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The town boasts one of China's major sea ports, which is free of ice all the year round, and it is also the chief industrial center of Shandong province. Qingdao is known for its mineral water from Mount Laoshan (Laoshan Kuanghuanshui).
Qingdao (''Green Island'') was a small trading port as long ago as the Song era (960-1279). From 1874 onwards it grew in strategic importance as first fortifications and then military harbor installations were built. After 1898, when Germany enforced a 99-year lease for the Jiazhou region, Qingdao soon developed into a German town. Houses built in the contemporary turn-of-the-century style still
characterize large parts of the town today. The town was occupied by the Japanese during the First World War and was promised to them when the war ended; this led to the formation of the May 4th Protest Movement in 1919. It was 1922 before Qingdao was returned to China.
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).
There is a daily sleeper train from Beijing and one from Shanghai as well. The slow trains from Beijing take about 9 hours, from Shanghai 20 hours. The Qingdao Railway Station is located at the west end of ShiNan district.
There is now a much faster service from Beijing provided by CRH that has 6 trains per day and takes a little less than 6 hours for 300-350. One high speed train to Shanghai was recently added which takes about 10 hours.
Especially if you are travelling 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 trolleybus number 5 in 20 min.
Mount Laoshan, around which countless legends have been woven, lies 30km/19mi northeast of Qingdao and falls steeply away towards the coast. Its tallest peak, Laoding, reaches a height of 1133m/3720ft. The mountain, rich in mineral water springs, displays bizarre rock formations, waterfalls and caves.
Many years ago it was revered as the ''Home of Eternal Life'', where grew magic herbs which could cure all known diseases and make man immortal. It was in order to search for these wondrous plants that the Qin Emperor Shi Huangdi (259-210 BC) and the Han Emperor Wudi (156-87 BC) climbed this mountain. In the 8th C the Tang Emperor Xuanzong sent two high officials to find and collect the magical herbs and to prepare for him the Elixir of Life. After the 10th C more and more Taoist monasteries sprung up here, but most of them were destroyed in later years.
Zhanshan Temple, also situated in the east of the town and encircled by hills, was built in 1934 and is the only Buddhist edifice in Qingdao. In the eastern section of the complex towers an octagonal stone pagoda of seven stories.
The pier (Qianhai Zhanqiao), the main attraction for all visitors to Qingdao, juts 440m/1320ft from the coastal promenade into the sea. At the end it has a Chinese pavilion. A pier was first built here in 1891; it was extended to its present-day length and size in 1931.
In all there are seven bathing beaches (Haishui Yuchang), the most popular being those numbered 1, 2 and 3.
The largest is Beach No. 1, in the south of the town, which is 580m/640yd long. No. 2 is a little way further east, where more than 80 hotels and health clinics lie in a row. About 1km/.5mi further east still is Beach No. 3, which is not as large as the other two.
Pavilion of the Rebounding Waves
At the southern end of the pier stands the octagonal Pavilion of the Rebounding Waves, built in classical Chinese style. Inside, a spiral staircase leads up to the upper story.
May - September
July - August -> 27(°C) - Summer
December - February -> 0(°C) - Spring