The OTR blog continues to be a growing community of ideas, tips, thoughts and even posts from other intrepid travelers who have seen parts of the world we haven’t…or have seen the world in a way we haven’t. This month, we are lucky to feature an amazing profile of Qingdao, a coastal town in eastern China that is famous for Tsingtao beer and was used for water sports during the Beijing Olympics. Our friend and fellow blogger Ryan Gibson of the site Asiarooms.com gives us the low-down on this city by the sea. If you have stories or tips to submit, hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. We would love to hear from you!
Why Qingdao is Becoming a Top Travel Destination
It’s easy to see why this charming city has won the hearts of travelers. Qingdao is a large city located in Eastern China, in the Eastern Shandong province. It was one of the Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice winners in 2012. ‘Qing’ means lush or green in Chinese, giving the city a name with a well suited meaning. Qingdao is also famous for its Tsingtao beer and many people go there to drink the local beer and visit Tsingtao Brewery.
Jiaozhou Bay, Qingdao, Yellow Sea / Photo credit: Allen Wang
The city is notoriously fresh and clean and its beaches are surrounded by beautiful scenery and calm seas. Qingdao is dynamic in that the locals know how to have a good time if you want to have a lively holiday, but it’s also quite a calm and scenic place perfect for those who simply want to relax. There are lots of pretty gardens, sculptures and parks to escape to. The city also has some quite fascinating architecture and European influence in its design. You can also catch a glimpse of the longest sea bridge in the world, the Qingdao Haiwan Bridge.
Qingdao skyline by Night / Photo Credit: Thomas Fischler
Qingdao is actually a German coastal town with lots of Catholic churches, German villas and traditional cobbled streets. This quirky destination has so much to offer, it’s a particularly good choice for those who want to experience something unique on their next holiday. Read on to discover why Qingdao is becoming a top travel destination.
Hosted Sailing Events at The 2008 Beijing Olympics
One of the reasons why Qingdao has become more popular in recent years is because the Olympic sailing event was held there in 2008. This helped to raise the town’s profile and win lots of visitors over. You can take a stroll around the Olympic Sailing Centre–it’s the perfect place to sit down and watch the world go by and take in the scenery by the boats. The centre is quite large so cycling can be a nice way to get around. If you fancy a spot of shopping there is a major shopping centre nearby. The international flags and impressive boats create a nice setting to take some pictures.
A Totally Unique German Coastal Town in China
The city used to be a colony of Japan and Germany for around 30 years at the beginning of the 20th century, so it has a few international influences in its design. It has even been described as the “Switzerland of the Orient” because of its distinctive European appearance.
The architecture is a mix of German and Chinese; you are unlikely to see such a place anywhere else in the world. Qingdao is home to a lot of Korean expatriates who have also made their mark on this fascinating city. You can get lost in the old city and think you are in a quaint German village, and then look up to the skyline and spot the modern skyscrapers that emerged in the 1980s. The German influence is still clearly visible today as local people really take pride in their old town, the charming houses and buildings with red roofs keep the spirit of the old town alive.
Everyone Loves a Town Famous For Its Beer
The World Famous Tsingtao Brewery / Photo Credit: Ivan Walsh
Who doesn’t want to go to a town known mainly for its mouth-watering beer? Qingdao is probably best known around the world for its beer culture. Its famous brewery, Tsingtao Brewery was created back in 1903 and not only is it a huge favorite with the locals, it’s probably China’s best known exported beer. If you want to find out more about the beer’s rich history and interesting origins then head to Tsingtao Brewery Museum. The museum was established in 2003 and takes you through the history of the Tsingtao beer from 1903 to today. Beer Street, which is close by, is also worth a visit as it has a wide range of different places to enjoy local food and drink and you can really get stuck into the local culture.
A Reputation for Tasty Fresh Local Fish and Beautiful Beaches
Seafood lovers will really appreciate the quality fish dishes in Qingdao. The city specializes in seafood and offers a wide range of different cuisines such as Cantonese and Chinese. If you like all kinds of fish then you can try scallops, prawns and even sea cucumber as well as a wide range of other locally caught fish. Some local dishes include Sanxian Zhengjiao, which is steamed dumplings stuffed with shredded shrimp, pork and Chinese leek and Yingzhou Bayu Xiaochi: Spanish mackerel cooked Yingzhou Style.
After you have toured the city, tasted the beer and sampled the local fish you can sit back and relax on one of the picturesque beaches. There are a few different beaches to choose from as the coastline is over 730 kilometres long with 49 bays. No. 1 Bathing Beach is the biggest bathing beach in Asia at 40 metres wide. The scenery surrounding the beaches is pretty as some overlook the hills and mountains.
Beach culture in Qingdao / Photo credit: Elizabeth Plummer
About the Author:
Ryan is the resident blogger at AsiaRooms. When Ryan is not working he spends his time traveling the globe, drawing on his travel experience and passion for travel to spread the good word. Ryan is also a social monkey and can be found lounging around on Twitter & Google+ and loves to interact with other travel bloggers. Follow him at @travelgurugibbo.
Fellow blogger and friend of OTR, Ryan Gibson