Qingdao

Travel Guide Asia China Shandong Qingdao

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Introduction

Qingdao Skyline

Qingdao Skyline

© Ivory

Qingdao (青岛) is a port city in the northwestern province of Shandong in China. It is especially famous for its cobbled streets and partly Bavarian look, mixed with a new Chinese skyline due to it's German colonial history. Churches and European style houses dominate the city centre. Another important heritage from the Germans was beer. Qingdao is home to the famous Tsingtao (the old western name for this city) beer, where it is possible to tour the factory (and sample some beer). Anyone who has been in China long enough has drunk Tsingtao beer. The sailing events for the 2008 Beijing Olympics were held in this port city. Compared with other major Chinese cities it is comparibly cleaner and more beautiful.

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 1899, 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 27 August 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, and the Chinese government was going to accede. However, protests by students in Beijing during the May 4th Movement of 1919, eventually forced them to return the city to Chinese sovereignty. In 1937, 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.

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Neighbourhoods

Qingdao City lies on the east shore of Jiaozhou Bay (胶州湾; Jiāo​zhōu​wān​) and comprises three districts from south to north:

Shinan District (市南区; Shì​nán​qū​) - the downtown core that runs along the sea with most of the city's major hotels, attractions and beaches.
Shibei District (市北区; Shì​běi​qū​) - 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; Lǐ​cāng​qū​) - 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.

Four rural areas administratively part of Qingdao:

Jiaozhou City (胶州市; ) - west of downtown.
Jiaonan City (胶南市; ) - along the coast south of Huangdao District.
Pingdu City (平度市; ) - far northwest.
Laixi City (莱西市; ) - far northeast.

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Sights and Activities

Qingdao Church

Qingdao Church

© klin_tw

Beaches

Qingdao's beaches are probably the most famous in China (after Sanya on Hainan Island). Along its coast there is a long stretch of public beaches favoured by locals for their morning dip (even in winter).Clean and sandy with an opportunity to take a dip, it is worth visiting. There is also a path connecting the beaches offering pleasant seafront walks. During summer the beaches are very crowded.

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Events and Festivals

  • Qingdao International Beer Festival held in late August.

Qingdao celebrates the same festivals that are common throughout the rest of China, including:

  • Chinese New Year or Spring Festival.
  • Mid-Autumn Festival or Moon Festival.

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Weather

Qingdao lies on the border of the humid subtropical and humid continental climate. Qingdao's climate is monsoon-like, with cold and windy winters (December to February). Temperates can go as low as -3 °C on average during the night. Summer is generally hot and humid but cooled from the sea. It does not experience as high a summer as some parts of China, with temperatures mostly between 25 and 30 °C during the day from mid-June to mid-September. The hottest and best time to swim is in July and August, although cold weather does not stop the local population from taking a dip in very cold temperatures either. Precipitation averages around 700 mm a year, with half of that falling in July and August. October to May is fairly dry with occasional snow in winter.

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Getting There

By Plane

Flights from Liuting International Airport (TAO) go frequently to many Chinese cities, including Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai. There are also international services to Seoul, Osaka, Nagoya, Taipei, Tokyo and Fukuoka. It takes 30 minutes by taxi to reach the airport. Cheaper but longer bus rides are available as well.

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.

By Train

All trains from Qingdao go through Jinan, except the direct Qīngdao to Yantai and Weihai trains. There are two trains a day to Yantai (4 hours), several to Weihai (5 hours) and regular services to Jinan (5 hours). There are two express trains daily to Beijing (10 hours), and trains to Shanghai (15 hours), Tai’an (five hours) and Zhengzhou.

By Bus

There are buses departing for Weihai (every 20 minutes), Yantai (every 15 minutes) and Jinan (every 50 minutes), all of them from the early morning until late afternoon/early evening. There are also daily buses to Beijing (13 hours), Hangzhou (20 hours), Hefei, and Shanghai (18 hours, 2 departurers daily).

By Boat

Weidong travels between Incheon and Gunsun in South Korea and Qingdao, taking around 16 hours. There are also boats with Orient Ferry to Shimonoseki in Japan, taking around 36 hours. Boats to Dalian leave from Yantai or Weihai, which have frequent bus and train connections (see above).

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Getting Around

By Taxi

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.

By Public Transport

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.

By Foot

The coast is a lovely place to walk and there are paths hugging the coast line.

By Bike

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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Eat

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.

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), ☏ +86 532-85978868. 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.
Bifeng Tang (港记避风塘; Gǎngjì Bìfēngtáng), 158 Minjiang Rd (闽江路24号), ☏ +86 532-85776789. until 4AM. Hong Kong dim sum and seafood. About average of ¥50 per person.
Laoshan Pao Hotpot Restaurant (老山炮活鱼锅; Lǎoshānpàohuóyúguō), 20 Yunxiao Rd (云宵路20号), ☏ +86 532-85784444. Seafood as well. ¥50.
Tanyutou Hotpot Restaurant (谭鱼头火锅; Tányútóuhuǒguō), 14 Minjiang Rd (闽江路14号), ☏ +86 532-85839076. ¥50.
Haidao Seafood Restaurant (海岛渔村; Hǎidǎoyúcūn), 40 Yunxiao Rd, Shinan District (市南区云霄路40号; Shì​nán​qū​ Yún​xiāo​lù​), ☏ +86 532 85973058. ¥75-100.
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.

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Drink

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), ☏ +86 13589200466. 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.
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), ☏ +86 532 85935279. 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), ☏ +86 532 85932929. 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), ☏ +86 532 85969898. 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), ☏ +86 532 85725666. 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), ☏ +86 15853211877. 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), ☏ +86 532 85897919. 6PM-2AM. Very similar to Freeman, but not as big and a slightly weaker selection. ¥20 and up.
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.

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Sleep

Home Inn (Qingdao Yinchuan W Rd Branch) (如家快捷 (青岛银川西路店); Rú​jiā​kuài​jié​ (Qīng​dǎo​ Yín​chuān​xī​lù​diàn​)), 9 Yinchuan W Rd, Shinan District (市南区银川西路9号; Shì​nán​qū​ Yín​chuān​xī​lù​), ☏ +86 532 85779009, fax: +86 532 85772200. Tiny rooms. Listed rates for doubles from ¥179, breakfast ¥12. edit
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. edit
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. edit
Nordic Osheania (巢城青年旅舍), Guantao Lu 28/馆陶路28号, ☏ +86 532-82825198. 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.
Aegean Sea Boutique Hotel (青岛爱情海精品酒店; Qīng​dǎo​ Ài​qíng​hǎi​jīng​pǐn​ Jiǔ​diàn​), 212 Yan'an Third Rd, Shinan District (市南区延安三路212号; Shì​nán​qū​ Yán​'ān​sān​lù​). Three star hotel with small rooms. Listed rates for doubles from ¥858, discounted from ¥219.
Sifang Hotel (青岛四方大酒店; Qīng​dǎo​ Sì​fāng​ Dà​jiǔ​diàn​), 1 Wenzhou Rd, Sifang District (四方区温州路1号; Sì​fāng​qū​ Wēn​zhōu​lù​), ☏ +86 532 83717888, fax: +86 532 83717577, ✉ qdsifanghotel@163.com. Centrally located simple three-star hotel. Listed rates for doubles from ¥360, discounted from ¥158.
TOP YiHe International Serviced Apartments, 10 Xianggang Middle Rd, ☏ +86 532 8866 4432. 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, ☏ +86 532 85718888, fax: +86 532 85716666. 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.
Grand Regency Hotel Qingdao, 110 XiangGang Middle Rd, ☏ +86 532 85881818, fax: +86 532 85881888. 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, ☏ +86 532 88966969 ext 8000, fax: +86 532 66717399. 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, ☏ +86 532 85875777. Offers excellent ocean side view, spa, tennis, KTV, bar, and close to shopping centres.
ZhanQiao Hotel, 31 TaiPing Rd, ☏ +86 532 82888666. 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, ☏ +86 532 85721688. 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.

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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Work

There are plenty of opportunities to teach English in schools and universities.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Wangba (联网) means internet bar in Chinese. Almost every town will have an internet bar or gaming center. The best way to spot an internet bar is to look for the 网(ba) character, which means net, and large digitized images of computer game characters. Often, there will be a sign saying Green Power in English at the entrance. Most gaming centers cost about RMB3 an hour. You prepay at the main desk and are then given a plastic card or a piece of paper. Once you are done you return the card or piece of paper and get reimbursed for the money you didn't spend. Be prepared for a place that might be dingy, basic and messy. Internet bars in China tend to get crowded starting in the late afternoon to the late evenings.

Some hotels provide access from the rooms that may or may not be free; others may provide a wireless service or a few desktops in the lounge area.
Also, quite a few cafes provide free wireless Internet service. Some cafes, even provide a machine for customer use.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to China is 86. To make an international call from China, the code is 00.

When making international phone calls it is best to buy an IP card. They typically have a value of ¥100 but sometimes can be had for as little as ¥25. The cards have printed Chinese instructions, but after dialing the number listed on the card English-spoken instructions are available. As a general indication of price, a call from China to Europe lasts around 22 minutes with a ¥100 card. Calls to the U.S. and Canada are advertised to be another 20% cheaper. There is no warning before the card runs out of minutes.

If you already have a GSM 900/1800 cellphone, you can roam onto Chinese networks, but calls will be very expensive (¥12-35/minute is typical). If you're staying for more than a few days, it will usually be cheaper to buy a prepaid Chinese SIM card; this gives you a Chinese phone number with a certain amount of money preloaded. Chinese tend to avoid phone numbers with the bad-luck digit '4', and vendors will often be happy to offload these "unsellable" SIM-cards to foreigners at a discount. If you need a phone as well, prices start around ¥100/200 used/new. Chinese phones, unlike those sold in many Western countries, are never "locked" and will work with any SIM card you put in them. China's two big operators are China Mobile and China Unicom. Most SIMs sold by the two work nationwide, with Unicom allowing Hong Kong/Macau/Taiwan usage as well. There is usually a surcharge of about ¥1/min when roaming outside the province you bought the SIM, and there are some cards that work only in a single province, so check when buying.

Post

China Post (中国邮政) is the official postal service of the People's Republic of China, operated by the State Postal Bureau of the People's Republic of China (website in Chinese only), and has more details about price to send letters, postcards and parcels, both domestically as well as internationally. The Chinese postal service is very good. Remember that in more remote places usually only one post office in a city can handle sending international boxes or letters. Also many times it might be worth having the name of the country you are trying to send to in Chinese characters, because small town people might not know what Estonia is in English. Post offices have a striking green logo and can easily be found everywhere in the cities. They are mostly open every day (including weekends!) from 8:00am to 6:00pm, though small offices might have shorter opening times, while the bigger ones in central and touristic areas are sometimes open during evenings as well.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 36.1079328
  • Longitude: 120.4159606

Accommodation in Qingdao

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This is version 27. Last edited at 11:28 on Jan 15, 20 by Utrecht. 20 articles link to this page.

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