Home to the local brew Tsingtao and the host to the largest beer festival in Asia, Qingdao also boasts a number of historical and cultural attractions. Our 3-day suggested itinerary is designed to show you the best the city has to offer and what are the things you can accomplish. Depending on your interests and travel priorities, you can certainly mix and match destinations, activities, and attractions to create your own itinerary. Experience the best of Chinese beer culture in the city of Qingdao!
Things to know before traveling to Qingdao, China:
Language – Standard Chinese and Mandarin Chinese are the official languages of China. In Qingdao, people speak Qingdaohua (Qingdao dialect). Although they have their own distinct language, all people in the city can speak Standard Chinese and Mandarin Chinese. Learning the language is not necessary, but speaking at least some Chinese phrases or attempting to learn is greatly appreciated by locals. It’s also good to know that many people can speak a decent level of English.
Currency exchange – Chinese Yuan (also known as Renminbi) is the official currency of China. Exchanging money is easy and follows the same standard to elsewhere in Asia. You can exchange currency at the airport, hotels, malls, local banks, and money changers throughout Qingdao. ATMs are plentiful, and most of them accepting international credit cards and debit cards, so it’s easy to withdraw your money in CNY. Credits cards are commonly accepted in most mid-range to high-end restaurants and hotels.
Getting there – Qingdao is located in the eastern Shandong province of China. Traveling by air is possible via the Liuting International Airport, which is connected to most major and some smaller cities in China, and some international destinations Busan, Los Angeles, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, London, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, Singapore, Taipei, and Tokyo. By train, you can travel to Qingdao Railway Station or North Railway Station, which is one of the major stops on Beijing-Shanghai-Xian High Speed Railway.
Getting around – Getting around in China is very easy thanks to its comprehensive road system and the subway system. In Qingdao, taking the subway (Metro) is the most convenient and reliable way to get to your destinations. Before your trip, make sure to download a map of Metro/China Railways on your smart phone or secure a paper copy. You may also take a bus, taxi or ferryboat to get around the city and other popular side trip destinations like Huangdao, Zhucha Island and Xuejia Island. Because of the city’s hilly topography, getting around by bike or motorcycle might be a little challenging.
Where to stay – There are many types of holiday accommodation in China from luxury hotels to cheaper accommodation like youth hostels and bed and breakfast. In Qingdao, most hotels/hostels options are located in Shinan District (also known as the downtown), which provide easy access to most attractions, shopping and dining options as well as the Qingdao Railway Station.
Hotels to consider in Qingdao:
Day by day itinerary: 3 days in Qingdao, China
On your first day, enjoy breakfast and experience “Cradle of Shandong Cuisine” at one of the open-air seafood restaurant overlooking Shandong coast. After breakfast, dive deeper into local culture by visiting the Qingdao Beer Museum, built by Tsingtao Beer Brewery. A tour in this museum will give visitors insights into China’s beer culture, specifically those that concern the century-old Tsingtao Beer. Taking a guided tour is a great way to learn more about the beer and how it is created.
In the afternoon, make your to the Badaguan Scenic Area, an urban park located near the coastline of eastern Qingdaon. One of the most laid-back attractions in the city, the park is an urban oasis of well-kept gardens, foreign-style villas and lovely ponds. It’s a great place to people watch as the park is famous among locals and foreign visitors.
TaiDong Night Market is probably the easiest and most enjoyable way to get acquainted with the local life in Qingdao. In the evening of day 1, check out the with a huge array of seafood, snacks, Chinese noodles, clothing, among others. While bargaining your way through the crowds, make sure to grab some seafood, which they would grill on the spot for you.
Your adventure in Mount Laoshan starts today. Wake up to a delicious breakfast on your private room. After breakfast, make your way to the bus station and board the bus or hire a taxi going to Mount Laoshan in Laoshan District. Some of the notable historical attractions in the mountain include Temple of Supreme Purity, Jufeng Peak, Temple of Great Purity, Longtan Waterfall and Temple of Supreme Peace.
Known as the Cradle of Taoism in China, Mount Laoshan is one of the oldest mountain ranges and one of the most celebrated mountains in the country. Known for its uniquely shaped rock formations and peaks, Taoist Temples, and sea of clouds, the mountain housed more than 50 Taoist temples and thousands of Taoist Priests in its hey day. Royals, painters, poets, artists and hermits travel to the mountain during the ancient times because it is said to be home to the elixir of immortality according to legends.
Start off your day with breakfast at one of the breakfast and brunch spots in Qingdao. After breakfast, it’s time to hit the sun and bask in the laid-back beach of Qingdao Number One Bathing Beach, also known as Huiquan Bathing Place. With an outstanding view of Huiquan Bay, this beach provides great swimming, snorkeling and beach experience. It has all the necessary facilities like comfort room, tourist huts, restaurants, eating and dining facilities which will surely give you a fantastic beach holiday. If you want a lesser popular beach, then go to Golden Sand Beach instead.
Have you been to Qingdao or anywhere else in China? Do you have any tips or suggestions to share? If so, you can leave your comments below.
Featured image: Taidong walking street, the most famous shopping street of Qingdao, China. This street is also famous for the mural paintings on buildings (giusparta / Bigstockphoto)