Where to stay and things to do in Qingdao
Qingdao is the largest city of Shandong province located south of Beijing and Jinan. Once upon a time, it was a German colony and so it still features some colonial buildings and districts. It also features beaches, colonial buildings, and lots of yummy seafood.
For me, Qingdao is one of the most beautiful and clean cities in China, the place is gorgeous and it boasts large tourism and a large Korean expat community.
Located by the sea, I enjoyed swimming in Qingdao relatively clean beaches, a chance that should not be passed. Qingdao is beautiful and charming, and it usually wins awards as it was named as one of China’s most livable city. Also Qingdao is famous for it’s beer, as it features plenty of local beer brands and breweries.
Thinking strategy, where to stay in Qingdao?
There are several options, but I would stick to this 3 good areas to stay in Qingdao, especially for first timers =
- Around Qingdao Train station area. Decently located, cheap area, OK place.
- Around Beach number 1 or 2 area. It would be a little bit more expensive, not that far from option number 1. The amount of seafood restaurants around here is high.
- Around the Qingdao Marina city area. This area boasts tall buildings, 5-star hotels. More bang for the buck and hotel options generally, it’s a good area to stay, but will need to use taxis daily. Not a biggie.
- For a normal tourist, I recommended number 2.
- Number 1 is acceptable.
- Number 3 is great if you are comfortable taking taxi rides.
Outside of this areas, tourist-wise, it won’t be that great.
Favorite and most lovely hotels in Qingdao (updated 2018):
Qingdao is bang for the buck all the way, a huge lovely city that is cheap. Deals can be found for less than 50$ for a night:
- Qingdao Huiquan Dynasty Hotel. 5* 90$. Besides the beach, 5 stars for this price, awesome.
- Shangri-La Hotel Qingdao. 5* 140$. Decent price for a Shangrila hotel, but there are better options if you want to save $. If not, this is a great choice.
- Grand Regency Hotel. 5* 70$. Ridiculous price for a great hotel. Upgraded rooms at 100$ are so good.
- Qingdao Farglory Hotel. 4* 60$. Beside the Marina, tall building, good.
- The Third Space Seaview Hotel. 4* 40$. Again, beside the marina, nice place.
- Qingdao Hansha Seaview Yingshi Hotel. 3* 50$. Beside the beach.
- Qingdao Jinshan We Holiday Apartment Wu Si Square 4*. 30$. A 4-star bargain in a good area.
- Qingdao 52 Square Meter Apartment Hotel. 3,5* 30$. Yet another hotel besides the Marina but cheaper.
- Qingdao 25 Degrees Four Seasons Youth Hostel. 2* (Hostel). A 5 bucks a night hostel option beside the train station.
All the above picks are great. I stayed and enjoyed my staying in Qingdao in many of them.
Would also be careful with Chinese holidays, especially the week-long holidays. As the prices might skyrocket 2x or 3x.
Things to do and see in Qingdao:
- Beer festival. People might be interested, but here are my 2 cents on this festival: Overrated, dirty, noisy, and overall out of taste. Locals don’t like it much. I know people are interested in this because somehow, “beer festival” sounds cool, fun, party, etc. But truly not my cup of tea. Yes, fun can be had, if you go with friends. But prepare yourself to see a mess, and a bunch of shirtless drunk guys, lol.I even find the whole concept ridiculous, you can still have as many beers and BBQ as you want any time of the year.
- Beer Street. See above.
- Seafood restaurants. Absolute 100% must do in Qingdao. Prepare yourself and seafood yourself up.
- Qingdao No.1 Bathing Beach and pier. Good place, must-visit.
- Badaguan Scenic Resort. Visit if you have time, can be skipped tbh.
- Tsingdao Beer Museum. Pass.
- Mount Lao. I liked the hiking, but only if you have extra time.
- May Fourth Square and Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center. Must-visit. Allot enough time for this, and there are good dining options around.
- Little Qingdao Isle. I didn’t visit this, but it can be skipped I guess. Don’t take my word for it.
- Qingdao mountain park. For me, must visit.
- Qingdao cathedral and streets around. Again, must-visit and it won’t take much time, but I recommend a non-rushed afternoon evening walk. Very good dining options around too, probably the best I had in the city.
Qingdao is a lovely city that won’t break the bank. As prices are really cheap, one can indulge in awesome Seafood dinners. Also make sure order Qingdao draft beer, it’s made locally at tastes awesome.