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Qingdao, also spelled Tsingtao (青岛; Qīngdǎo), is one of the most beautiful and clean cities in the People's Republic of China and with a population of around 2.5 million (7 million regional) is the largest city after Jinan (the capital) in Shandong Province. The name "Qingdao" means "The Green Island".
Qingdao is a city steeped in China's 20th century history. Qingdao was taken as part of the an Imperial German concession of Jiaozhou Bay. Despite ongoing discussions with Chinese authorities about giving the Germans territory, on the 7th of November 1897, they landed troops. Their pretext was the murder of two missionaries on the 1st of November of that year.
The concession treaty was signed on March 6, 1889, for a 99 year lease. However, Japan occupied it on August 27, 1914, as part of the First World War. The Germans acquired it as a relatively unimportant town of about 1000 inhabitants. Yet by 1902, it had grown to 668 Caucasians and 15000 Chinese. As of the most recent data available, the city has a population of 2.6 million.
During the colonial period, the Germans left a distinct mark on Qingdao's architecture that can still be seen today in its historic center and train station: although the latter has been mostly torn down for redevelopment, part of the original station has been preserved to be incorporated in the new design. 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 1903, the world-famous Tsingtao brewery was established by homesick Germans. The Japanese were ousted during the 1918 May 4th Movement but retook the city in 1938.
In 2008 Qingdao will play host to the sailing events of the 2008 Summer Olympics. Qingdao's climate ranges from very hot and humid in the summer to snowstorms in winter. Qingdao is the ideal destination if you want to combine sea-side fun with your trip to China.
 Get in
 By boat
From Incheon, Korea there are ferries thrice-weekly by Weidong Ferries . There are also twice-weekly connections to Shimonoseki, Japan on Orient Ferries . The trip takes over 24 hours and 2nd class one-way costs ¥12,000.
 By air
The Qingdao Liuting International Airport is the main hub for Shangdong Airlines and a focus city of China Eastern. There are more than ten flights each day from both Shanghai and Beijing, and less frequent flights to all the other major domestic destinations. International destinations include Seoul (Incheon), Pusan, Tokyo, Osaka, and Hong Kong. The airport is located 32 kilometers from the city itself, about a half hour taxi ride. Prices for a taxi ride from the airport to the Hong Kong Middle Road area should be between ¥100-120 depending on the route taken (The 308 highway is slower but cheaper, the toll expressway is faster and more expensive).
 By train
There is a daily sleeper train from Beijing and one from Shanghai as well. From Beijing it takes about 9 hours, from Shanghai 20 hours. Qingdao Railway Station, located in ShiNan district, has re-opened. The interim train station, Sifang Huo Che Zhan, located in SiFang district on HaiAn Lu near the SiFang long distance bus station is no longer in use. A new Qingdao Train Schedule  has been released.
There is now a much faster service from Beijing provided by CRH that has 6 trains per day and takes less than 6 hours. One high speed train to Shanghai was recently added which takes about 10 hours.
 By bus
Especially if you are traveling from within Shandong province, going by bus is probably the easiest way. Especially now with the new excellent and fast expressways linking Qingdao with other cities in the province. There are several buses per day to Jinan, Taian, Qufu, as well as Yantai and Rizhao on the coast. They leave from and arrive to the bus station just outside the train station, but also from the new bus station north of town, which can be reached by local bus number 5 in 20 min.
 VISA Info
Recently Qingdao officials have been sweeping local bars. To avoid troubles, you may want to have copies of your passport and visa at all times. As travelers, it's still advisable to keep your actual passport in a "safe place" at your hotel or hostel.
 Get around
 By taxi
Take one of the plentiful taxis. The drivers practically run each other over trying to get fares. Although it can be hard to find them during rush hours (8-9AM and 5-6PM). Just ¥8 for short haul. You can get across town for less than ¥35.
 By bus
The bus network is quite well put together and useful once you figure out the routes. Buses 501 and 26 run from the railway station (ShiNan Distict) along the coast via DongHai Xi Lu to all the beaches in the modern eastern part of town (CBD), where bars and cafes are located. Many major routes have dedicated bus lanes, that can make taking the bus faster than taking a car during rush hour. Buses 316 and 231 will bring you to the center of town from the newly renovated station.
 By cycling
Cycling is a great way to get around the city. The old part of town is hilly so be sure you're in good condition, but cycling along the flat coast is the best way to discover Qindao's 15 kilometers of downtown beaches, bays, peninsulas and all the different parts of the city along it.
Qingdao has some famous (within China) beaches worthy of visiting. Unfortunately, litter is a problem at all of them, ranging from the occasional cigarette butt to having to wade through a flotsam of trash just to get into the ocean itself. Your experience will vary depending on the tides and the time of year you visit. During summer weekends, Qingdao city beaches are VERY crowded, and slightly less crowded on summer weekdays. Several beaches, including the #1, #6 and Old Stone Man beaches have very basic shower and changing facilities available for ¥5. Again, these can be packed full of people during the weekends. Bring sunscreen, while you can buy beach toys, food, drinks, and knick-knacks at any of Qingdao's beaches, surprisingly no one sells sunscreen at the beach itself.
You can find bathing beaches all along the seaside from the Zhanqiao Pier to the Shilaoren Beach in the eastern suburbs. The best one is Laoshan Beach, just at the entrance to Laoshan National Park, about a 30 minute drive east of the city limits.
Number 6 (or Muscle Beach) is not very clean. Number 1 beach is clean and full of amusement for children but often crowded. Accessing quiet beach number 2 necessitates a small fee (¥2). Number 3 (or City Beach) has a "plastic island" so you can swim far away and have a rest before coming back (but it is sometimes exhausting to swim in the waves). The best beach within easy striking distance of the city is Shilaoren (Old Stone Man). It's cleanish, very long and broad, with the highest waves. Get there by bus 125 or 321.
Walk along the sea front in the evening from beach 2 back into town to 6.
There are three main areas for buying stuff. The best is Taidong Buxingjie (Taidong Pedestrian Street). Very "renao" (bustling), especially at night when the peddlers come out and you can buy all manner of trinkets, clothing, household wares, etc. While in Taidong be careful of the Pickpockets.
To provision yourself, head out to the Carrefour/Jusco/Book City section of town where Hong Kong Middle Road and Nanjing Road intersect. A new 8 floor mall, located close to this area, recently opened and is quite a bit better than Jusco. It is called MyKAL.
Don't miss Jimo Lu market, a great place to buy knock off Gucci, Prada, Louis Vitton as well as local retail goods. Recently refurbished and opening new shops across the street in a new plaza, it will soon become one of Qingdao's most popular retail markets.
ZhongShan Lu, recently retrofitted for 2008, still boasts some of the oldest shops in Qingdao.
Chinese Food — Head to Yunxiao Road west of Fuzhou Nan Road for a large selection of restaurants of all Chinese varieties ranging from the local Shandong style, to Cantonese and Sichuan. Yunxiao Road is recognized as Qingdao's restaurant street, and serves up a wide variety of mouth watering dishes. Minjiang Road, near Fushou Nan Road (bordering on Qingdao's restaurant district), has several outstanding restaurants. The area is booming with foods from around the world.
Korean — The city has a very large Korean population, and thanks to this, lots of great Korean restaurants. Head to Hong Kong Gardens (Shanghang Road in particular) and you will find many excellent Korean restaurants.
Japanese — There are several good Japanese restaurants scattered about the Shinan district and the Shinan district near Hong Kong Garden.
German — It wouldn't be a trip to a former German treaty port without some real German food and beer "cooked by Chinese." Check out Monnemer Eck's, it is the closest thing to real German food in the city.
Western — Most of the western restaurants can be found along the Hong Kong Middle Road corridor as well as in Hong Kong Gardens. You can choose from a wide variety of food: Italian, French, German, etc.
Tsingtao is China's best-known brand of beer. The brewery was founded by Germans during colonial times and still today brews according to the German purity law. Every August there is a beer festival (check the listing in the "Do" section). Many European breweries participate.
Despite being a city of 2.5 million, nightlife is quieter here than in most cities of similar size. KTV (karaoke) is very popular activity amongst the locals. There are a few western style club/discos in the Hong Kong Middle road area close to the Jusco. A good first stop for travelers in the area is Le Bang, a French expat bar. On Friday and Saturday nights there is an all you can drink ¥50 happy hour from 10PM-11PM. During weekdays there is always some kind of daily drink special. There are often French/continental nights. Feelings Club is a large dance club that is often the most popular among Chinese, music there is strictly techno. Just a little bit west is Babyface, which is similar in style, but plays more western music and is often not as crowded. Going even further west past Fuzhou Road is Club New York, where there is a live band almost every night, that plays cover songs. The atmosphere there is definitely more western oriented, but the drink prices are expensive (¥40-50), although foreigners planning a lengthy stay are nearly always offered a free VIP card for permanent half price drinks.
 Stay safe
 Get out