I first heard of Qingdao, China when I got notification that the World Conference of Marine Biodiversity 2014 will be taking place here. I did not pay much attention then and only after I got confirmation that I will be presenting my PhD work, did I start researching further. China’s sailing city, Qingdao is a major port city in Shandong Province, Eastern China. Qīng (青) in Chinese means “green” or “lush”, while dǎo (岛) means “island”I never thought that my first time in China would be by the coast!
Three interesting and fun facts stood out immediately during my research on Qingdao –
Birthplace of the famous Tsingdao Beer first brewed in 1903. One can visit the Tsingtao Brewery Museum here to learn more about its history.
It has the world’s longest sea bridge, the Jiaozhou Bay Bridge
It has an interesting history of German colonialism and this is reflected on many of the architecture and design throughout the city. It was very interesting seeing this for myself!
I flew into Beijing and took a train to Qingdao which took 4.5 hours. The whole process was surprisingly easy to do. Trains leave few hours from Beijing South Station, costs 350 Yuan (£35) and the trains itself were very modern, clean and efficient. Left right on time and arrived on the dot when it was supposed to! Scenery was not that inspiring, all very flat, mostly crop fields…what little I saw while I was awake!
Arrived in Qingdao and dived straight into the Conference the next three days. I was staying at the Huanghai Hotel, got a room on the 20th floor with stunning sea views and greenery dotted with identical rooftops. I did not get to explore much during the time of the Conference, all the events, including our meals were at the hotel. The last night though, we had an amazing meal outside at this small dingy looking restaurant. Do let me know if you can read this Chinese name! Had the best Dim Sums, fried green beans (of some kind) , and noodles with clams. And of course drank lots of refreshingly light and tasty Tsingtao Beer 🙂 It was all very cheap!
I got to explore the city briefly one evening walking along the seafront, enjoying views and No 1 beach (they are all labelled) in the Huiquan Bay. I dipped my feet into the waters of the Yellow Sea but did not go for a swim. The beach was not anything out of the ordinary, quite similar to beaches we have in England. But it was clean, water was nice and I got a kick out of seeing all the harbour shops and signs in Chinese!
I got to explore the city further the day I was leaving for Beijing. I took a long walk along the Harbour seeing some of the main attractions of the city and visiting the Tianhou Temple (Free to get in).
Very modern and developed, several high rise buildings and hotels on the sea front, but all very spaced out and nicely planned. Very popular with local tourists visiting from inland China, Qingdao is a refreshing change from the crowded and bustling inner cities. I can imagine it must get overcrowded over the summer as people flock to the beaches. But this time in mid October, beaches were sparsely populated and I could enjoy the sea views and watching people enjoying pretty much the same activities as all people do by the beach – sunbathing, rockpooling, playing volleyball and swimming.
There were several interesting landmarks and monuments that one could explore around the harbour as well as further inside the city. Some of these include Little Qingdao , Governers House Museum, constructed in the style of a German palace, and St Michaels Cathedral built in Gothic and Roman style edifice. There are several lovely parks including Zhōngshān Park with its lakes and trees makes it very Europe like. But as interesting as the historical touches of Europe were, I didn’t travel all the way from Europe to see more of Europe! So I chose to visit the Tianhou Temple instead. It is a small restored temple dedicated to the patron of seafarers and has stood by the shore since 1467.
And finally I get to experience a little bit of what I had imagined China would be like 🙂
This temple was one of the travel highlights of my visit to Qingdao. Along with eating great food and seeing all the different kinds of seafood they had on display at the restaurants and on the streets! For more posts on my China trip, see here
A very interesting and unique start to my travels in China, I was finally starting to get over jetlag and now that the work was done, I can indulge in travel a lot more! Now onwards to Beijing and hiking the Great Wall of China 🙂
This post is written as part of #WeekendWanderlust hosted by several awesome Travel bloggers, this one is linked up by JustinplusLauren