Things To Do in Qingdao

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Before your stay, Cultural, Qingdao Blogs, Things To Do in Qingdao, Travel

How to be a Bus Pro in Qingdao

When coming to China, public transport seemed like a daunting task- particularly faced with copious amounts of people during rush hour! However, after 2 months here in Qingdao, I like to think I am adopting a Chinese attitude, particularly when getting the bus to the IC office every morning…

My top tip for getting the bus in China is to just go for it! Don’t bother queuing or letting people get in front of you, just go for it! That way you can get the best seat by the window- the top way to the see the city on your way to work! Occasionally you’ll get the odd person that will ask where you’re from and will try to practise their English with you, which is always interesting particularly on a packed bus with people looking at you! Although many Chinese commuters try to get in front of you, many take a relaxed attitude when waiting for the bus, namely this man- a normal sight to see in China… 

InternChina - A Chinese man waiting for the bus
InternChina – That’s one way to wait for the bus

I think the bus system is really easy to use here and if you are coming to China for the first time, I wouldn’t worry particularly with an Oyster card style bus card that allows you to beep and pay every time you get on the bus.

InternChina - Bus card
InternChina – Bus card

Baidu maps in general is a life saver that helps you to track where you go as you’re on the route, tell you which bus to get and how far away the bus is! You can even favourite places like the IC office, your work and your work that way you can even use it offline!

Now that you have these tips, catching the bus is a breeze! If you want to discover the city a bit more, click here.

Cultural, Discover Chinese culture, Learn about China, Qingdao Blogs, Things To Do in Qingdao, Travel

7 Things I learned in my first Week in Qingdao

Blog by Sophie Wiggins.
Doing an internship via InternChina was an easy decision. I can study a course that challenges and compliments my skills while exploring the enigma that is China. The staff was very helpful before my departure back home which made the process a lot smoother. Poor Jack Fairhead who answered question after question. He must have had enough of me and was probably relieved when I finally arrived in Qingdao!

After tackling the gruelling 13 hour flight, with about 15 hours of travel and waiting in-between, I finally arrived in Qingdao last Thursday. Within minutes of my arrival I was taken aback with how different the culture compared to the United Kingdom is. I was greeted by InternChina’s accountant Amber and taken to my apartment. Later Calum my housemate and college arrived. We were both very jetlagged during our orientation at InternChina the next day.

My first impression of the city was that it had a lot more to it than an average city. Despite being highly business orientated, there is a variety of parks and greenery here, including an odd mountain right in the middle of the city. But the thing that struck me most when I got here was how friendly the locals are. Despite not being able to speak one sentence in Mandarin, every person I meet is so eager to engage in conversation and get to know me.

Here are 7 things I have learnt after being here for a week:

  1. It is hot. When I say it’s hot here it’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. You sweat about four hours the day, so basically whenever you are outside. It takes a while to get used to it.
  1. The language is difficult. I’ve had three classes and I just can’t get over the idea that if you say something in the wrong tone of voice it means something completely different! The locals often laugh at my attempts to speak to them in broken mandarin. It is a very beautiful language and definitely worth learning.
  1. Expect to be stopped for pictures on a regular basis (especially if your whiter than white as I am). They love foreigners over here and I get stopped every day for photos. It is quite fun actually.
  1. The Baidu Maps app is your best friend here. In a place where you can’t read or speak the language and only 0.78% of the population speak English, Baidu Maps is the best thing ever. An app which tells you how to get where you want to go, counts the bus stops and even shows you heavy traffic through a colour coded system. I am not sure how we would have gotten around without it.
  1. It is very cheap here. You can buy a big meal for as little as 1 pound. Which makes the £800 flight from the UK a little less painful.
  1. Expect to squat. I am not going to sugar coat, it is not pleasant sometimes but one way or another, eventually you will have to squat. Through pure luck I managed not to squat until today. It will happen. It’s inevitable. Be prepared.
  1. See everything you can. There is so much to do here. So far I have gone to the beach, to Fu Shan (the mountain in the middle of the city), the little Qingdao Island (the old town park), the night market and went on a few nights out at the international bars.

 

Why do an internship abroad?
To be completely out of your comfort zone in a way you wouldn’t think possible. To build character by seeing the history and culture, traditions and different ways of living. To enhance your employability and gain skills that make you stand out against other applicants.

I’m a British girl in Qingdao being challenged to the maximum in many ways and having the best time. – Sophie Wiggins, Design Intern


FIRST WEEK IN QINGDAO

Events in Qingdao, Qingdao Blogs, Qingdao Eating Out Guide, Qingdao Nightlife, Things To Do in Qingdao

Grand opening of China’s largest MixC in Qingdao

On April 30th 2015, China’s ninth and the largest MixC shopping mall had its grand opening in Qingdao. The first MixC opened in 2004 in Shenzhen, South China and since then they have opened other branches around China. MixC developer China Resources means “the great land of China, endowed with abundant natural resources”. China Resources Land Limited is one of the most powerful comprehensive real estate developers. The new shopping mall is located on Hong Kong Middle Road, one of the main routes in Qingdao.

InternChina-MixC
InternChina – MixC

So what makes this particular subdivision of MixC in Qingdao so special? Apart from the fact it contains the world’s 3rd JOYPOLIS indoor theme park (other 2 in Tokyo and Dubai), yes a rollercoaster in the middle of a shopping mall! Inside the huge shopping mall, it also includes the most expensive cinema investment in China (with four kinds of special effects rooms including IMAX and 4D) and an Olympic standard size ice skating rink which is going to host the Skate Asia 2015. There are over 400 popular fashion stores, dining restaurants, cafes and entertainment/leisure facilities in this gigantic plaza.

InternChina - MixC
InternChina – MixC

Qingdao is located in East China, Shandong province. It is a small city compared with other Chinese cities. However, the establishment of MixC luxury shopping mall will hopefully help to develop the city even more than it already has in recent years. “We want to build a good public space for Qingdaonese, where people not only come to shop, but can also have a coffee, watch a movie, or even do nothing at all and just stroll around. It will be a good place for leisure and entertainment in Qingdao.”-Dave Chen (General Manager of Qingdao MixC). Ref: Redstar

For more blogs about whats happening in our cities click here.

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Goodbye China

No way, I’ve been in Qingdao for three months already… Time flies as we say. Three months completely disconnected from western countries, entirely immerged in the Chinese culture. Now after three months I will leave China with my head full of memories and amazing experiences!
Since the day I arrived, I was looking forward to go to Laoshan, the famous mountain near Qingdao. Sadly, in January, February and March, the weather was still too cold to consider climbing that mountain, and I was feeling desperate to never be able to climb that mountain. And finally, as the end of my stay drew closer and I resigned to not climbing it, I took part in a Laoshan trip organized by InternChina. After an early wake up at 5 am to get to the bus – Laoshan here we are! Even though the weather wasn’t that sunny, I think it was the perfect week end to go to Laoshan (and not because it was my last week end in Qingdao). The temperature was warm enough to take off our sweaters to climb the stairs!

     

We went through unofficial trails, in the wild part of the mountain. Thankfully we had a Chinese guide who seemed to know exactly where we were and where we went, he was amazing! And once he even took me by the hand and helped me to climb the stairs (not that I couldn’t have done it myself but it was far easier this way). Mid-April is cherry blossom time! A lot of flowers everywhere which gave me the feeling that spring was finally here. After a lot of stairs, I can say that I managed to reach the top of the mountain (or at least the top of the peak our guide led us to), and I am so glad that I was able to do it!

   

When I wrote my first blog, I still couldn’t believe I was in China, and now I can’t believe I am about to leave it. Three months, it’s short, but I used all the time I had to discover most of the places that have to be seen in Qingdao and to meet a lot of incredible people. I am so grateful towards all those people who made my stay in Qingdao unforgettable. Thank you especially to the InternChina team in Qingdao, for giving me this great opportunity. And of course, many thanks to my host family who has been so nice with me!

 

Read more blogs here!

 

Qingdao Blogs, Things To Do in Qingdao

Fushan foggy sunrise

If you plan to come to Qingdao, you will inevitably hear about Laoshan, a must-see in the region. However, while waiting for warmer temperatures to go exploring this beautiful mountain and take a breath of fresh air, you can still go to Fushan, if you want to have an escape in the nature for a few hours.
Fushan is a 5km long and 2km wide mountain in the eastern part of Qingdao. Its highest point is roughly located at 384 meters above the sea. To go up there you won’t need a lot of time, just a bit of willingness. That is what we needed, me and a friend of mine, when we got up at 4:45 am on a Saturday morning (What? Lie in during the week end? Never!) to go to Fushan in order to see the sunrise from the mountain top. Rude awakening, I have to admit, but once our hiking shoes were on, we were up for climbing all of the mountains of the world. Well… it was only Fushan, but anyway.

We walked for a while in the quiet early morning of Qingdao. As we had already been there once, we were familiar with the small passage that allows you to enter the mountain: only three stairs separated the link between the street and the wildness of the mountain. From there, no more roads could be seen but only natural trails. We knew we were going to make it on time, thirty minutes before the sunrise, but the sky was becoming lighter and lighter (good job because otherwise we would have fallen more than once on the way). After few minutes walking gingerly, we reached the stairs. Here is where the real climbing began!

Sunrise from Fushan

Time quickly passed, sweat and 500 stairs later, we found a comfortable rock to wait for the sunrise. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t on our side, we didn’t even see the sea from the mountain. But even though we had chosen a foggy day, there were beautiful colors and the muted atmosphere caused by the fog was relaxing. We were just about to give up waiting, thinking we would never see the sun coming out, when suddenly we saw it, shyly emerging out of the fog, perfect bright sphere in the sky. We stayed there for a moment, just enjoying the moment.

Sunrise from Fushan

Afterwards we made our way back home, after a short passage in a bakery for a well-deserved breakfast.

 

Interested in finding out more about Qingdao and the programs we offer? Click here to get more information

Chinese Traditions, Cultural, Things To Do in Chengdu, Things To Do in Qingdao, Things To Do in Zhuhai, Weekend Trips

From China to…

One of the benefits of living in China is that you are well positioned to dip into new countries.  For those with a love of finding new places and experiencing interesting cultures it’s possible to conveniently and cheaply arrange flights all over Asia via low-cost local carriers.  Whilst China has an array of popular tourist destinations; The Great Wall, The Terracotta Warriors of Xi An, the Yangzi and Yangshuo rivers as well as the scenic masterpieces of Zhangjiajie and Jiuzhaigou tend to top the list, there are other unique and cost effective options well within reach from most of China.

InternChina - From china to... (Source: http://www.cems360.biz/snakes-birds-planes-and-chinese-brands/)
InternChina – From china to… (Source: http://www.cems360.biz/snakes-birds-planes-and-chinese-brands/)

Hong Kong, Macau and Guangzhou in the South East are excellent international hubs.  Beijing, Nanning and Shanghai have excellent low-cost flights if travelling from the north east.  Chengdu, Nanning and Kunming are some of the busiest in the west and south-west of China.  All provide excellent options for South East Asian destinations such as the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Myanmar and Cambodia to name but a popular few.

Once upon a time you may have spent months of planning and coughed up a large amount of cash for your big trip to Asia.  However once you’re based in China, even for a short time, it’s a massive plus to be able to arrange last minute holidays at low cost.  This is exciting to those who only have the slightest interest in travelling but for keen explorers it’s a golden ticket!  Why not experience China for an internship and springboard onto other Asian destinations to satisfy the wanderer in you?  Go on, spread your wings!

Find out more about our programmes here

Discover Chinese culture, Qingdao Blogs, Things To Do in Qingdao

Hidden gems in Qingdao

1. Xiaoyushan 小鱼山

InternChina - View from Xiaoyushan
InternChina – View from Xiaoyushan

The Little Fish Mountain or Little Fish Mountain Park is a unique little park in the Western part of Qingdao’s Shinan district. The park combines classical garden style construction with traditional Chinese architecture. From the peak of the Little Fish mountain visitors have an amzing view of the Huiquan Bay area.  Personally, I would recommend you to come here at night time to see the sparkle of Qingdao with all its skyscraper iluminated in bright neon light.

2. Fushan – Mount Fu

InternChina - Fushan
InternChina – Fushan

Given its size and location in the middle of town, calling the Fushan a hidden gem might be a little exaggerated. Despite being part of the famous Laoshan Mountain Range, the Fushan has, however, not received as much tourist recognition as its counterparts. Therefore, there is only little to none tourist development around the mountain. On the contrary, visitors will experience raw nature and a rough climb with an amazing view awaiting them at the peak. Clearly something that can hardly be found inside of any other major Chinese cities.
To those visiting Fushan I recommend bringing a flashlight to be able to explore the long underground bunkers left behind by the Germans during colonial times.

3. Lotus Garden in Zhongshan Park

InternChina - Lotus Garden
InternChina – Lotus Garden

Qingdao is an incredibly lush city. Apart from countless parks and the Fushan with its surrounding forest, there is also the huge Zhongshan Park near the City center. The vast 75 hectare park and it’s approximately 20,000 cherry trees are a major tourist attraction every year. Less known is the beautiful lotus garden located in the western corner of the park. There is a romantic little pagoda right in the middle of the lotus pond – clearly an excellent place you can bring your loved one to during a nice evening stroll.

4. Lennon Bar

InternChina - Band at Lennon
InternChina – Band at Lennon

Located on Zhuhai Road, the Lennon Bar is a combination of Chinese restaurant and Western bar. Locals love the bar for its quirky style of decoration, the good food, and the great but reasonably priced selection of beers. As a special treat to all visitors, a live band is performing every evening.

5. The Hezhe Kitchen Restaurant 赫哲灶台酒店

InternChina - Dinner at Hezhe Kitchen
InternChina – Dinner at Hezhe Kitchen

Hidden in a small street close to the Wanda Plaza, the Hezhe Kitchen Restaurant is one of InternChina’s all-time favorite restaurants. It is literally one of the best Dongbei restaurants in Qingdao (Dongbei being China’s northeast) and known for its socialist-inspired decoration, which has been carefully preserved throughout decades. Food is served on authentic crockery from the Mao-Era and portraits of Marx and Engels can be found all over the Restaurant.

Interested in finding out more about Qingdao and the programs we offer? Click here to get more information

Events in Qingdao, Qingdao Blogs, Things To Do in Qingdao, Understanding Chinese culture

The Legends of Qingdao

Coming to China you realise that just like ancient Roman & Greek legends we hear about in the West, there are many ancient myths and legends that form the backbone of Chinese tradition – and Qingdao has its fair share. There are little reminders left all over the city most of which seem to have one theme in common – heroes long lost at sea.

The Old Stone Man (石老人)

The Old Stone Man (石老人) - InternChina
The Old Stone Man (石老人) – InternChina

One of Qingdao’s most popular tourist spots is the Old Stone Man Beach in the Laoshan District. As the legend tells it, this stone column just out to sea is the remains of and elderly fisherman whose daughter was kidnapped by evil pirates. In his grief he passed every day of his life waiting on the beach for her daughter’s return sadly watching the ebb and flow of the waves. With every turn of the tide his hopes were crushed again and again. Until finally his forlorn figure was turned to stone where he stood, and there it shall remain, mourning for his long lost daughter. (The little old man must have grown in his grief however as he’s significantly taller then any fisherman I’ve ever come across!)

Little Qingdao Island, Girl with Guqin (琴女)

Little Qingdao (琴女) - InternChina
Little Qingdao (琴女) – InternChina

Legend has it that the girl with the Guqin (stringed instrument like a harp), was a fairy goddess who fell in love with a young handsome fisherman and eventually married the mortal. She would pass her time waiting for her his return each day, playing the small harp on the beach. Until one day the Jade God heard of their marriage and went into a jealous rage. He overturned the young man’s boat and locked him at the bottom of the sea with his evil sea snakes. The fairy goddess waited in vain for 90 years for her husband to return, playing the harp on the beach as her hair tired grey and her eyes failed her. Never to hear from him again.

Mazu Goddess of the Sea (妈祖)

Goddess Mazu, Qingdao - InternChina
Goddess Mazu (妈祖), Qingdao – InternChina

There are many different stories about the humble origins of Mazu. Some say that from an early age as a fisherman’s daughter she withstood perilous weather conditions, standing on the beach dressed in red to guide her father and brothers safely back to shore. Others claim that she performed magical feats before becoming a divinity. Whatever the story, she now stands as the deified protector of sailors and fisherman throughout all time, a legend that is worshipped all over China, and she has been given pride of place on Qingdao’s coastline too!

There are a few legends from more modern times too…

The May Fourth Wind Sculpture (五月风)

InternChina - Qingdao
May Fourth Square (五月风), Qingdao – InternChina

Not so much one legend but many, this is the ultimate emblem of modern Qingdao, a memorial to the May Fourth political movement which was triggered by the anger over the Japanese occupation of Qingdao in 1919.  It’s a symbol of Chinese nationalism and the beginning of a new cultural consciousness in China.

You’ll have to come to Qingdao to discover the rest. Apply now!

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