|Chicken breasts at the market||$9.64|
|1 min. of prepaid mobile tariff||$0.03|
|Monthly Pass (local transport)||$9.64|
|Local draught beer||$0.72|
|Tennis court rent (1 hour on weekend)||$18.74|
|Mid range bottle of wine||$10.44|
Talk of China and you end up thinking of ornate temple roofs, monks in saffron robes, and a uniquely exotic language with an equally exotic cuisine. We’re not even starting on how we saw Chinese cities in Hollywood films. However, this exotic beauty is not merely what we see on the silver screen. China is a land with different faces. Take Qingdao, for instance.
Facing the historical Jiaozhou Bay where the Germans took on their slice of the Chinese pie by the end of the 19th century, Qingdao is one of the largest cities in Shandong Province as well as one of the largest ports in the whole of China. One can get there by plane to the Qingdao Liuting International Airport, with major flight destinations such as Tokyo, Osaka, Seoul and Nagoya, with Frankfurt as the only non-Asian destination in a connecting flight from Shenyang. You can also get there by ferry from the ports of Incheon in South Korea and Shimonoseki in Japan.
Due to its long history, Qingdao holds German and Japanese influences, aside from its natural Chinese temples. There are beaches around Qingdao, most of which are best for long afternoon walks. They’re no Caribbean wonder, but they’re very tranquil and calm places for reflection. In fact, if you want to save on a trip to a city like Qingdao, you need only stroll around these parts; no money is needed. If you’re hungry, there are small cheap restaurants you can dine in with a budget as low as 10 Yuan.
There are two destinations that clearly mark the German influence on this city: Tsingtao Brewery and the International Beer City. Not much for the international, but who can honestly deny themselves of cold beer? Qingdao prides themselves in their brewing heritage, which they celebrate with a Beer Festival by the end of August, a tradition that’s probably an offshoot of the German Oktoberfest. Besides beer, the Germans left them with stunning Bavarian architecture, namely the German Governor’s Residence, the Qingdao Catholic Church and the Protestant Church. Most buildings in the port sport a similar style of architecture blended with oriental stylistics.
Qingdao’s Naval Museum and the Qingdao Chinese Maritime University is a visible imprint of the Japanese. It hosts the history of the Chinese navy as well as some historical warship models. Qingdao also boasts of China’s first public aquarium, the Qingdao Aquarium and the newer Polar Ocean World.