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.