (市南区闽江路169号; Shìnánqū Mǐnjiānglù), ☏ , fax: , email@example.com. Shandong cuisine and seafood.
- Yumatou Seafood Restaurant (渔码头; Yúmǎtóu), 24 Yunxiao Rd, Shinan District (市南区云霄路24号; Shìnánqū Yúnxiāolù), ☏ . Seafood. ¥75.
- Heavenly Palace Old Mama Restaurant (天府老妈; Tiānfǔlǎomā), 54 Yunxiao Road (云宵路54号), ☏ . Sichuan cuisine. Expect around ¥50 each person.
- 4 Lao Chuancai (老转村四川菜馆; Lǎo zhuǎncūn sìchuān càiguǎn), 158 Minjiang Rd (On Minjiang Rd very near to the intersection with Fuzhou Rd), ☏ . Probably one of the biggest and best Szechuan restaurants in Qingdao. This spot is part of a local chain of average Chinese restaurants. ¥75-100.
- [dead link] Haidao Seafood Restaurant (海岛渔村; Hǎidǎoyúcūn), 40 Yunxiao Rd, Shinan District (市南区云霄路40号; Shìnánqū Yúnxiāolù), ☏ . ¥75-100.
- [dead link] Zijing Shandong Restaurant (紫晶鲁菜馆; Zǐjīnglǔcàiguǎn). Shandong cuisine. Claims to be the first restaurant in Qingdao to specialise in Shandong cuisine. Has both traditional dishes and modern ones. ¥125.
- 48 Minjiang Second Rd, Shinan District (市南区闽江二路48号; Shìnánqū Mǐnjiāngèrlù) (Buses 217, 222, 228), ☏ .
- 113 Fengshan Rd, Licang District (李沧区峰山路113号; Lǐcāngqū Fēngshānlù), ☏ .
Being Qingdao, you can expect to find, well, copious amounts of fresh Tsingtao. The brewery was founded by Germans during colonial times. Every August there is a beer festival (check the listing in the "Do" section). Many European breweries participate. One of the neatest things about Qingdao is the ability to purchase fresh from the factory draft beer almost anywhere. You will often see kegs sitting outside most restaurants and snack stores. The beer is sold by weight (asking for "yi jin" gives you 500 g, or half a litre), this will be served to you in a plastic bag! There are also numerous beer gardens where you can sit and drink from glasses, one glass of fresh beer ("san pi") only costs about ¥10. The Tsingtao "san pi" is some of the best Chinese beer you can get. Don't worry, it's served cold.
Qingdao's nightlife scene continues to evolve. The Jiangxi Rd. strip located downtown near Hong Kong Middle Rd. continues to have more and more bars. There is also a new development called Zhonglian Plaza (中联广场) located at Nanjing Rd and Ningxia Rd, that offers many large Chinese-style clubs. Karaoke (KTV) is very popular activity amongst the locals. There are a few western style club/discos in the Hong Kong Road area close to the Jusco. Thanks to the very large Korean expat population, there are many Korean style bars. Most of these bars can be found in the Hong Kong Gardens area.
- 7th Street, 8 GuTian Rd (Close to Jianxi Rd), ☏ . There is a DJ on most nights and you can request what songs you like to be played. It is a very laid-back western style bar with friendly and fun staff. Good selection of drinks available at a reasonable price. ¥15 and up.
- 1 Le Bang (乐邦) (on Chengyi 1 Rd N of Hong Kong Rd, but its official address is 2 Zhangzhou 2 Rd Gate B, it's on the side street next to SOS), ☏ . 6PM-close. A good first stop for travellers in the area is , a French expat bar. On Friday and Saturday nights there is an all you can drink ¥50 happy hour from 10PM-11PM. During weekdays there is always some kind of daily drink special. There are often French/continental nights. Drinks start at ¥15 and food starts at ¥25.
- Feelings Club, 83-85 Hong Kong Middle Rd (Across the road from Xinjiazhuang bus stop), ☏ . 8PM-close. A large dance club that is often the most popular among Chinese, music there is strictly techno. Women should watch out as it is not called "Feeling" Club for nothing.
- SOS, 71 Hong Kong Middle Rd (A 5 minute stumble west of Feelings Club on HK Rd), ☏ . 8PM-2AM. Formerly a part of the Shanghai Babyface chain. Name has changed but still the same Chinese techno loving, glow stick handling and dice rolling crowd, but often not as busy. ¥40 and up.
- Club New York, 41 Hong Kong Middle Rd 2F (Go further W from SOS past Fuzhou Rd), ☏ . There is a live band almost every night, that plays cover songs. The atmosphere is definitely more western oriented than other places. ¥40-50, although foreigners planning a lengthy stay are nearly always offered a free VIP card for permanent half price drinks.
- Freeman (自由人), 163 Jiangxi Rd (Jiangxi Rd near Hong Kong Middle Rd), ☏ . 6PM-2AM. Laid-back western style bar, with plenty of different kinds of booze available and good service. ¥20 and up.
- Charlie's Bar, 167 Jiangxi Rd (Jiangxi Rd near Hong Kong Middle Rd), ☏ . 6PM-2AM. Very similar to Freeman, but not as big and a slightly weaker selection. ¥20 and up.
- 2 Beer Mama's street keg stall, 32. SiFang Lu.(GPS N36.07012 E120.31655) (200 meters West of the Kaiyue International Hostel). Beer Mama is a funny Chinese woman who sells good draft beer cheap from kegs to see-through plastic bags and sticks a straw through it for immediate mobile use. The mobile use comes in handy if you are wandering around the surrounding food and vegetable market.
- Home Inn (Qingdao Yinchuan W Rd Branch) (如家快捷 (青岛银川西路店); Rújiākuàijié (Qīngdǎo Yínchuānxīlùdiàn)), 9 Yinchuan W Rd, Shinan District (市南区银川西路9号; Shìnánqū Yínchuānxīlù), ☏ , fax: . Tiny rooms. Listed rates for doubles from ¥179, breakfast ¥12.
- Qingdao Kaiyue International Youth Hostel. Quiet but large and very nice hostel in the old town near the train station and the Catholic church. Good place to meet other foreigners. with one of the best and biggest bars among hostels in China. thanks to the preaching hall of the church it once was.
- YHA Old Observatory. Qingdao Observatory, the first observatory in China, is a great location for this youth hostel, which is situated on Mt. Observatory in the heart of Qingdao. On a clear day there is a great view from the bar on its rooftop. Its bar/restauranat is really expensive though.
- [formerly dead link] Nordic Osheania (巢城青年旅舍), Guantao Lu 28/馆陶路28号, ☏ . Nordic Osheania has a great location on the German style street Guantao Lu. They offer bike rental (¥30 for 8 hours), laundry and a bar in the hostel. The ¥100 day trip to Lao Shan is actually a trip to several small places around Qingdao and then a brief excursion to Lao Shan, and the total comes to around ¥300. Dorm bed ¥35.
- [formerly dead link] Aegean Sea Boutique Hotel (青岛爱情海精品酒店; Qīngdǎo Àiqínghǎijīngpǐn Jiǔdiàn), 212 Yan'an Third Rd, Shinan District (市南区延安三路212号; Shìnánqū Yán'ānsānlù). Three star hotel with small rooms. Listed rates for doubles from ¥858, discounted from ¥219.
- [dead link] Sifang Hotel (青岛四方大酒店; Qīngdǎo Sìfāng Dàjiǔdiàn), 1 Wenzhou Rd, Sifang District (四方区温州路1号; Sìfāngqū Wēnzhōulù), ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Centrally located simple three-star hotel. Listed rates for doubles from ¥360, discounted from ¥158.
- TOP YiHe International Serviced Apartments, 10 Xianggang Middle Rd, ☏ . Comparable to most 4-star hotels in Qingdao at a much cheaper rate, has an excellent staff, Bird's Eye View of the Olympic Marina & May 4th Square. Free daily Western style breakfast, free local calls, free broadband internet with 42" plasma HDTV screen and cable TV, business center, conference rooms, 10-minute walk to all major shopping centers and restaurants.
- Crowne Plaza Qingdao, 76 XiangGang Middle Rd, ☏ , fax: . The city's busiest international hotel with 388 rooms, great location and facilities, including Brazilian BBQ and a pastry counter. It's also near the 2008 Olympics sailing sites.
- [dead link] Grand Regency Hotel Qingdao, 110 XiangGang Middle Rd, ☏ , fax: . The first 5-star hotel in Qingdao, it has excellent staff, billiard rooms, health club, squash courts, swimming pool, tennis courts, and a bowling alley. 393 rooms.
- Latour Laguens (Qingdao), 316 Hong Kong Rd, ☏ , fax: . Member of the small luxury hotels organization, Seaside resort hotel with an amazing ocean view, excellent service, vast selection of fine wines, comfortable high class atmosphere, very large personalized rooms with in-room sauna and spa, fantastic food selection, free pick up from the airport, and free breakfast.
- Sea View Garden Hotel, 2 Zhanghua Rd, ☏ . Offers excellent ocean side view, spa, tennis, KTV, bar, and close to shopping centres.
- ZhanQiao Hotel, 31 TaiPing Rd, ☏ . 4/5-star hotel with excellent location right on the water front. From ¥600, discounts available during the winter months..
- Copthorne Hotel Qingdao, 28 Hong Kong Middle Rd, ☏ . International deluxe hotel situated in the heart of the city and central business district. This contemporary 455-rooms-and-suite hotel provides an array of facilities and impeccable service to both the business and leisure travellers. The hotel offers a variety of dining experiences.
Generally, Qingdao is a very safe city although the general travel advisories such as keeping your bag close, not flashing large amounts of money and using common sense are always advised. Violent crime or serious thievery is not a common problem.
Also, be wary about buying Xinjiang nut loaves from vendors along the boardwalk near the Zhan Bridge unless you don't mind paying ¥200 for 2 kg of the loaves when all you wanted was a small piece to try. If you must buy them, make sure you agree on the price for each liang (the unit of measurement) of the loaf before you get the vendor to slice it. Also, tell him exactly how many liangs you want, although some tourists have commented that the vendors will still cut a much bigger slice than what you asked for. Sinkiang nut loaves are notorious for their ridiculous price throughout China.
Qingdao officials have been known to sweep bars. To avoid troubles, you should keep your passport and visa with you at all times. It is advisable to keep copies of your passport information page and visa in a safe place at your hotel or hostel.
There is a small tourist information kiosk located close to the main rail station. Whilst exiting, turn right and walk through the plaza, crossing the street, then turn left to the corner where you will see a small kiosk. It's near KFC. There is a tourist complaint hotline, which is 8591–2000.
The main post office is located at 8 Anhui Lu, and branches can be found throughout the city. Opening hours at the main post office is 8AM to 6PM.
Emergency numbers: 110 - Police, 119 - Fire, 120 - First aid, 122 - Traffic accidents
Relevant numbers: Qingdao Railway Station: 8601–1111, Qingdao Railway Station Ticket Reservations: 9510–5105, Qingdao Sifang Bus Station: 8371–8060, Qingdao Liuting International Airport: 96567, Taxi Reservations: 9600-9797
Located a 30-min bus ride east of downtown, Laoshan (Mount Lao) boasts a 2100-year-old Dao temple and is a must see for the Qingdao area. Often credited with being one of the temples that gave birth to the Dao way of thought, the Laoshan temple is tucked just between the mountains and beach. You can wander the temples or take one of the many paths winding up and around the mountains to enjoy the view, see waterfalls or listen to the tales of the ancient snake and other phenomena that haunt the Laoshan area. The mountain offers both regular hiking from the main entrance, as well as a stone-paved trail to Chao Yin waterfall and tea house from the north entrance
Bus 304 can be used when travel to Laoshan from Qingdao. The bus can be boarded at the train station close to the west side of beach no. 6.
Bus 304 will not take you all the way to Laoshan's main entrance. The bus trip from the train station to the terminal bus stop will cost about ¥10. A taxi from the terminal bus stop to Laoshan costs about ¥20. Unfortunately it's not easy to find an available taxi at the terminal bus stop. A good piece of advice is to start walking towards Laoshan and grab an empty taxi on the way. The actual distance from the end stop to Laoshan is too far to walk. The entrance fee for Laoshan is ¥70. It's also a good idea to book a taxi before hand for the return journey.
Weifang is a city in Shandong province that is the home of China's International Kite Festival. Visitors can visit the Kite Museum where artists produce not only kites, but also New Year's Paintings, carvings, and other forms of art. The Museum also houses a Ming dynasty era home of a young family of historical interest. Visitors may also visit the historical home of a local landlord from the Ming Dynasty on Weifang's oldest street. The city is approximately 2 hours by car from Qingdao on the way to the coastal city of Yantai.