| What to see in Qingdao
Qingdao is located on the southern coastline of the Shandong Peninsula, in East China's Shandong Province. Dubbed "Eastern Switzerland," Qingdao is one of China's most important port cities. With an area of 10,700 square kilometers, it had a population of eight million as of the end of 2009.
A unique blend of sea and mountains and a pleasant climate make Qingdao extraordinary. It has an average temperature of 12 degrees Celsius and a total of some 800 kilometers of coastline.
Qingdao is an important manufacturing center, an ice-free seaport and one of the most important textile industrial centers in China. It is also famed as a transit hub for Eurasia and the Pacific region.
After its success in hosting the 2008 Olympic sailing competition, Qingdao caught the spotlight again the following year as host of the 11th National Games.
As one of the most famous seaside cities in China, Qingdao has presented a new look to the outside world by adding a number of new tourism programs and recreational facilities. Among them, tours to the 2008 Olympic stadiums and venues, ocean sailing and island adventures are some of the most popular, providing tourists with fresh opportunities to experience coastal life in the city.
The Qingdao International Sailing Center, or Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center, site of the 2008 Olympic Games sailing competition, is located on the old site of the Beihai shipyard by Fushan Bay.
Covering a total area of 45 hectares and a water area of 30 hectares, the center is comprised of a land area, a harbor and an off-shore section with a quay featuring the Olympic Memorial Wall.
After the 2008 Olympic Games, the center opened to the public. Many travelers come to Qingdao especially to see it.
This is a group of tourists from Beijing.
"I came to Qingdao especially to see the Sailing Center."
"I didn't have a chance to visit here during the 2008 Olympic Games, so now I came to have a look at the site. I'm very happy to be here."
"I feel proud that the Olympic Games were held here. So I came to take a picture as a keepsake."
Kane is a tourist from Sydney in Australia.
"Yes I've been to the Olympic Sailing Center and it's very beautiful."
Tourists can board big sailboats and cruise with the help of professional sailors. They can also take a cruise for island adventure fishing or relaxing and sunbathing on the beach.
There are a number of islands around Qingdao that are also hot tourist attractions, with Zhucha Island and Dagong Island being the most popular.
Located to the south of Qingdao, Zhucha is a volcanic island. It features an intact crater and well-preserved lava flows.
With a totally unspoiled environment and naturally-formed stones and caves, it's ideal for tourism.
The island has a 300-year history of human life. With abundant aquatic resources, local people lived happy and content lives. Now it is home to some 560 people. The 100 households rely on fishery and aquaculture. They also grow small amounts of grain, but without using any fertilizer, resulting in a pollution-free environment.
Dong Yongquan is president of the Qingdao International Yacht Club.
"As we develop tourism on the island, we also pay attention to preserving its natural environment. We are planning four ferry trips a day from the city to the island, and it costs less than 100 yuan per person, or less than 15 U.S. dollars, which is very cheap."
Other major tourism programs include fishing and sailing.
"We have invested heavily in buying ships for tourists to fish on the sea. We also provide training sessions on the spot that allow every tourist to enjoy the experience of sailing. Yachting has become a public activity that everyone can participate in."
More adventurous travelers can go diving off the coast and see the area's amazing range of fish species as well as Qingdao's beautiful skyline.
A 45-minute ride costs 120 yuan, or 17 U.S. dollars.
Kane from Sydney is very impressed.
For every traveler in the city, Qingdao Beer is a must.
The Qingdao Brewery is China's largest brewery and claims about 15 percent of the domestic market share.
The brewery was founded in 1903 by German settlers to brew beer in the German tradition, mainly for Germans and other Westerners in China.
The beer's logo displays an image of Zhan Qiao, a famous pier on Qingdao's southern shore.
Qingdao Beer is brewed with mineral water from the Laoshan Spring in the east of Qingdao, which contributes to its characteristic flavor.
Cheng Jun is director of Qingdao Beer Street Management Office.
"Qingdao Beer Street is located at the site of the former brewery. Local residents have a deep affection for this beer tradition. To them, it's a feeling of home, while for tourists, it reflects the history and culture of the city."
The Beer Street is located in Dengzou Road in downtown Qingdao. When darkness falls, all the 40 restaurants and bars in the street fill with customers. The beer they serve is fresh from the nearby brewery.
"I came on foot without taking a taxi because it is right in town and very close to where I live. I had the freshest beer which tastes great. Here, you don't have to spend a lot of money but you have the best service."
"Transportation to this place is very fast and convenient. And the beer and food here are very cheap. We are here to drink and chat. Everybody is having a good time."
"It's my first time in Qingdao and the beer here is great. We sit in the open air and drink beer. It's great place to relax."
Akio Ando is a tourist from Japan.
"Tsingtao Beer is world-renowned. Everyone must try it. We also visited the Tsingtao Brewery to learn the history and culture of Tsingtao Beer."
Leila Bram is a tourist from Australia.
Qingdao International Beer Festival, co-hosted by China's relevant ministries and the local government, is one of the largest national festivals combining tourism, culture, sports, economy and trade.
Initiated in 1991, the festival opens the second weekend of August every year for 16 days, which is the golden tourism season in Qingdao.
The slogan of the Beer Festival is "Qingdao Toasts with the World!" After 20-some Beer Festivals, the Qingdao International Beer Festival has gradually become a signature of the city and enjoys a world-wide reputation.
The festival is composed of beer tasting and drinking, beer-drinking competitions, and trade exhibitions. During the festival, all the avenues and streets in the city brightly display a carnival atmosphere.
Each festival draws more than 20 well-known international beer manufacturers and 3 million tourists from home and abroad.
Located near Beer Street, Tianmu, or the Atrium City, is an indoor food and shopping street with replicas of various famous and historic locations around the world. Many travelers head here to shop at its night markets.
"The sky looks so special. It's interesting."
"These replicas reflect different architectural styles."
"I like the exotic architecture, especially the European-style ones."
"This place is very special. Children are especially attracted to it."
Leila Bram from Australia is here to shop at the night market.
Jia Lile from Malaysia is a tourist.
The 2008 Olympic Games have left Qingdao many great legacies, with one of them being more mass participation of sports.
The Marina Square beside the Olympic Sailing Center is a commercial street composed of shopping malls and recreational and sports facilities. A hot spot with well equipped gyms and other facilities, it has one of the city's best indoor ice skating rinks. Covering some 1,400 square meters of land area, the skating rink has many regular customers, including Liu Changyi, a local resident, and his son.
"I feel great staking here.. Although I'm tired.. Ice skating is a real challenge for me. This is a great place where I can take my child here to exercise regularly."
If you have time and want to visit Qingdao, be sure not to miss the Beer Museum in the Beer Street. You’ll really learn a lot of history and production of beer from there.
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