Qingdao (青岛) also known as Tsingtao, is regarded by some Chinese as one of the most beautiful and clean cities in China. It is the largest city in Shandong Province. The name Qingdao means The Blue/Green Island. In 2008, Qingdao was named China’s 7th-most livable city.

Qingdao Map

Qingdao 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 on 6 March 1889, for a 99 year lease. The Germans acquired it as a relatively unimportant town of about 1,000 inhabitants. Yet by 1902, it had grown to 668 Caucasians and 15,000 Chinese.

Qingdao Beer Festival DrinkingIn 1903, the world famous Tsingtao brewery was established by homesick Germans. Every August since then, the Qingdao Beer Festival is a highlight.   Japan occupied it on 27 August 1914, as part of World War I. The Japanese took the city since at the time, they were allied with the British. After the war, student protests in 1919, forced Japan to return the city to Chinese soverignity. During the World War II, the Japanese retook Qingdao as they captured most of the rest of northern China.

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 2008, Qingdao hosted the sailing events of the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Qingdao’s early summer is quite an enjoyable season, although it can be humid near sea shore. Late summer can become hot, while other places of Northern China start to feel cooler. The climate in winter can be harsh but snow patches can generally last no longer than a few days. Qingdao is an ideal destination if you want to combine sea-side fun with your trip to China.

Qingdao Harbor

Sightseeing

  • Bathing Beaches.
    Beach No. 1 ( 第一海水浴场) is packed with equipment rentals and amusements of all kinds, is 800 meters long and draws unbelievable crowds during the summer months. Although surrounded by restaurants and hotels, Zhongshan Park (中山公园), Huiquan Cinemas (汇泉影城), and Small Fish Hill (小鱼山) are all within walking distance.
    Beach No. 2 (第二海水浴场) tucked away in Badaguan (八大关), occupies a small cove along the Qingdao Seaside Sightseeing Pathway. This scenic area was popular with political figures such as Chairman Mao and other central government officials. Huashi Villa (花石楼) and Zhongshan Park (中山公园) are within walking distance.
    Beach No. 3 (第三海水浴场) also called Zhanshan Beach (湛山湾), is 400 meters long and located at the eastern end of Taiping Cape (太平角) in Badaguan (八大关). Facilities include: restrooms and warm showers (10 RMB) as well as Kiosks that sell cold drinks, snacks, bathing suits, and sand-sculpting kits. Parralell to the beach is TaiPingJiao Yi Lu which has a few quaint restaurants and cafés with ocean-views.
    Beach No. 6 (第六海水浴场) also called Zhanqiao Bathing Beach, is located in old town near the Shinan District Train Station. Zhanqiao Pier (栈桥) is located at the eastern end of this short strech of sand. Tianhou palace (天后宫), formerly known as Tianfei Temple (天妃宫), is within walking distance.
    Shi Lao Ren(石老人)(translates as Old Stone Man) is the most impressive beach. It was named after shape of the prominent rock outcropping located just of the Shi Lao Ren peninsula and is said to resemble an old fisherman waiting for his daughter to return from beneath the waves. With tables, chairs, tents, ATVs, speed boats, jet skis, showers, and a boardwalk.
  • Zhan Qiao Pier (栈桥). The pier is the iconic symbol of Qingdao and is in the logo of the Tsingtao Beer. Built by Germans during the German concession, it is a popular tourist station.
  • Tsingtao Brewery (青岛啤酒博物馆), is China’s oldest brewery (1903), and has some interesting exhibits and the bottling plant is fascinating. Inside the brewery you will see the history of the brewery and how beer was made in the late 19th and 20th century. Of course the free samples of beer are likely to persuade you this place is worth a visit.