Qingdao Greeting House
SHANDONG PROVINCE is a mostly flat, densely populated and largely agricultural province with canals, drab cities, factories and cabbage fields fertilized with human excrement. Located on a fertile peninsula situated on the lower reaches of the Yellow River and is bordered by the Bohai and Yellow Seas, it is the second most populous province in China after Guangdong and is a major coal producing area. The region's fortunes have traditionally risen and fallen with the Yellow River, which these days is drained of so much water before it enters Shandong it sometimes doesn't have any water when it reaches the Yellow Sea.

Shandong Province covers 157,100 square kilometers (60,700 square miles), is home to more than 100 million people and has a population density of 640 people per square kilometer. About 61 percent of the population lives in urban areas. Jinan is the capital and largest city, with about 7 million people. Qingdao is another large about the same size as Jinan, Over 99 percent of the province’s population is Han Chinese. Minority groups include Hui and Manchus. Shandong people are known for being the tallest in China.

Known as Lu for short, Shangdong (pinyin: Shāndōng; Wade–Giles: Shan-tung) has played a major role in Chinese history from the beginning of Chinese civilization and is the home region of great Chinese luminaries such as Confucius, Sun Tzu (of The Art of War fame), Mencius and Mo-tse. Thanks to its rich resources and industrious people, Shandong’s economy has developed rapidly and attracted a fair amount of foreign investment, which hasn’t trickled down to everyone as a large number of migrant workers in Beijing and Shanghai are from rural areas of Shandong.

Shandong served as a pivotal cultural and religious site for Taoism, Chinese Buddhism, and Confucianism. Shandong's Mount Tai is the most revered mountain of Taoism and had a strong connection with the Chinese Imperial government. The Buddhist temples in the mountains to the south of Jinan were once among the foremost Buddhist sites in China. The city of Qufu is the birthplace of Confucius, and was later established as the center of Confucianism. Shandong's location at the intersection of ancient as well as modern north-south and east-west trading routes have helped to establish it as an economic center. Qingdao in particular had a large European presence in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In recent years, economic growth has been centered mostly in Jinan, the province's economic and cultural centre, the coastal cities of Qingdao, Weihai, and Yantai and in Weifang and Zaozhuang.

Mandarin dialects are spoken in Shandong. Linguists classify these dialects into three broad categories: Ji Lu Mandarin spoken in the northwest (as well as in neighbouring Hebei), such as the Jinan dialect; Zhongyuan Mandarin spoken in the southwest (as well as in neighbouring Henan); and Jiao Liao Mandarin spoken in the Shandong Peninsula. Shandong Bangzi and Lüju are popular types of Chinese opera in Shandong; both originated from southwestern Shandong.

Tourist Office: Shandong Tourism Bureau, 88 Jingshi Rd, 250014 Jinan, Shandong, China, Tel. (0)-531-296-5858, fax: (0)-531-296-4284

Maps of Shandong: chinamaps.org

Geography and Climate of Shandong

Shandong is bordered by Hebei Province to the northwest, Henan Province to the west, Jiangsu Province and small piece of Anhui Provinces to the southwest, the Bohai Sea to the northeast and the Yellow Sea to the southeast. Shandong is mostly flat. The northwestern, western, and southwestern parts of the province are all part of the vast North China Plain. The center of the province is more mountainous, with Taishan (Mount Tai) being the most famous. The east of the province is the hilly Shandong Peninsula extending into the sea, separating the Bohai Sea and the Yellow Sea. The highest point in Shandong is 1,545-meter (5,069 foot) -high Jade Emperor Peak on Taishan.

The Yellow River passes through Shandong's western areas, entering the sea along Shandong's northern coast; in its traversal of Shandong it flows on a levee, higher than the surrounding land, and dividing western Shandong into the Hai He watershed in the north and the Huai He watershed in the south. The Grand Canal of China enters Shandong from the northwest and leaves on the southwest. Weishan Lake is the largest lake of the province. Shandong's coastline is 3,000 kilometers (1,900 miles) long. Shandong Peninsula has a rocky coastline with cliffs, bays, and islands; the large Laizhou Bay, the southernmost of the three bays of Bohai Sea, is found to the north, between Dongying and Penglai; Jiaozhou Bay, which is much smaller, is found to the south, next to Qingdao. The Miaodao Islands extend northwards from the northern coast of the peninsula.

Geologically, Shandong is part of the Eastern Block of the North China craton. Beginning in the Mesozoic, Shandong has undergone a crustal thinning that is unusual for a craton and that has reduced the thickness of the crust from 200 kilometers (120 miles) to as little as 80 kilometers (50 miles). Shandong has hence experienced extensive volcanism in the Tertiary.

Some geological formations in Shandong are rich in fossils. For example, Zhucheng, which is located in southeastern Shandong, has been the site of many discoveries of dinosaur fossils. A major find of 7,600 dinosaur bones that including tyrannosaurus and ankylosaurus remains was announced in 2008, and is believed to be the largest collection ever found.

Shandong has a temperate climate, lying in the transition between the humid subtropical (Cwa under the Köppen climate classification) and humid continental (Köppen Dwa) zones with four distinct seasons. Summers are hot and rainy (except for a few coastal areas), while winters cold and dry. Average temperatures are −5 to 1 °C (23 to 34 °F) in January and 24 to 28 °C (75 to 82 °F) in July. Annual precipitation is 550 to 950 millimeters (22 to 37 inches), the vast majority of which occurs during summer, due to monsoonal influences.

Early History of Shandong

Shandong map
With its location on the eastern edge of the North China Plain, Shandong has felt the influence of Chinese civilization since remote antiquity. The earliest dynasties (the Shang dynasty and Zhou dynasty) exerted varying degrees of control over western Shandong, while eastern Shandong was inhabited by the Laiyi peoples who were considered as the "barbarians". Over subsequent centuries, the Laiyi were eventually sinicized. [Source: Wikipedia]

During the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States period, regional states became increasingly powerful. At this time, Shandong was home to two powerful states: the state of Qi at Linzi and the state of Lu at Qufu. Lu is noted for being the home of Confucius. The state was, however, comparatively small, and eventually succumbed to the powerful state of Chu from the south. The state of Qi was, on the other hand, a major power throughout this entire period. Cities it ruled included Linzi, Jimo (north of modern Qingdao) and Ju.

Confucianism and Taoism developed — in a large part in what is now Shandong — in a period of Chinese history from the sixth century to the third century B.C., described as "The Age of Philosophers," which in turn coincided with the Warring States Period. During the Age of Philosophers, theories about life and god were debated openly at the "Hundred Schools," and vagrant scholars went from town to town, like traveling salesmen, looking for supporters, opening up academies and schools, and using philosophy as a means of furthering their political ambitions. Chinese emperors employed court philosophers who sometimes competed in public debates and philosophy contests, similar to ones conducted by the ancient Greeks. The uncertainty of this period created a longing for a mythical period of peace and prosperity when it was said that people in China followed rules set by the ancestors and achieved a state of harmony and social stability. The Age of Philosophers ended when the city-states collapsed and China was reunited under Emperor Qin Shihuangdi.

Present-day Shandong was home of great Chinese figures Confucius, Sun Tzu (of The Art of War fame), Mozi and Mencius. Confucius was born and lived most of life in Qufu. The Spring and Autumn Annals states that Sun Tzu was born in Qi, while Sima Qian's later Records of the Grand Historian (Shiji) states that Sun Tzu was a native of Wu. Mencius, often described as the "second Sage" after Confucius, was born in the State of Zou in present-day Zoucheng, Shandong Province, only 30 kilometers south of Qufu. Mozi, he first man to offer a strong intellectual challenge to Confucianism, was a native of the State of Lu (today's Tengzhou, Shandong Province).

Modern History of Shandong

The modern province of Shandong was created by the Ming Dynasty (1368 to 1644) but at the time included much of modern-day Liaoning. During Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) Shandong acquired (more or less) its current borders. During the nineteenth century, coastal China became increasingly exposed to Western influence. Qingdao was leased to Germany in 1897 and Weihai to Britain in 1898. The rest of Shandong was generally considered to be part of the German sphere of influence. At the same time the Qing Dynasty opened Manchuria to Han Chinese immigration and people from Shandong made up a large chunk of the migrants.

Shandong was one of the first places in which the Boxer Rebellion started and became one of the centers of the uprising. As a result of the First World War, Germany lost Qingdao and its sphere of influence in Shandong. The Treaty of Versailles transferred the German concessions in Shandong to Japan instead of giving it back to China. Discontent over terms of the Treaty of Versailles (Shandong Problem) led to the May Fourth Movement. Finally, Shandong reverted to Chinese control in 1922 after mediation by the United States during the Washington Naval Conference. Weihai followed in 1930. After that Shandong was ruled by a succession of warlords, including the "Dogmeat General" Shandong was occupied by Japan, during the World War II period when the a scorched earth policy ("Three Alls Policy": "kill all", "burn all", "loot all") was implemented by general Yasuji Okamura against resistance.

At the time Japan surrendered Japan in 1945, . communist forces already held some parts of Shandong. Over the next four years of the Chinese Civil War, they expanded their holdings, eventually driving the Kuomintang (government of the Republic of China) entirely out of Shandong by June 1949. The People's Republic of China was founded in October of the same year. Under the new government, after some territory and islands were given and then taken back, Shandong has for the most part maintained the same borders that it has today. In recent years Shandong, especially eastern Shandong, has enjoyed significant economic development, becoming one of the richest provinces in China.

Shandong Cuisine and Things to Buy

Shandong cuisine is one of the eight great traditions and major cooking styles of Chinese cuisine. It can be divided into inland Shandong cuisine (e.g. Jinan cuisine); the seafood-centered Jiaodong cuisine in the peninsula; and Confucius's Mansion cuisine, an elaborate tradition originally intended for imperial and other important feasts.

Shandong Cuisine is regarded as the foundation for the cuisine of North China. Local chefs in Shandong are skilled at preparing delicious dishes by stir-frying, boiling, frying, braising and other cooking techniques, which feature overall excellence in color, smell, taste and shape. Jinan Cuisine, Jiaodong Cuisine, and Kong Family Cuisine are three major branches of Shandong Cuisine, each having its own unique characteristics.

Jinan Cuisine is represented by a number of dishes, such as Pucai in Milky Soup, Sweet and Sour Carp from Daming Lake, and Stir-fried Kidneys Among the representative dishes of Jiao dong Cuisine are Steamed Red Snapper with Clear Soup, Tianjing Sea Cucumbers and Quick-fried Conches. Kong Family Cuisine includes things like “Going to Court with a Son” (a duck with a baby duck) and Immortal Duck.

On the food in Qingdao, the Global Times reports: “It is not the most complicated of Chinese cuisines, but in general the food here is fresh and tasty-and inexpensive. Not surprisingly, Qingdao is best known for its seafood. I sampled some wonderful dishes, small, succulent clams steamed in ginger and red pepper, salt water fish, san xian shui jian bao-a type of "soup" bun steamed and then lightly fried on the bottom, stuffed with green onion, shrimp and pork and bursting with flavor.” [Source: Global Times, Xinhua News Agency August 7, 2009]

Interesting food item and things to buy include: 1) In Jinan: Lotus roots from Daming Lake, pucai vegetable, carps from the Yellow River, Zhangqiu green Ghinese onions, Mingshui fragrant rice, donkey- hide geletin, Pingyin roses, Muyu stones and Jinan dough modeling; 2) In Tai’an: Yanzi stones, red glossy ganaderma, the tuber of multiflower knotweed, Feicheng peaches, gorgon fruit, furnishings with landscapes of Mt. Tai, Mt. Tai arts and crafts for offering sacrifices to the gods, and Dawenkou cultural color pottery; 3) In Jining: Rubbings from stone inscriptions, Kai woodcarvings, Nishan ink slabs, four: nose carps, mandarin fish and Lu brocade; 4) In Qingdao: Qingdao beer, Laoshan mineral spring water, shell mosaic, Laoshan green tea, bamboo leave tea, Laoshan green stones, and grapes from Daze Mountain; 5) In Yantai: Zhangyu wine, Polaris: brand clocks and wristwatches, Longkou vermicelli made from bean starch, Yantai apples, Laiyang pears, paper: cuts for window decoration, straw: plaited products, Dali stone carvings, Laizhou writing brushes, tea set inlaid with gold or tin, and Tuoji sotne potted landscapes; 6) In Weihai: Large peanuts, Weihai apples and Golden Monkey: brand leather products; 7) In Rizhao: Jingdong pickes, Rizhao liquor, screens and hanging fans of Juxian; 8) In Weifang: Kites of Weifang, woodcut New Year pictures of Yangjiabu, Niejiazhuang clay sculptures, and padauk containers inlaid with silver threads; 9) In Zibo: Zibo pottery and porcelain ware, Boshan glassware, Zhou Village silk, and copper musical instruments of Zhou Village; and 10 ) In Liaocheng: Crisp jujubes, fermented bean curd for the capital, and handicraft leather belts.


Qingdao (670 kilometers southwest of Beijing) is a major port and harbor city on the Yellow Sea famous for Tsingtao beer and hosting the 2008 Olympics sailing competition. Home to about six million people, it is a major insurance center, a retirement retreat, and a pleasant. lightly-industrialized city with a nice coastal climate, a low key atmosphere and clean beaches with cafes filled with college students and beat-up health clubs where men gather to lift weight and check out each other's physique.

Qingdao is regarded as the beach capital of northern China. Occupying a hilly peninsula at the southern end of the Shandong Peninsula, and embracing a series of stunning bays, it was little more than a village in the late 19th century when it was claimed by Germany who built a concession here and turned into it into a modern sea port with European-style government buildings churches and villas.

Qingdao is a lively city. It hosts “Qingdao Ocean Festival”, the only Chinese festival with the ocean as the theme, the annual “Bar Culture Festival”, a winter event with more than a hundred bars participating, and the world-renowned “Qingdao International Beer Festival” in which local Tsingtao beer takes center stage. There is also — or used to be — an annual seaweed festival.

There are many German-style stone houses with steeply slanted roofs. Restaurants serve German food. Many residents even make German dishes at home. Preservationists have worked hard to make sure the city's German buildings remain unspoiled. Along he water are stucco villages. Most people live in the hundreds of gray, high-rise apartments that dominate the city.

Qingdao has attracted a great deal of investment money from Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea. Foreign investors are interested in Qingdao because its port is close to Korea and Japan and offshore natural gas. To cater to businessmen from these countries a number of new hotels, office buildings, and karaoke bars have sprung up. About 9 million tourists visit Qingdao every year, bringing US$90 million in tourist money.

Web Sites : City site Thats Qingdao Travel China Guide Travel China Guide Lonely Planet Lonely Planet ; Maps of Qingdao: chinamaps.org ;

Budget Accommodation: Check Lonely Planet books; Getting There: Qingdai is accessible by air, bus, train and boat. By fast train it is about three or four hours from Beijing. Travel China Guide Travel China Guide Lonely Planet Lonely Planet Tourist Office: Tourism Administration of Qingdao, Tel: +86 (0)532 689 0852

Geography, Climate and Algae Blooms in Qingdao

Qingdao is located at the southern tip of the Shandong Peninsula. A unique blend of sea and mountains, Qingdao Prefecture covers 11,067 square kilometers (4,273 square miles and has a total coastline (including its islands) of 870 kilometers, 730 kilometers of which are continental coastline, accounting for one fourth of the total length in Shandong. There are numerous capes and coves along the tortuous coastline.

The populated sections of the city are relatively flat while mountains spur up within city limits and nearby. The highest elevation in the city is 1,133 meters (3,717 feet). Qingdao has seven urban districts and five county-level cities under its jurisdiction, The core urban area covers 1,102 square kilometers.

Qingdao lies in the north temperate zone and has a temperate monsoon climate. Under the direct influence of the southeastern monsoon and the sea currents and tides, the urban area of the city has marked marine climatic features-humid air, mild temperature and clear-cut seasons. In spring, the weather becomes warmer slowly, usually one month later than the inland areas. It is humid and rainy in summer, and cool and dry in autumn. The annual diurnal temperature variation is only 6.3 °C (11.3 °F). The relatively long winters are cool to cold and windy, but generally dry, with a January average of −0.2 °C (31.6 °F). Summer is generally hot and humid, but very hot days are rare, with an August average of 25.4 °C (77.7 °F). Autumn is milder than inland areas in Shandong.

The water temperature peaks at about 25 °C (77 °F) in late August, with swimming possible from late June to late October. During the summer months, the beaches of Qingdao are afflicted by massive algal blooms. The decomposing algae release large amounts of hydrogen sulfide gas, which gives off the odour of rotten eggs. The blooms of sea lettuce, which are partially caused by seaweed farming in Jiangsu Province, led local officials to declare a "large-scale algae disaster" in 2013.

History of Qingdao

Mount Lao
Human settlement on the Qingdao area dates back to 6,000 years years. In the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770-256 B.C.), the town of Jimo was established, which was then the second largest in the Shandong region. After unifying China in 221 B.C., Emperor Qin Shi Huang took an interest in what is now the Qingdao area as it served as a stepping in his quest for the elixer or immortality. Emperor Qin climbed to the top of Mt. Langyatai in the present city of Jiaonan three times. Emperor Qin sent a mariner named Xu Fu to search the Pacific for the elixir. Xu Fu began his voyage with his fleet at the foot of Mt. Langyatai and sailed eastbound to Korea and Japan. On his second voyage he didn’t return. Some say he ended up in America.

Liu Che, an emperor of the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-AD220) held sacrificial rites at the Jiaomen Palace in Mt. Buqi, which is in today’s Chengyang District of Qingdao. He also ordered none temples to be constructed in Mt. Nugu along the Jiaozhou Bay, to worship Taoist gods and his ancestors. By the end of the Qing Dynasty, Qingdao had grown into a prosperous town known then as Jiao’ao.

The formal establishment of Qingdao occurred in 1891, when the Qing government sent troops to the city. In November 1897, Germany occupied Qingdao by force on the pretext of the Juye Litigation over religious disputes. When the First World War broke out in 1914, Japanese invaders took over Qingdao and continued the colonial rule. In protest against the then Chinese government yielding to Japanese pressure, the famous May 4th Movement was launched in 1919 and protestors demanded the resumption of sovereignty over Qingdao. On 1922, China regained control of Qingdao and warlords took over the government In January 1938, the Japanese invaded and took over Qingdao again. Their occupation came to an end in 1945 when they surrendered at the Kuomintang Nationalist (KMT) government took over the city. In June 1949, the Communists drove out the KMT and soon after that all of China was under their control. A large amount of development in Qingdao coincided with the preparations for the 2008 Olympics. West of Qingdao around the Jiaozhou Bay a wetlands is being developed and land is being reclaim from the sea. Already there is a new sports stadium, and a 10-floor fish restaurant.

Transportation in Qingdao

Because of Qingdao sometimes hilly topography and road configurations and rules you don’t see that many bicycle or motorbikes. There are a lot of one-way roads in Qingdao. Often you will see a four-land road with only buses run in the right lane. This is in order to increase bus-running speed and lessen the transportation pressure in the city and discourage car use. The most convenient and comfortable way to visit Qingdao is to take the air-condition bus or hire a vehicle and guide through your hotel or a travel agency. You can take a day trip of Laoshan, all hotels can arrange this trip. The starting price for a taxi is RMB7 for four kilometers and RMB1.2 per kilometer, from 10:00pm-5:00 RMB1.5 per kilometer.

Subway Qingdao’s first metro opened in 2015. As of 2019 they system had had 173.358 kilometers of track and 85 stations. In the long term, the city plans to build eight subway lines in downtown and some suburban districts, with for 231.5 kilometers (143.8 miles) of track. The lines running now are:
Line 2 runs from Taishan Road (Shibei)to Licun Park (Licang) and began operation in 2017 and was extended in 2019. It has 24.387kilometers of track and 21 stations.
Line 3 runs from Qingdao Railway Station (Shinan) to Qingdao North Railway Station (Licang) and began operation in 2015and was extended in 2016. It has 24.472 kilometers of track and 22 stations.
Line 11 runs from Miaoling Road (Laoshan) to Qiangu Mountain (Jimo) and began operation in 2018. It has 57.686 kilometers of track and 21 stations.
Line 13 runs from Jinggangshan Road (Xihai'an) to Dongjiakou Railway Station (Xihai'an) and began operation in 2018. It has 66.813 kilometers of track and 21 stations. Qingdao Subway Map: Urban Rail urbanrail.net

Tram: The Qingdao Tram system operates in Chengyang District It opened in 2016 and is operated by the Qingdao Public Transport Group Rail Bus Company. It has only one line. Qingdao Tram Map: Urban Rail urbanrail.net

By Bus: Buses have traditionally been the main way to get around Qingdao. They are convenient and cheap. The No. 26 No. 201 and No. 202 bus start from the railway station going along the seashore passing Zhanqiao Badaguan scenic spots. To Laoshan (Taiqing sceneic area), you can first take the No. 304 bus to the railway station and then hop on a bus to Laoshan. If you want to travel Beijiushui and Yankou scenic area, you can take the travel buses at 7:00am-10:00am every morning at the Huaneng square.

Ferries operates between Qingdao and Huangdao connecting the two sides of Jiaozhouwan. The journey takes 20 minutes or half an hour. There are no boats on foggy days. 1) Common boat: 6:30am-9:00pm RMB6, one boat for every half an hour. 2) High-speed boat: 7:00am-6:00pm RMB8, one boat for every 20 minutes. 3) Qingdao to Xuejia island (Anzi wharf): High-speed boat: 7:00am-18:10, one boat for every half an hour.

Pleasure Ship leave from the wharf at Laiyang Road, which north of naval museum. Here boats run to Little Qingdao Luxun Park and Taiping angle. The travel wharf of Zhongyuan is situated in the Xiling Road. Here you can take a boat to enjoy the scenery of coastal Qingdao but travel to of Huanghai — Zhucha Island and Dagong Island.

Getting to Qingdao

By Plane: Qingdao is easily accessible by air from almost all the major cities in China, The city is also connected with some international destinations, mostly in Japan, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau. The Liuting Airport is located 32 kilometers north of the city proper and there are minibuses available from the airport, transferring visitors to the city within 30 minutes. Most large hotels have airline ticket offices, as well as transport to and from the airport. There are only minibuses go to the city center from the airport, you should get on the bus as soon as possible to get a seat. On the other hand, if you decide to take a taxi, you'd better choose the taxi with a silver roof, because the taxi with a yellow roof is not allowed to enter the city center.

By Train: The main railway station is at Tai'an road near Zhanqiao. Everyday, trains go to more than 15 major cities of China including Beijing, Shanghai, Ji'nan, Taishan, Hezhe, Weihai, Wuchang, Nanchang, Xuzhou, Zhengzhou, Xian, Lanzhou, Chengdu, Taiyuan, Dandong, Tonghua.

By Bus: There are seven expressways linking Qingdao and many major cities such as Jiqing, Jiaozhouwan, Xiliu, Shuangliu, Weilai, Xilai and Qingyin. Minibuses go to Weihai (four hours RMB40), Yantai ( three hours RMB30), and Yiweike (four hours RMB40) from the Qingdao railway station square. To Ji'nan, you can take a bus in the bus station of Qingdao (4.5 hours RMB79] The main bus stations are: 1) Qingdao bus station: Wenzhou road; 2) West bus station: Location: Guantao road; and 3) East bus station: Ha'erbing road

By Ship: There are two international ship lines in Qingdao. Ships go to Korea every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; and to Japan, every Tuesday and Friday.

Sights in Qingdao

The main business district is around Fushan Bay, here there are a handful of skyscrapers along with banks, apartment complexes and modern hotels. A long esplanade leads to the waterfront green belt and the Olympic yachting center. Here you can see spectacular “The Wind of May” sculpture, comprised a series of thick, red, metal hula-hoop-like rings of difference sizes. A large amount of development coincided with the preparations for the Olympics. West of Qingdao around the Jiaozhou Bay a wetlands is being developed and land is being reclaim from the sea. Already there is a new sports stadium, and a 10-floor fish restaurant. Haitian Center Tower 2 is the 58th tallest building in the world. (as of 2020). Completed in 2020, it is 369 meters (1,211 feet) tall and has 72 floors.

Zhan Bridge (Zhanqiao, 500 meters from Qingdao Railway Station) is a trestle bridge that welcomes many travelers to Qingdao. Originally built in 1891 as a naval pier, it is 440-meters (1444-feet) long and 10 meters (33-feet) wide with giant granite supports. Lotus-shaped lamps provide illumination and decoration. At the south end of the bridge is a Chinese style octagon pavilion standing in contrast to European buildings in the background.

The Pier is located at the southern end of Qingdao, stretching to the sea from Zhongshan Road, a bustling shopping street. First built in 1892, it is 440 meters long and eight meters wide. Regarded as a symbol of Qingdao, The pier is the oldest wharf in Qingdao. Huilan Pavilion, with red walls and double eaves, is located at The Pier’s southern end. Here there is a nice view of sea and flying seagulls. On the northern shore is Pier Park, covered with flowers, trees and lawns.

Ocean University of China was named one the ten most beautiful universities in China. Established in 1924, it is famous for the study of marine sciences and fisheries. Ocean University has one of the most beautiful campuses in China, composed entirely of Western-style buildings. The campus is particularly inviting in the spring and summer when the trees are green and flowers are blooming in the university gardens. The campus sits on a hill overlooking the sea and the old European-style town of Qingdao. Students can often been seen sitting outdoors reading in the sea breeze.

May 4th Square (Wusi GuangChang) is named in memory of the May 4th Movement. Located between the new municipal government building and the bay, it is composed of the Shizhengting Square, the central square and the coastal park. These three parts have their own features and the whole square is a combination of local Qingdao features and modern design. Location: 35 DongHai Xi Lu; ShiNan District, Fushan Bay Area (Central Qingdao); Getting There: Closest Bus Stops: Wu Si Guang Chang:No. 317 From City Government (XiangGang Zhong Lu), Shi Zheng Fu: No. 104, No. 231, No. 311, No. 316, No. 321, No. 374, No. 501, No. 801.

Historic Buildings in Qingdao

Noteworthy European building include the Qingdao Art Museum, an eclectic structure with Roman columns and an Art Deco roofline, and an old Japanese Middle School, an Art Nouveau structure that is now part of the Ocean University of China. In the same neighborhood as the Protestant Church are the twin-towered Romanesque St. Michael's Cathedral and German government headquarters competed in 1914. At the end of the long Zhanqiao Pier on Qingdao Bay is the two-tiered pagoda featured on the Tsingtao beer labels.

According to the Global Times: “The original city of Qingdao was largely laid out by the German imperial government in the early 20th century during the period of colonial occupation. In spite of the bitter historical echoes, this legacy nonetheless makes Qingdao an exceptional city in which to wander. Old German-style villas and townhouses with yellow walls and red roofs line tree-shaded lanes that wind into the hills. Qingdao may be a modern port and center of industry, but its old town largely remains a peaceful and relaxing refuge.” [Source: Global Times, Xinhua News Agency August 7, 2009]

On the area around Zhongshan Road, old Qingdao's main thoroughfare, he wrote, “Many striking examples of colonial architecture still stand here and off the bustling road are numerous allies to explore. I made my way up "European-Style Street," a remodeled zone that is still under construction, to the famous Catholic Church. Built in 1934, this gothic style twin-spired cathedral sits at the back of an expansive, cobblestone square. I took some time to sit for a while at a kiosk, enjoying a Tsingdao dark beer and watching locals lay with their dogs in the warm, fading sun of the late afternoon.”

Protestant Church is a Qingdao's landmark is a beautiful example of a folksy Art Nouveau style known as Jugendstil in Germany. It has blue steeples and granite cornerstone dated 1908. It was renovated after being damaged by the Red Guards who climbed to the top of the steeples to tear down the crosses. Although recently renovated this church still retains most of its original style and charm. Situated on a slight hill across from the Xinhaoshan park, the 39.10 meter tall bell tower and 18 meter high main hall, are easily missed on the winding roads leading up here. Admission: 3 yuan; and another 4 yuan for going up the bell tower; Getting There: Take the bus No. 1, 214, 225 to get there.

Governor's Mansion is the most impressive structure in Qingdao. It is a huge castlelike palace, with spiral staircases, Tudor-style-beams, vaulted ceiling and stucco balconies. The German governor who had it built was fired after the kaiser received the bill. Governor's Mansion was built in 1906 and used by Mao in 1958, which is why it wasn't damaged during the Cultural Revolution like other foreign buildings here. The mansion is now a hotel. You can sleep in the same room that Mao slept in for US$200. The room has been left exactly as he liked it with hard mattresses, soft couches and lots of spittoons. Regular rooms cost US$70.


The Badaguan District (around Zhengyangguan Road, eastern part of Qingdao and Huiquan Bay) is where wealthy merchant lived. Here you can find about 200 mansions and villas — featuring Renaissance Revival, Art Nouveau, Victorian gingerbread, and half-timbering architecture — that look as if they were brought complete from Germany.. The area is particular pretty in the spring when the peach, cherry and magnolia trees are in bloom.

The Badaguan (Eight Passages) District name comes from China's eight famous strategic passes, which are Jiayuguan, Juyongguan, Wushengguan, Ningwuguan, Shanhaiguan, Shaoguan, Zhengyangguan, and Zijingguan. . Since 1949, two more avenues were built in the area and there are now actually ten roads in the district but the name remained the same. The area is home to many varieties of trees, such as peach trees, pine trees and gingko trees. It is said the architecture of the 200 villas features styles from Britain, Russia, the U.S., France, Germany, Denmark, Greece, Spain, Switzerland and Japan. Before the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the area was home to many foreign consulates and has beeb called the "World Architecture Museum," even, for some reason, "Little Switzerland."

Badaguan remains an interesting mix of Eastern and Western influences. Well-known villas include Flower Stone Tower, Princess Building and the Songs Garden. Many films and television shows have been shot here. Brides and bridegrooms often come here for their wedding photos and can be seen in wedding dresses strolling along Badaguan’s streets.

Tsingdao Beer Museum

Tsingtao Brewery (Dengzhou Road) is housed in an old stone and has a museum and a tasting room. It was built by the Germans in 1930 primarily to make beer for themselves, using 19th century equipment and ingredients brought from Europe. At that time beer was virtually unknown in China. Now Tsingtao is partly owned by Anheuser-Busch In Bev. The Tsingtao factory employs 1,700 people and produces thousands of tons of beer a year.

The Tsingtao Beer Factory ( Tsingtao Beer )is a special tourist destination integrating the production of beer, sightseeing, catering service, leisure and recreational activities. The Tsingtao Beer Museum has been designated as a national AAAA scenic zone, and a demonstration centre of the national industrial tourism.

The Tsingtao Beer Museum has three exhibition zones: 1) the 100-year History and Culture; 2) the Beer Production Line; and 3) the Multi-functional Recreational Zone. Tourists visit the Century Plaza, the 100-year beer brewing equipment, the multi-functional recreational hall, and the most advanced beer production lines in the world, taste free beer brewed on the very day, and receive some free snacks. Tourists can also visit some tourist attractions, such as Old Well, Drunken Immortal Pavilion, Century Plaza, Bottoms Up with the World, and Drunken Hut in the museum.

One traveler wrote in the Global Times: “The beer museum includes tours of both the original brewery and the modern facility. One highlight-looking down at the modern factory floor and watching bottles and cans whiz around on conveyer belts like a manic cartoon...Best of all-we got to drink beer! First, a taste of the "raw" or unfiltered beer. This was absolutely delicious, a much richer brew than the usual lager. If you appreciate good beer and craft brewing, you will want to try this. After the tour, we adjourned to the bar for a pitcher of the lager. Here is my one complaint-Tsingdao brews a stout, a dark beer and the aforementioned wonderful "raw" beer-yet they are nowhere to be found in the museum.”[Source: Global Times, Xinhua News Agency August 7, 2009]

Olympic Sailing in Qingdao

Fushan Bay in Qingdao was the site of the 2008 Olympics sailing competition. The 45-acre venue was created from scratch at a cost of US$470 million (including accompanying infrastructure) on a former shipyard because the town had no yacht clubs or sailing centers.

Qingdao was an unusual choice for a sailing center because the winds are generally light and capricious. The seas are sometimes so calm algae grows in the stagnant waters. Before the Olympics, Chinese fishing boats were hired to clear the algae with racks and buckets. Even so the algae sometimes got stuck in intake valves of the motor boats used by coaches during training and the media, causing the engine to overheat until the muck was removed by hand.

In some cases during the Olympics, racers waited excruciatingly long periods to race in light winds that barely lifted their sails. A surprisingly number of Chinese spectators turned out for the events but most of them didn't have a clue what was going on. With the slight winds and delays many weren't even sure whether a race was going on or not.

After the Olympics, the facilities — described as a “comprehensive sports center integrating tourism, sports and entertainment” — were turned into a marina, recreation and tourism center and sailing school for future Olympic sailors. During the Olympics facilities included a national sailing athlete training center, an Olympic village, an athlete center, a boat park, a news center, an international passenger liner wharf, an international conference center, a five-star international tourist hotel, an international yachting club, a seaside marina, parks and squares.

Beaches, Bays and Islands in Qingdao

Qingdao has several large and small bays, of which Huiquan Bay is the largest. Along Huiquan Bay are No. 1 Bathing Beach, a light and music fountain with beautiful scenery, wooden trestle roads, Luxun Park, Seabed World, a diving training base and Qingdao Aquarium, the oldest aquarium in China. Badaguan is nearby. Qingdao Bay is crescent shaped. It is pireced like an arrow by Zhao Bridge. No. 6 Beach west of the bridge and Zhan Bridge Park around the bridge invite visitors to enjoy the beauty of Qingdao Bay

Number One Bathing Beach (on Huiquan Bay) is 580 meters long and 40 meters wide, with nice sand. It embraces 380 meters wide sea area with shark-proof net and welcomes 200,000 tourists everyday in the peak season. "The gentle slope, the tiny grains of sand, the green water, the soft wave" are the four characteristics of the No. 1 Bathing Beach. According to the historic records, the first group of tourists came to No. 1 Bathing Beach in 1902. In 1903, it was set up as a resort, the first such resort in the Qingdao area. Facilities at the beach include lockers, entertainment facilities and a hotel. In 1984, the beach was “completely rebuilt” and expanded. Sometimes Number One Bathing Beach gets so crowded locals say it"like dumplings in a bowl."

Small Qingdao Island (southeast of Zhanqiao Bridge) is shaped like an ancient lute, and hence is also called Lute Island. Known in Chinese as Xiaoqingdao, the island has a little park, a few small cafes and a white lighthouse. It is a good area for a brief stroll, giving good views of the Huilangge Pavilion, the rusting submarine and destroyer of the Naval Museum, and, if the weather is right, the nearby Yellow Island (Huangdao). The island has many black pines and flowers such as oriental cherries, green peaches, pomegranates, and Sharon roses. Getting There: Take bus No. 6, 26, 304, 311, 312, and 316 to get there Admission: 15 yuan. Preferential Price for Group.

Admission: fee: 5 yuan; Hours Open: 7:00am to 7:00pm (peak season);

Near Qindao

Northeast of Qingdao there are a number of empty beaches that are used mostly by fishermen who have traditionally used wooden boats to catch cuttlefish, whelks, snails, slugs and a variety of crustaceans, which are displayed live in tanks and basins outside restaurants. Beyond Shi Laoren, or Old Man Mountain, the city gives way to the Laoshan mountains which reach the sea among boulder heaps, cliffs and gnarled pines that inspired classical poets and scroll painters.

Rahan in Shandong Province boasts a US$25 million theme park dedicated to gold. Situated near a mine it allows visitors to watch the mining and processing of gold and visitors can try their hand at being gold miners for a day. An hour drive from Qingdao is the Huadong Winery.

Weihai (230 kilometers northwest of Qingdao) is a city of almost 3 million people located at the eastern end of the Shandong Peninsula. Surrounded by water on three sides and formerly a British port, it was an important city in the second Sino-Japanese War. It faces the Korean Peninsula across the Bohai Sea and is the closest city spot to the Republic of Korea in China. Weihai covers an area of over 5,400 square kilometers and boasts nearly 1,000 kilometers of coast line, numerous harbors and islets, picturesque scenery and a pleasant climate. Weihai is among the first group of sanitary cities in China, and was named as the “model city in the improvement of civilian residences in the world” by the United Nations.

Yantai (175 kilometers northeast of Qingdao and 50 kilometers west of Weihai) is a coastal city of 2.3 million people that serves as an arrival point for some ferries from Dalian and South Korea. A former British trade center, it has some charming colonial building. Yantai Mountain is scenic and is home to colonial buildings that once served as consulates. Nearby are many wineries. Yantain was dubbed the “International Grape and Wine City” by the International Grape and Wine Bureau.

Chenyang Chateau is among the wineries that offers tasting tours. The ornate inner-city museum was originally the headquarters of Changyu, one of Yantai’s best-known wine producers. The museum covers local wine history and has pictures of leading figures throughout China's history, including Mao Zedong and Chou En Lai, enjoying a glass of Changyu. Web Sites: Travel China Guide Travel China Guide

Budget Accommodation: Check Lonely Planet books; Getting There: Yantai is accessible by air, bus and train. Travel China Guide (click transportation) Travel China Guide Lonely Planet Lonely Planet

Laoshan (Mount Lao)

Mount Laoshan (32 kilometers northeast of Qingdao) is the most popular day-trip destination from Qingdao and is regarded in China as being the most famous mountain facing the sea. Situated on the southeastern Shangdong Peninsula, facing the Yellow Sea, the mountain is known for its oddly shaped rocks, ancient trees, and crystal-clear springs. The entire mountain covers 446 square kilometers (44,600 hectares) and has 218 places of interest, both large and small. Its highest is 1,133 meters high.

Mount Laoshan is a famous Taoist mountain boasting both mountain and coastal scenery. From the top of the highest peaks are lovely views of the Yellow Sea. . Hiking along the stone-planked path on the mountainside next to the sea you will be impressed by both waves of the sea and pine trees and strange-shaped rocks on the shore. Legend has it that some 2,200 years ago, Emperor Qin, the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty (221-206 B.C.) came here hoping to meet immortals, and later Emperor Wudi of the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.- B.C. 220) tried to do the same thing.

The area around the mountain embraces a coastline of 87.3 kilometers (54.25 miles), including 13 bays and 18 islets. Mt. Laoshan is also for its clear mountain springs. Among the most famous of these are the Tianyi Spring on the mountaintop, the Shenshui (Immortal Water) Spring in the Taiqing Palace, and the Shengshuiyang (Ocean of Holy Water) Spring in the Shangqing Palace. People say the mineral water produced here can cure chronic diseases.

Travel Information : At Mt. Laoshan scenic resort, there are more than 40 hotels and restaurants of various levels of quality. Admission: : 70 yuan; 15 yuan to the Taiqing Palace; and 10 yuan each to the Shangqing Palace, the Mingxia Cave, and the Taiping Palace. Getting There: You can take tourist buses from Qingdao to Mt. Laoshan for one-day, two-day, or three-day trips. There are also public bus routes going directly to different places there. There includes Bus No. 104 from Taidong to Liuqing River, No. 110 from Taidong to Beijiushui, No. 301 from Tuandao to Shazikou, No. 304 from the Ferry Port to Yakou, No. 311 from Tuandao to Beijiushui, No. 312 from Tuandao to Yangkou, No. 106 from Licun to Yakou, No. 107 from Licun to Beijiushui, No. 112 from Licun to Daglaoguan, and No 113 from Licun to Liuqing River. Website: www.qdlaoshan.cn, Tel.+86-532-88898989

Temples at Laoshan

Laoshan (Mount Lao) National Park covers 300 square kilometer and has a dozen Taoist temples set among the pine trees and rocky peaks. When Taoism was at it peak in China, there were nine palaces, eight Taoist temples, and 72 nunneries that housed nearly 1,000 Taoist priests and nuns on the mountain. A famous coastal Taoist site, it is known as the “No.2 monastery of Quanzhen Tao Sect”, where many famous Taoists practiced Taoism. Since ancient times, the mountain has as the “home to immortals”. Among the Taoist sights on the mountain are Taiqing Palace, Shangqing Palace, Mingxia Cave, Taiping Palace and Hualou Palace.

The Western Memorial Temple for Guan Yu and Yue Fei in the Sanqing Palace is a must for visitors to Mt. Laoshan in part because it was the a residence of Pu Songling, a renowned novelist of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Many stories in his novel “Strange Tales from a Lonely Studio” have Mt. Laoshan as the backdrop. In front of the Sanguan Hall there is a 700-year-old camellia shrub. Among the largest camellias in the world, it is 8.5 meters tall, and its trunk is 1.78 meters around. When blooming in midwinter, its flowers look like a layer of deep-red snow covering its green leaves. There was originally a white peony that reached the hall's eaves. Pu Songling dwelled here during his late years, with the camellia and the peony as his neighbors. The two flowers turned into two pretty women who fell in love with a young literati in his fairy tale Xiangyu.

Taiqing Palace (southeast side of Laoshan facing the sea) the largest, oldest and most impressive of the temples on Laoshan. First built under the first Emperor of the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127) and rebuilt during the Ming Dynasty, the palace has a simple architectural style and is surrounded by numerous scenic spots. Altogether, the palace houses 140 rooms and halls including the famous Three God's Hall, Three Purities' Hall and Three Emperor's Hall. Every moonlight night, the water and the sky here blend into one, forming a breathtaking view.

In front of the Three Purities' Hall is a pool with clear blue water, which was named Shengshui Spring (Magical Spring) by the Taoists who lived in the Temple. It is said that the spring will never dry up. Embedded in a wall nearby are religious inscriptions on a tablet, which was written by Kublai Khan (the first Emperor of Yuan Dynasty) and the Jinhufuwen (Gold Tiger Magic Figures) issued by Genghis Khan.On a giant stone located to the east side of the Palace four big words are engraved,Bo Hai Can Tian (the waves reach to the sky), below which a famous line of small words reads,a visit here on the 28th year of the period of the first emperor of China. Among the places of interest near the Taiqing Palace are the Elm Shaped Like a Dragon's Head and the Stone Carvings on the Cliff.

Getting to Taiqing Palace: Take bus No. 304 (6:30am-5:00pm) from railway station (Zhanqiao); or take bus No. 106 (7:15am-4:20pm) from Li Village and get off at Yakou station, which is also named as Mt. Laoshan Taiqing Ropeway. Admission: 15 yuan; Taiqing Palace entrance fee: 15 yuan. Taiqing Ropeway Fee: 50 yuan for going up, and 40 yuan for going down.

Penglai Pavilion and the Mythical Peng Lai Islands

Penglai Pavilion (north of Penglai City, 70 kilometers northwest of Yantai) is situated on Danya Mountain by the sea. A key cultural relic under state protection, it is one of the four famous towers in China along with Yellow Crane Tower, Yueyang Tower and King Teng Pavilion. It is said that both the Emperor Qin Shi Huang of the Qin Dynasty (221-206 B.C.) and Emperor Wu of the Western Han Dynasty (206BC-AD24) paid visits here.

The Penglai Pavilion is situated on the northernmost part of the Shangdong Peninsula. Built in 1061 during the North Song Dynasty (960-1127), the pavilion is a two-story wooden pavilion with a double-eave roof. Inside the pavilion, there are inscriptions from famous ancient poets and calligraphers. It is associated with the legend of the Eight Immortals Crossing the Sea.

Peng Lai Islands are said to be residence of immortals. They are ghostly images that appear as a mirage every decade or so and have been captured on video tape. They are said to have buildings and people on them and last for about 40 minutes. The islands have been observed from Peng Lai Pavilion. old.

Penglai is a legendary land of Chinese mythology. According to the Classic of Mountains and Seas, the mountain is said to be on an island in the eastern end of Bohai Sea, along with four other islands where the immortals lived, called Fangzhang, Yíngzho, Daiyu and Yuanjiao. Various theories have been offered over the years as to the "real" location of these places, including Japan, Nam-Hae, Geo-Je, Jejudo south in Korea and Taiwan.

Penglai on Shandong is linked to the Peng Lai Island as departure point for those leaving for the island rather than the islands themselves. In Chinese mythology, Penglai mountain is either the base of the Eight Immortals, or at least a pace they travel to have a ceremonial meal. According to they myth everything on the mountain seems white, while its palaces are made from gold and platinum, and jewels grow on trees.

The scenic area of Penglai Pavilion is a complex of ancient buildings, palaces and temples, which also includes Sanqing Palace, Lvzu Palace, Tianhou Palace, Longwang (Dragon King) Palace and Mituo Si (Amitabha Temple), covering an area of 3.28 hectares.

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: CNTO (China National Tourist Organization), China.org, UNESCO, reports submitted to UNESCO, Wikipedia, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, China Daily, Xinhua, Global Times, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Compton's Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Updated in July 2020

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