prefecture-level city in Shandong, China

Weifang (潍坊; Wéifāng) is a city in Shandong Province. Modern and new but still retaining its old-school charm, Weifang is a unique place to witness the "real China" (or the new China) where the past meets the future in an endless array of complete contradiction and awe-inspiring moments that truly is the essence of the People's Republic of China. Weifang is known as "Kite Capital of the World". Weifang and its fresh winds are well known throughout the province.

Understand edit

Weifang is in the center of Shandong province in between Jinan to the west and Qingdao to the east.

Weifang is located in the western part of Shandong Peninsula, connected with Qingdao and Yantai in the east, Zibo and Dongying in the west, Linyi and Rizhao in the south, and bordering on Bohai Sea's Laizhou Bay in the north, which has a warm-temperate monsoon type semi-humid continental climate.

Besides kites, Weifang, like many other Chinese cities, is forever under the constructor's crane with new buildings popping up seemingly overnight.

Weifang has a certain characteristic in its exceptionally wide and straight boulevards that make out a chess pattern for many kilometers, resembling some American cities and perhaps also Beijing. However, the boulevards are much too wide for its number of vehicles so they very rarely get too crowded. Traffic jams are most uncommon and, due to the city's flatness, one can sometimes look down a 10-lane boulevard stretching to the horizon without a single car on it.

Foreigners are a rare sight. If you are European-looking prepare to be stared at and given a lot of (friendly) attention.

History edit

After the outbreak of the Anti-Japanese War, the Communist Party of China established an anti-Japanese base in Shandong.

In 1948, Weixian County was liberated on 27 April, and Weifang Special City was set up on 29 April.

Demographics and geography edit

As of the end of 2022, Weifang had a resident population of 9.4 million.

Get in edit

By plane edit

By train edit

There are 2 train stations in Weifang. Weifang (main) and Weifang North.

Weifang North train station is newer (completed on 2018) and comfortable when compared to other cities in the province.

Weifang is on the main line from Beijing to Qingdao and by CRH, China Rail Highspeed (Bullet). It is about 4 hr 10 min to Beijing, 1 hr 50 min to Jinan and 1 hr 5 min to get to Qingdao

There's plenty of transport outside the station, however the immediate surrounding area is undergoing heavy construction (welcome to Weifang). From the station take bus 56 to get to the downtown spots.

All green and gold taxis are Beijing Hyundai Elantras. They are all correctly metered. The blue taxis, which are slowly being replaced, are Volks Wagon Santanas, they are also fully metered. There is no need walk away from the station to the road and catch a taxi who uses the meter.

When exiting Weifang train station, the taxis at the ground level are "long distance" taxis, i.e., more than 10 km distance for your travel.

The taxis at the upper (1st level) are the general taxis for Weifang downtown areas. As of April 2012, the fare starts at ¥5, plus ¥1 fuel surcharge, totalling ¥6. This will take you to almost all down town locations.

If departing there are many ticket agencies around the city that sell train tickets with only a ¥5 or ¥10 service fee, making it unnecessary to head back to the station and wait in the crowded lines. Agency operators (as with most citizens in this small city) most likely will not speak English. Booking your train up to 10 days in advance is advisable.

  • Weifangbei Railway Station (潍坊北站), Xin Pu Street, Hanting District, toll-free: +86 536-12306. 24 hr. Weifang North Station has four floors, which are divided into two floors above ground and two floors underground. Among them, the first floor above ground is the security check hall and waiting hall, the ground floor above ground is the entrance and exit, the first underground floor is the high-speed railway corridor and social vehicle interchange, and the second underground floor is reserved for metro and rail transit interchange.
  • Weifang Railway Station (潍坊站), No.1 Heping Road, Weicheng District, Weifang (near Health Street), toll-free: +86 53-612-306. 24 hours. Weifang Station South Station for the line side of the flat-type station, divided into the upper and lower two floors, the east and west sides of the stairs and escalators, with two sightseeing lifts, passengers can be from the first basement level of the passenger tunnel directly to the ground floor, the first floor waiting room; the first floor has a food and beverage area, the waiting area of the east and west sides of the men's and women's toilets, as well as the water room.  

By bus edit

There are three main bus stations in Weifang,

  1. Across from the train station.
  2. Down the road from the train station - 1 km or so, adjacent to the "cheap market" in Quingnian Rd.
  3. The other long-distance bus station on Jiankang East Street

With the new China Rail Highspeed (CRH) trains, short-distance buses see much less passengers, however during holidays are sometimes the only way to go. As there is no pre-booking of bus tickets, simply show up the day (morning is better) you want to go.

Qingdao airport: if catching a flight from Qingdao it is cheaper and sometimes more efficient to take the bus from Weifang to Qingdao, the minibus, which is a Ford Transit 16-seater, stops at departures at Qingdao Airport. The cost is ¥70. Many Chinese people do exactly this. Taking a train to Qingdao will require taking either an airport bus or taxi, back the way you came, about 20 minutes outside of Qingdao to where the airport is located. Traveling from Weifang directly to Qingdao airport by bus takes about 2 hours and costs ¥70.

Buses in China generally do not have toilets on them and they sometimes go for hours (especially sleeper buses) without stopping.

Get around edit

By bus edit

Weifang buses much like the city itself are new and therefore quite comfortable when not peak travel times. Buses start around 06:00 ending at about 22:00 in the summer and 21:00 in the winter.

The two main roads are Dongfeng Jie and Shengli Jie which bus #16 and #56 both service. Bus 16 follows a circular loop along both of these two main streets while bus 56 starts at the train station and ends at the other side of the city at Weifang University.

By taxi edit

90% of the taxis in Weifang are now green and gold taxis, these are Hyundai Elantras. The older blue taxis are slowly being replaced: they are Volks Wagon Santanas. Taxis will go 3 km before adding about ¥1.6 per each extra kilometer. An extra ¥1 fuel fee is to be paid to the driver at the end of your voyage. Weifang proper is quite small so getting from end of the city to the other won't cost more than ¥20.

See edit

Weifang's claim to fame is its kites and a visit to Weifang should include some exposure to the kite culture here.

  • Kite Square 风筝广场 (Bus 16, 20, 56 and many other buses stop here). In the financial district, across from the giant Bank of China. A nice place to witness old men playing traditional games of chess or cards or other games, buy a kite, or people watch.Weifang Kite Square is located in the center of Weifang. It is a citizen activity square that integrates civil defense fortifications, commerce and shopping, leisure and entertainment and other functions, and highlights "environmental protection characteristics", "humanistic characteristics" and "kite cultural characteristics". The total area is about 9 hectares. The above-ground landscape of the square will include mascot avenue, central square, riverside landscape area, amphitheater and pier, Guomao terraced square, Siping Road exit square, Kite Museum entrance square, children's playground, botanical park, tree array and other ten major landscapes.
  • 1 Weifang World Kite Museum (潍坊世界风筝博物馆), 66 Xingzheng Street, Kuiwen District (奎文区行政街66号) (on the south side of the square; take bus 10, 29, 48, 62 counterclockwise or 62 clockwise), +86 536 8251745. 09:00-17:00, no entry after 16:30, closed on Mondays. The museum is worth a look to glimpse kites from around the world and the brush up on your kite history.The museum is China's first large-scale professional kite museum. The architectural shape adopts the characteristics of Weifang's leading centipede kites. The roof is a complete combined dragon. It is designed to collect and display kite treasures and kite-related materials from ancient and modern times at home and abroad. The exhibition uses detailed kite information as well as photos, texts, paintings, replicas, etc. to comprehensively display the history, application, evolution, kite schools and the Weifang International Kite Festival. Free.    
  • The Kite Factory 杨家埠风筝厂, Outside of Weifang in YangJiaPu (take bus #5 to the last stop). Inside the museum cum factory one will witness traditional kite making and production in a traditional Chinese setting of small gardens, old buildings and a slower pace of life. It's a good idea to buy your own kite at one of the shops outside of the factory (along the road) as it is generally cheaper here than in the city or in the factory.
  • Shouguang 寿光 (long distance bus - about 30 minutes). A vegetable fair each year around kite festival time. An entire playground of enormous fruit and vegetables are arranged for your viewing and photo taking pleasure. Seeds and farming products along with the common tourist goods are for sale, too.
  • Gao Mi 高密 (long distance bus - about one hour). Known throughout Shandong for its delicate, intricate paper cuts. Resembling giant red snowflakes, the numerous designs are mind boggling, ranging from: sports, animals, vegetables, to traditional buildings, ancient China and other scenes.
  • 2 Weifang Museum (潍坊市博物馆), 6616 Donfeng Street East, Kuiwen District (奎文区东风东街6616号) (across the street from the amusement park; take bus 16 clockwise, 16 counterclockwise, 21 East, 21 West, 50, 52, 55, 72, 76, 92, 96, 112 or 138), +86 536 8865529 (office), +86 536 8758823 (bookings), +86 536 8889722-8114 (exhibitions), . 09:00-17:00 (summer), 09:00-16:30 (winter), closed on Mondays. A nice way to spend a bad weather afternoon. Free.
  • 3 Weixian Concentration Camp Museum (潍县集中营博物馆), 2999 Yuhe Road West, Kuiwen District (奎文区虞河路西2999号) (just south of the intersection of Yuhe Road and Shengli Street, and north of the Weifang People's Hospital down by the river; take bus no. 4, 15, 59, 82, 162 or the Changyi-Weifang Intercity Bus (Line A) and get off at the People's Hospital East Gate bus stop), +86 536 2111736, . May-Sep: 09:00-17:00, Oct-Apr: 09:00-16:30, no entry in last 30 minutes, closed on Mondays. A World War II-era concentration camp where thousands of Western prisoners of war, including Eric Liddell, who was portrayed in the movie Chariots of Fire, were interned during the Japanese occupation. This is an interesting and little-known site in Weifang. The names of the prisoners are written in Chinese on the monument, but their English names are on a plaque to the south. Free.    
  • 4 Fangtze Eurotown (坊茨小镇), 138 Sanma Road, Fangzi District (坊子区三马路138号) (take bus #58), +86 536 7665333. 08:30-18:00. Fangtze Eurotown is the name given to the city's former foreign concession. It was established in 1898 as a German concession. In 1914, following the outbreak of World War I, the Japanese displaced the Germans and turned it into a Japanese concession. It remained in Japanese hands until the end of World War II. Today the area is a tourist attraction and a national heritage site. There are around 166 colonial-era buildings, including 103 German-built buildings and 63 Japanese-built buildings. Notable buildings include the German-built Fangtze Railway Station, the German Army Hospital and the German Army Headquarters. Free.

Do edit

  • The International Kite Festival 国际风筝会 (city bus #30). Held each year on or around April 20th. Kiters from around the globe come to hoist their prized possession skyward in differing competitions ranging from largest kite to synchronized flying, team competitions and also general kite displaying and flying. Locals and visitors alike are welcome to bring their own kite and cast it into the wind. The kite grounds are about an hour outside of the city by bus. Many hotels offer their own buses out to the kite grounds so getting out there isn't too much difficulty.
  • Amusement Park 富华游乐园 (Bus 16 & 20 stop here). Described as having not only the largest roller coaster in Shandong, but all of mainland China, the amusement park is a fun way to spend a day
  • The People's Government Square 人民广场. The River Area in addition to the Kite Square 风筝广场 are all great places to people watch, fly a kite, go for a walk or just get some fresh air. Be prepared for some extra attention - Weifangers are being unaccustomed to foreigners.

Buy edit

A shopping trip to Weifang would most definitely include a kite. For yourself or as a gift, put on a wall or fly it in the wind. Versatile, pretty, unique. Remember to bargain hard with the shop owner.

There are 3 places to buy computer and all types of electronic equipment and gadgets.

  1. near the Medical University, is Weifang Technology market, looking very old and run down. Take bus #16.
  2. adjacent to Bank Of China on Shengli West St.
  3. at Venice Plaza on Quingnian Rd.

Shopping on the old road is also an interesting time. Antiques, handicrafts, scroll-like wall paintings and many other nick-nacks are located in this tucked away part of town.

Cheap, tailor made suits, dresses, coats or fabric can be found on Tailor Street down the road from the Technological Market. Don't forget to haggle.

Eat edit

Shandong food comes in two flavors: spicy and salty and usually both. Bun-like white bread is more prevalent than noodles in the province and the seafood is generally quite fresh. Weifang has many restaurants on offer and for a random stab at it, try Si Ping Lu which is lined with eateries. Menus are generally not in English though most restaurants have picture menu's or food displayed in the entrance. Enjoy.

  • Weifang Ren Jia 潍坊人家 (bus 16). Excellent local dishes can be found here. Try the wasabi chicken.
  • Sea Palace 海王府 (bus 16, 56). For seafood, the Sea Palace can't be missed. Elegant dining in an enormous hotel-like building. Easy to order food display in the lobby area makes eating here a cinch: pick and point what looks tempting. Patrons to this restaurant are given a private room to eat in with anxious staff ready and willing to help.
  • 鸢飞潍县菜馆, YuanFei hotel. For fine Chinese dining where the delicate dishes are served up in a traditional, clean environment.
  • Green Leaf 绿叶火锅, East Fushou Jie (bus 56). Fantastic Hot-Pot.
  • Sichuan Restaurants (bus 56, 16). These two are tops in the city: 四川酒村 near the Shengrong Hotel & 天府传说 on Siping Lu.
  • 汉江韩国料理. Authentic Korean food made by Koreans:).
  • 一休日本料理, Si Ping Lu. If it's Japanese you crave the Japanese foreigners make it best here.
  • 韩重庆朝天锅. If something exotic is tingling your palate you may want to sample some excellent donkey meat at this not so easy to find restaurant near the WWII memorial. It's in an apartment community. There are several restaurants serving donkey as the locals seem to consider it delicious. Dog meat is also available in restaurants but only in the winter.
  • Xiang Jian Huan (Nice to meet you) (along 福寿东街与圣利岗交叉口). Great western food even by western standards. Recommended dish: Cheese Roasted Chicken, steaks. Call ahead to order the Tomahawk Steak and Beef Wellington (~3 hr)
  • Rune Ting 润庭-至臻佛跳墙海鲜姿造. Fabulous instagrammable hotpot buffet with tons of great food (buddha jump over the wall, large variety of meat, roasted durians, etc).

After 21:00, choices are severely reduced, the best options for late night chow being YonHo 永和豆浆 or McDonald's, both of which are open 24 hours.

Weifang radishes are re-known in Shandong for their nutrition and zesty flavor, a trip to Weifang should include a bite of radish. Head to the supermarket or bargain with a guy selling them on the sidewalk.

Some supermarkets in the city even offer fully cooked and prepared (though from packaged bags) dog meat. Woof! Woof!

Drink edit

  • M-Box bar, Nanxiahe Street (50 metres north from the riverdale apartments entrance), also accessible through Tai Hua Mall, +86 536 8211829. It has a live band and the occasional amateur foreigner can be heard singing or playing the guitar. Seems to be the foreigners' bar of choice with an English drink menu with foreign liquor and a friendly English speaking owner, Leo. Ask around for directions.
  • California Dreamin, East Shengli Street, 200 m eastwards of Yuanfei Hotel. Western looking bar with live band and (fairly) English speaking staff wearing cowboy hats.
  • Tie Mu Zhen (铁木真), Dong Feng Street E., in Zao Chun Yuan (早春园). Has a pool table and is usually not too crowded.
  • Kiss Bar (Kiss酒吧), Si Ping Lu (bus 16, 56). small and dank with a live singer on stage a couple times an hour. Closes at 12:30AM.
  • 0536 Dance Club (bus 16, 56). The dance club of choice in Weifang. Watch yourself as it can get raucous on the weekends with fights breaking out unexpectedly.

The top choice among the younger locals seems to be Soho Bar, which is a nightclub with insanely loud music and a (for a foreigner) difficult to understand table/barchair reservation set-up.

Sleep edit

The Pullman Hotel is popular with foreigners on their business trips. Located next to Wanda Mall.

The Fairington is the only (thus far) 5-star hotel in Weifang. It is away from the city center - very near the Weifang Amusement park. Associated with the Fairington is 'Building B' a comfortable 3-star hotel across from the main building. Both wings have restaurants and shopping available. Both are often filled with businessmen as the convention center is nearby.

The Dongfeng Hotel is a well established 4-star hotel not too far from the Fairington on Dongfeng Lu. Like the Fairington, the Dongfeng has all the amenities, including its own building B, and is often full of business people.

The YuanFei is a luxurious 4-star in the heart of the financial district across from the Bank of China.

There are plenty of other hotels around the city however, the staff most likely will not speak English. The hotels listed above all have English speaking staff.

Connect edit

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