Qingdao is a large coastal city of 9.4 million people in northern China. Modern, trendy, yet extremely dedicated to preserving its past, Qingdao is a mix of shining contemporary skyscrapers and Euro style villas, hotels, and storefronts.
Easy to get to, Qingdao’s airport enjoys direct flights to Japan, Korea, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London, Mosco, Madrid, Sydney, Melbourne, and Vancouver and is only four hours by train from Beijing. Princess Cruise has even added Qingdao as one of its ports of call.
Qingdao enjoys pleasant coastal weather and fine sandy beaches. There are six beaches downtown with excellent facilities. Qingdao is also a historical city with a unique colonial past. Human inhabitants date back to the Neolithic age over 4,000 years ago. It was part of Qi Kingdom at about 500 BC. The Port of Liangya was one of the top five ports in China back then. It is from here that China’s founding Emperor Qin dispatched Xufu to Japan and Korea to seek a medicine for eternal beauty. Emperor of Wu of Han Dynasty (156-87 BC) had set foot here to worship heaven and his ancestors. Throughout Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties, Mt. Lao gave birth to the Quanzhen sect of the Daoist school of thought. Qingdao assumed its current name in 1572 and became an important port of entry to handle merchant transport from southern China to Beijing.
In 1897, Germans knocked the port open and began its colonial rule. Japan invaded Qingdao in 1914 during WWI. It was during this period of time that the city underwent fundamental changes. Qingdao has seen a proliferation of commercial manufacturing and trade, of banking systems being setup and commercial and residential real estate expansion. Qingdao was poised to become a major city in East Asia at the expense of China’s sovereignty, which enraged the people and led to the the May 4th Movement. Qingdao regained its sovereignty in 1922 but lost it to Japan again in 1937 during WWII. It was in 1945 that Qingdao was returned to China. After nearly 50 years of colonial rule, Chinese homes were now alongside German architecture. In this Beijing-meets-Berlin city, you can walk down certain streets and think you are in Europe!
Qingdao tops the list of the 10 fastest growing Chinese cities and is poised to become a true industrial giant. The city produces Haier Refrigerators and Hisense TVs, as the city invests heavily overseas. China’s high-speed trains are made in Qingdao. Their Boston factory will supply regional railcars for Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago, USA.
An area of eight streets, each named after military forts of ancient times, the 300 houses here feature a stunning mix of western architectural styles including German, British, American, French, Spanish, and Greek. Be sure to visit Hua Shi Lou (Flower Stone Building), built by a Russian businessman in 1930. A famous building used by many dignitaries and pivotal in important government events, from here you can also enjoy a magnificent view of City Beach No.2 and Zhanqiao Pier.
A masterpiece of Christian architectural art featuring Gothic and Romanesque Revival architectural styles. It was designed by a German architect.
Walk through more than 110 years worth of beer-making history, all set on the former site of a Tsingtao brewery. See historic gigantic oak barrels and enjoy a delicious beer tasting.
The main landmark of Qingdao. Built in 1892 in late Qing Dynasty, it is eight meters wide and 440 meters long. Be sure to head down for the perfect sunset view.
Built by the Chinese Navy and the only museum of China that exhibits retired Chinese vessels. Please allow at least one hour for your visit.
This beautiful coastal city offers many surprises; and the most delightful is the architecture. Here you instantly feel as though you have mistakenly entered into Switzerland but then you turn down the next street and you are back in China. The best time to travel to Qingdao is April through November.
Beer Street is a 990-meter long street on Dengzhou road. It is a century old block dotted with beer stores with 89 business and 57 restaurants.
An indoor shopping and entertainment mall much like Venetian Casinos in Las Vegas.
The Tsingtao Beer Museum is a city icon that you should not miss. Originally founded by the Germans in 1903, the Tsingtao Brewery is now China’s second largest brewery. You will be able to see the original office and brewery facilities that date back to its first year of operation. You can see some productions on weekdays. For your convenience, the municipal beer street is connected with a rear entrance to the museum.
Qingdao hosted the sailing event at 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The pier for the event has been preserved for tourists and is now a yacht club. Photographers go there to get the best shot of the modern city skyscrapers. Since 2008, Qingdao continues to host international and China’s sailing events.
Mt. Lao is to the northeast of Qingdao and is the 3rd highest mountain in Shandong. Known as original birthplace of Quanzhen and the second largest sect of Taoism, the mountain houses the Taiqing Temple have housed 1,000 Taoist priests. Driving the winding and narrow mountain road is a thrilling experience.
The beauty of Qingdao lies in its mix of new and old, western and Chinese architecture. Qingdao Seaman Club is one of few best representations of the architectural history in Qingdao. This was designed in 1899 and began construction in 1901. A year later, this Neo-Renaissance German style building was opened as a hotel for seamen with a huge auditorium now as a venue for entertainment and libations. The club was built by Germans and later changed hands to the Japanese, during Japan’s occupation. After Japan’s defeat at the end of WWII, it was used by U.S. Marines. The Club now operates as the Qingdao Museum of Cinematography.
From 2nd weekend of August to the end of 1st weekend of September.
Just like the CES (Consumer Electronic Show) held in Las Vegas every November, Qingdao has their own CES – the largest in China. Manufacturers all over China gather and reveal their ideas and products for the upcoming year. It is usually held every first weekend of June/July.
The Cherry Blossom Festival usually takes place in April – May in Zhongshan Park. In 1988, the Germans invaded Qingdao; and thereafter in 1902 to 1905, they wiped out entire villages and converted them to testing facilities. The Germans had imported around 23,000 trees and planted them in the 40,000 sq foot garden. As of today, there are 20,000 trees in total at the park. There is a path-road in the park called Cherry Road which one of the top 10 places to visit in Qingdao. This is the famous spot to be at when the cherries blossom.
Qingdao beer is the most famous beer brand in China. Made with fine materials, the beer is meticulously brewed using the most high-tech processes. Its white and fine foams and gentle, refreshing taste has earned worldwide recognition. It has won seven gold medals and was the champion at the US International Wine Appraisal Meeting three times.
Tea from Mt. Lao is a local favorite and ranked 2nd in the world. Qingdao and Rizhao are not very far from each other, which is why the teas from these places are very similar.
This local favorite is almost 70% alcohol and packed in small bottles. Cases of 8 are sold for $100.
This is a local farmer’s favorite drink, but also very popular among woman. It is one of the top 10 rice wines in China.
Here are just a few choices: SanheyyuanDa Niang Dumplings, Old Hong Kong Restaurant, Bifeng Tang, Laoshan Pao Hotpot Restaurant, Tanyotou Hotpot Restaurant, Minsu Korean Restaurant, Xiaobenjia Korean Restaurant, Shanglinyuan Restaurant, Yumatou Seafood Restaurant, Heavenly Palace, Old Mama Restaurant, Lao Chuancai Haidao Seafood Restaurant, and Zijing Shandong Restaurant.
At 7th Street – A western style bar, you’ll find a DJ willing to take requests most nights of the week. Le Bang – A French expat bar is well known for its Fri-Sat ￥50 all-you-can-drink happy hour from 10PM-11PM. Feelings Club is a large techno dance club, popular with the locals. The hydraulic dance floor keeps everyone coming back for more. Club New York is a western style bar with a live band, where foreigners are known to get drinks half-price. Beer Mama’s Street Keg Stall – Owned by a popular Chinese woman, this is a great spot to grab cheap beer. The best part is that she serves your draft in a plastic bag with a straw. Don’t miss this unique experience!
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High-speed train from Beijing in 4 hours
Small Qingdao Island is a perfect setting for a morning stroll through a fragrant park rich with oriental cherries, green peaches, pomegranates and roses of Sharon. Relax at one of the small cafes before touring the white lighthouse for a view of the Huilangge Pavillion, the rusting submarine and destroyer of the Naval Museum and, if the weather is right, tour the nearby Yellow Island (Huangdao) nestled in mists.
After your view of the Yellow Sea, find out what treasures lay below the surface. The Aquarium is located in Lu Xun Park on Laiyang Road. The exhibition halls on both sides of the first floor have 16 picture windows, through which visitors can see the colorful sea bottom and various kinds of fish swimming in their natural habitat.
Shandong cuisine, more commonly known in Chinese as Lu cuisine, is one the Eight Culinary Traditions of Chinese cuisine and is also ranked among the Four Great Traditions
The most famous snack streets are Yuxiao Road and Dengzhou Road, where you can experience a variety of small dishes (snacks) while taking in the exciting atmosphere along the way.
The base of Mt. Lao is located only 19 miles from downtown. Your ascent offers soaring peaks, green pines, cypress trees, hanging waterfalls and crystal streams. The Mt. is known as the home to immortals, a place where Taoist rites are preformed and the location of the monastery of Quanzhen Tao Sect. There are several sacred sites on Mt. Lao Taiqing Palace (the location of the two ancient cypress trees – where it is said that parts of the tree’s trunk will bring instant luck for those seeking money), Shanging Palace, Mingxia Cave, Taiping Palace and Hualou Palace.
Relax and enjoy the entertainment during the evening. This tea house was built in 1467 during the Ming dynasty and embodies Chinese history and tradition. Enjoy sipping your tea on the second floor while watching live entertainment that varies from traditional opera and folk music to dancers and acrobats. The first floor shop features jade articles, finely detailed tea sets, and calligraphy kits complete with brushes, paper, and ink.
Note: This store is highly recommended for tourists in search of authentic Chinese souvenirs.
Located on Qingdao Road, this building is the site where the German Governor handled official affairs. Built in stone, the solid and solemn residence has red tiles, reflecting the architectural style of 19th-century European architecture.
Tai Dong is a bustling pedestrian shopping district teeming with many restaurants, cafes, cinemas, large malls, and small shops selling a variety of items: clothes, jewelry, leather goods, shoes, The sophisticated shopper will be thrilled with all the opportunities to purchase Chinese-made products.
Experience the long and rich history of Tsingtao beer and observe the beer production techniques and machinery in China’s first and oldest brewery. You can also try different varieties of Tsingtao beer or drink beer that’s fresh off the production line. At the end of the tour is the “drunken room” where even if you did not indulge, you will feel like you did!
After the museum tour, you can walk east along the main road (Deng Zhou Road) to experience the array of bars and restaurants that make up Qingdao’s famed “Beer Street”.
The International Beer Festival is held in autumn every year since 1992.
International Bar Cultural Festival held annually in December since 1998.
Take in the sunset at the Zhan Qiao Pier. Built in 1891, this pier and iconic octagonal pavilion are recognized all over the world on bottles of Tsingtao beer. It is an easy walk from the downtown area and offers romantic views of the city and the sea.
This full day excursion takes you to the #1 beach in all of China. Spend the morning sun bathing, swimming or renting a sailboat (equipment rentals available). When you have had your fill of the sun, head to the nearby Lu Xun Park, a charming park combining both enchanting natural scenery, and sites of cultural interest. Or visit the Navy Museum located at No.8, Laiyang Road, west of the famous Lu Xun Park and facing the Zhan Bridge across the sea. The museum contains a collection of documents, photographs, and precious relics from different periods, and a fully narrated history of the achievements of the Chinese navy.
Visit this beautiful shoreline neighborhood lined with trees and many different types of flowers. The area is dotted with many classical French, German, Russian, Dutch and English style villas which were built when Qingdao was a German colony. Located at the south end of the scenic area, near the beach, is one of the more well-known villas, called Hua Shi Lou, a stone-built Russian residence.