Qingdao, an old port city situated on the Southern coast of Shandong, is a quaint and popular spot for travelers and sun seekers alike. At first sight the city seems almost a small town, a quick stroll around the railway area, close to the Old German Concession and the seafront, can be a deceptive image of the city proper, a deception that thankfully tends to stick with most of her visitors. With a total area of 10.645 square km and a total population of 6.95 million (2.27 million in the urban district), Qingdao is in fact one of China's most important economic cities and is the nation's fourth largest port.
Main attractions in Qingdao
There are altogether 6 beaches in the Qingdao area and almost all are worth a visit (for varying reasons.) The No.1 Beach (diyi yuchang) is perhaps the best of the lot, although it is often packed out. It is the longest of the beaches, around 580 meters long, and, like most of the others, covered in fine yellow sand. The beach has some interesting features: a view of the distant Huiquan cape, with the waves lapping its red reefs, the nearby Luxun park, with its shade-providing pines and cypresses, and its weird, round changing huts. For the more claustrophobic, No.2 (Dier yuchang) and No.3 (Disan yuchang) Beaches are probably a safer option; they are smaller, but less crowded. The No.3 beach, especially, has charm, with kite fliers and lovers scattered about. At the eastern end of the beach, on the hill, is the Huashi Lou, a former German governor's residence built in 1905, with fantastic architecture and decent views of the surrounding area. The No. 6 Beach (Diliu yuchang), despite its popularity, is not really worth visiting for its beauty. It is mainly rockpools and dirty grayish sand. In the early morning the beach is filled with a profusion of tai ji practitioners, 70s tracksuit wearing joggers and fishermen. The walkway (Zhan qiao) and attached Huilan Pavilion (Huilange), the symbol of Qingdao (and its beer), are essential tourist destinations, although often packed with touts, vendors and visitors.
Small Qingdao Island
Located to the southeast of Zhanqiao Bridge, Xiaoqingdao Island is a pleasant little peninsular. Viewed from the sky, the island is shaped like an ancient lute, and hence is also called Lute Island. 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) nestling in mists. The island is dotted with black pines and flowers such as oriental cherries, green peaches, pomegranates, and roses of Sharon.
Anyone who has been to Qingdao, or checked her beer labels, will not fail to recall Zhanqiao Pier (zhanqiao), the symbol of the city. This is an obvious destination for anyone wishing to complete their Qingdao experience. The views from here contrast sharply with the towering modern buildings looking down upon the old German Concession area, with its church peaks and parks, and with its red clay tiles interrupted by dark green pines. At full tide, the billowy surf rolls against the beach, the breakers sending up a fountain of spray. With the ebbing of the tide, appear the brown reefs and yellowish sand, a time for tourists and locals to gather conches and other seashells.
No.2 Bathing Beach
It is near the Badaguan villa region, smaller than the No.1 water world. In summer it is opened only for the staff as a bathroom. However, in the other season people can relax themselves with the water visiting here. Our great leader Chairman Mao and Deng Xiao ping once swam here. Nowadays here is the good place for holding the wedding ceremony and taking the wedding photos of the exterior sights.
Located in East Donghai road of the east new region, Sea Park consists of 2 parts, which are ocean entertainment city and dolphin showing room. It is established in 1996, and is the biggest one in China. You can enjoy a lot of exciting and interesting programmes here. And now the dolphin show room is one of the most advanced group in Asian and a unique palace where dolphins live and give wonderful performance.
Climate in Qingdao
Qingdao enjoys a temperate, semi-humid climate. The best time for travelers is from June to September, when the temperature stays between 20 and 28 degrees C. In late August, in particular, the seawater is warm, the prime time for swimming and sunbathing on the coast (and participating in the Beer Festival, August 12-16). Out of peak season, the city can get a little windy so bring a coat, although at such times the crowds will be much diminished and you get the chance to smile at the Y-fronted old men daring the brisk water!!