Despite living in Qingdao for 3 months now, I hadn’t actually made it to Laoshan during that time. I’d climbed Fushan, since it is conveniently located 15 minutes from my house, however Laoshan was always a failed trip- somebody was sick, the weather was bad, we would wait until there were more interns… well all the excuses finished when Kristin visited from the Zhuhai office.
We decided late on Friday that we’d like to climb Laoshan that Sunday in an effort to tick one more thing off Kristin’s list of things to do in Qingdao. We didn’t plan the trip particularly well, as usually the interns plan a route, a meeting point and organise a guide, but despite the freezing weather we were up and on the 104 bus to Laoshan at 10 am. We had no idea where to get off the bus, or how long we should be on the bus for, but we settled in for the hour long journey with our wasabi flavoured dried peas and a rather off-putting piece of corn on the cob.
We arrived at the visitor center and got our bus tickets, where we then boarded a bus where we felt slightly out of place in our trainers and hoodies, as everyone else seemed to be dressed for a day at work in suits and high heels. We found three people at the back of the bus similarly kitted out to us (complete with hiking boots and backpacks) and so reassured that we were on the right bus after all, we allowed ourselves to be excited again- especially as the weather had decided to change to sunny and warm despite being the middle of December.
20 minutes later we were at Laoshan, and were met with an amazing sea view surrounded by huge mountains… beside a KFC. Not what we were expecting! But when the KFC is surrounded by trees, a temple, the ocean and a mountain range that stretches farther than the eye can see, you soon forget it is even there. We didn’t have a planned route, so we aimlessly made our way past trees branded with QR codes and took in the scenery, which suited us just fine. There was no pressure to follow a route or stick to a plan, so we were free to explore the mountains as we wished and we took our time climbing the steps we decided to follow.
We made our way to a flat, empty expanse of space with only a lone cyclist and his camera for company. While the view was amazing, we didn’t want to stay there all day, so after some poor attempts to translate a sign, we realised we had come the completely wrong direction and made our way back the way we came. We followed more stairs cut into the mountain, which led us to this breathtaking view…
We decided to walk up the mountain loosely in the direction of the cable car, and after witnessing some unique snacks for sale and attempting to explore a river, we found the tea fields. We met one man very eager to tell us all about the tea fields, and understandably so because they were beautiful! I realised how high up we must have been at this point, as the tea on Laoshan is only grown after a certain altitude to stop the plans being damaged by insects. We also stumbled across a dog guarding a temple. We went into the temple and stayed there for a while before heading back down the mountain. The next scenic site we saw was a bridge filled with love locks, and a huge waterfall, which was simply beautiful.
We continued with our aimless wandering past the huge lake and waterfall, and eventually ended up in the car park we needed to get the bus home from. I had been told our last bus home was at 4 pm, and since we didn’t want to pay for an hour long taxi ride back to Qingdao we decided to rush back to make the last bus.
Despite our poor planning and “see how it goes” attitude, we got to explore a lot of Laoshan. There is simply too much to see in one, two or three trips, but we saw beautiful views, amazing structures and the unique touches the modern world has added to this ancient mountain.
If you want to explore Laoshan for yourself, apply now!
When you think of visiting China you immediately think of the famous destinations- The Bund in Shanghai, Beijing’s Forbidden City and the Terracotta Army of Xi’an among many, many others. But if you want to be able to go home and have people saying “tell me more” rather than “I already know that”, then you’ll want to visit some of the amazing destinations our interns have discovered over the years, all close enough to visit in a weekend (which isn’t nearly long enough of course.)
From Chengdu, Emei Shan can be easily reached by both bus and train so it is an ideal overnight trip.
Emei Shan is a well-known attraction to many because of the deep cultural and religious associations with Buddhism. The first Buddhist temple, Huazang, was built here in 1AD, and the largest Buddha in the world, LeShan’s Giant Buddha (which stands at an awe inspiring 71 metres tall) is also located here.
In addition to the cultural, religious and historical importance of Emei Shan, the area is a huge conservation effort. You can find over 3,000 diverse species of plants and trees over a millennium old all around the mountains, as well as over 2,000 kinds of animals.
Emei Shan will leave you speechless- its beauty, fascinating history and religious calm will make this a trip to remember. So stroll up the mountain, take in the view, and relax as the monks from over 30 temples remind you of the spiritual importance of this place.
Kangding, also known as the Land of the Snows, is a trip for those who don’t mind braving the cold in order to experience a fascinating combination of Chinese and Tibetan culture. While you will have to endure a 10 hour bus journey from Chengdu, the sights that will welcome you throughout Kangding will make you forget all about the journey.
You will get to experience true Tibetan cuisine and customs while here- one intern said they felt as if they’d travelled to Tibet without ever leaving China.
Highlights of the trip include the Tagong and Dordrak Monasteries, Guoda Mountain, Hailuogou Valley, the Taong grasslands and the Mugetso Scenic Area. Arguably the best time of year to visit is in Autumn, but whenever you decide to visit, make sure you pack warm clothes!
JiuZhaiGou National Park is yet another area of astonishing national beauty in China… blue lakes only seen in paintings, sprawling mountain ranges, waterfalls and forests to entertain you for hours. Similar to Kangding, JiuZhaiGou will give you the opportunity to experience some Tibetan culture. While you do need to pay admission into the park, you have acres to explore and hours to do so- you can even camp out if you’re feeling adventurous.
If you want to see the park in all its glory, visit in Autumn to be surrounded by every colour imaginable while the weather is still enjoyable.
Located close to Dalian is the capital of Liaoning province, Shenyang. Shenyang is an ancient city filled with great artistic, cultural and historical importance- namely due to the excellent preservation of the Shenyang Imperial Palace. Shenyang is also widely believed to be the birthplace of the Qing Dynasty (which lasted from 1644 to 1911!), so it is a city filled with more than 2000 years of history.
Other notable relics from the Qing Dynasty include the Fuling Tomb, in which the founder of the Qing Dynasty (Nurhachi) and his Empress are interred, and the Zhaoling Tomb, home of Nurhachi’s successor Huang Taji and his Empress.
And if you are interested in more than just the history of the city, there is a curious natural phenomenon for you to play with- Guaipo. The “Strange Slope”, as it is otherwise known, is a sloping piece of land approximately 80 metres long which doesn’t abide by the rules of gravity. Cars, bicycles and tourists alike all have to accelerate to go downhill, yet can enjoy a leisurely roll back up the hill… just a little confusing!
Of course, there is the usual abundance of bars, restaurants and KTV venues to keep you occupied at night.
While Beijing is far from being an “off the beaten track” destination, it’s a popular trip for the Qingdao interns. After all, it would be a little disappointing to go to China without seeing the Great Wall when it’s only a few hours away on the train! If you aren’t aware of what China’s capital city has to offer you, a quick summary would be the Summer Palace, the Ming Tombs, Tiananmen Square, the National Grand Theatre, the panda base, the Silk Market, the Lama Temple and the Forbidden City. Oh, and the Great Wall of China.
Beijing is a city with millions upon millions of people from all walks of life, and with a history spanning three thousand years it’s obvious why this is one of the most traveled to destinations in the world. You’ll have the opportunity to see ancient and modern China with your own eyes all in one place!
You can reach Beijing from Qingdao in around five hours via train, or even quicker by plane, however travelling by train is a whole other experience everyone should have in China!
Qingdao is famous for two mountains- Fushan and Laoshan. While FuShan has the attraction of being located in the middle of Qingdao, LaoShan provides a much more interesting challenge and experience… and who doesn’t love a challenge?
Located approximately a 30- 40 minute drive from Qingdao, visiting Laoshan will mean you can see rivers, waterfalls, ancient temples, beautiful forests and amazing scenery all from one place. The Laoshan National Park covers an area of around 450 square kilometres, so you will have plenty of sights to see on your climb to the top of Mount Lao. Or if the climb seems too daunting, take the cable car to the top, and relax with some local Tsingtao beer or Mount Lao green tea while you enjoy the view.
ZhouZhuang in the Jiangsu province, arguably the most beautiful water town in China, is located near Shanghai and is very easily travelled to from Qingdao by bus, train or plane in just a few hours.
If you want to be transported back to quieter times in China, then a day trip to Zhouzhang will be perfect for you. The opportunity to float along the waterways of this village on a traditional gondola and witness the locals go about their daily lives entirely on the water is not something you can see anywhere else- who wouldn’t want to witness someone doing their shopping from a boat? With the added bonus of being surrounded by ancient architecture almost a thousand years old, which has been virtually untouched by the recent developments in China, ZhouZhuang is the perfect relaxing day trip.
Macau, also known as the “Las Vegas of Asia”, is a fast paced, energetic city that you will struggle to fit into a weekend trip. Unfortunately this trip is only possible if your visa allows multiple entries, so if not it may be best to wait until you are leaving China to spend a weekend here. To visit Macau from Zhuhai, you can take a ferry across the bay or even walk!
Macau will offer you an interesting mix of Cantonese Chinese and Portuguese influences, and it is highly recommended to take time to walk around the city and take in the mix of architecture and cultures surrounding you. Make your way from Sendao Square around the streets, sampling traditional Macau food, visiting Golden Lotus Square and the ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral. In the evening, spend some time around the famous casinos!
Foshan is both one of Guangdong province’s oldest cities (5,000 years old!) and one of the most modern. With a history heavily focused on the arts, including opera, martial arts and traditional ceramic crafts, there no shortage of cultural activities in the city for the art lovers among you.
If you want to try your hand at creating some traditional Chinese pottery, you can do so using the Nanfeng Kiln, otherwise known as the oldest kiln in China.
There is a much more recent connection to the martial arts as well- you can visit the house of Bruce Lee’s ancestors! If that isn’t to your interest, then the Zumiao Commercial Street filled with malls, plazas, restaurants and tea houses might be more to your taste.
To continue your cultural development, visit the Ancestral Temple, or the Qinghui Garden.
If you’ve ever held a 20RMB note, then you are already familiar with the mountain scenery that will greet you from the Li River in Yangshuo.
There are several reasons to visit Yangshou, including the incredible change of pace you’ll be thrown into (compared to Zhuhai’s easy going atmosphere). You can start the trip with a lazy rafting journey down the Li River, before visiting the incredible Silver Cave below:
There’s also the abundance of amazing local food, including Beer Fish, stuffed Li River snails, bite size Li River fried shrimp and of course, street barbecues.
If you want to visit these amazing cities yourself, then apply now to experience China yourself!
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!
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!
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.
Afterwards we made our way back home, after a short passage in a bakery for a well-deserved breakfast.
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Ni Hao everyone,
I’m BACK in Qingdao!!!
My name is Stephanie and I am a “new” intern at InternChina. I come from Belgium and I’m really excited to be here in Qingdao again.
During my first internship, I had the chance to visit and learn more about this wonderful city and its inhabitants. At first, it was difficult to find my bearings and adapt to the completely new culture, weather and especially the food. But thanks to all the other interns and InternChina’s activities, I had the opportunity to discover very nice places and people and feel “at home” here in China.
I was never alone, there were always interns that I met for lunch, for dinner and/or for parties. We were all in a country we didn’t know, alone and for most of us with none or only some knowledge of Chinese. I met lot of people from around the world such as Germans, Americans, British, Russians, French, Italian, Spanish, etc. We all gather almost everyday at LPG (a famous bar with lots of overseas students as well as Chinese ones) to have a drink and chat.
I also met some Chinese people especially during my language classes at Qingdao Language School. My teacher during the summer was Grace Liang, a nice and funny person, we studied a lot during the classes but we also met after work and sometimes during the weekends to go out or to visit some famous places in Qingdao.
I’m now back again but this time for three months, it’s not summer anymore so Qingdao it’s a bit less crowded than how it was six months ago. However, it’s still a busy city and active as always! The weather at the moment is a lot colder than the last time I was here, but the good side of it, is that we still have sunny days with blue skies.
Qingdao is a nice city with a lot of nice spots to visit: The Beer museum, the TV tower, the old town, parks (beautiful in summer), Laoshan (beautiful Chinese mountain with breath taking views) and more.
I’m really looking forward to this new internship experience and hopefully explore more of Qingdao and lot of other places in China!
Would you like to gain work experience in ? Apply now or send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
By Stephanie Baaklini
You may already be convinced on the idea of coming to Qingdao. Or you may be thinking about it – you want to do a big trip and make new experiences but you’re not sure if China and especially Qingdao is your thing. Below are some valuable reasons I think you should come to my current place to be, Qingdao.
Chinese food is delicious, cheap and spicy. You should better learn to eat with sticks too. If you are prepared for that you will have some great culinary experiences. In Qingdao you should especially not miss the seafood. On my first night I had a big Chinese BBQ. You can find it on nearly every corner of the city. Just be open-minded and enjoy.
In Qingdao you can really enjoy the nature. On the one side you have the sea and the beaches. It is great to walk along the beach and watch the sea or spend a chill out day with friends. On the other hand you have a lot of nice mountains to climb. The most famous is Laoshan. It is a great experience to go up and you can truly enjoy the view.
Qingdao can also offer you some nice sights and cultural experiences. Come and check out some more interesting spots in Qingdao. For example Zhanshan temple: it is a Buddhist temple located on ZhiQuan Road. Especially during summer it is great to just go there to picnic and enjoy the day. Another good place to go is the Zhongshan Park. This is the main city park. Inside there is an amusement park, nature garden, carnival and petting Zoo and a Botanical Garden. Besides that Qingdao offers many other great places. Go out and explore!
Another big reason for coming to Qingdao is the lifestyle. You have a big city where you can always find a place to go out. You have great restaurants and the previously mentioned barbecue. For fans of the nightlife you have bars like LPG and Charlie’s as well as nightclubs like Muse and Ye Zhao. You will get to know a mixture of Western and Chinese people there. At the same time you have the opportunities to chill out on the beach or in the park. So whatever mood you are in, in Qingdao you can always find a place that makes you happy.
This past Sunday InternChina organised a trip to the famous Laoshan mountain (崂山), located close to the city of Qingdao.
We met with many of the interns at 7.30 AM in the centre of Qingdao and we took a bus for about one hour to arrive at the mountain.
The weather was really nice, blue sky with no clouds. We arrived at the first part of the mountain to visit some old temples, we could smell the incense sticks and see monks that are still living there. From the top of the mount, the view on the yellow sea was amazing.
The Lao mountain is an important place for the Taoist religion and according to an old legend, many Chinese emperors came here to try to meet the immortals. The Laoshan is also famous in Qingdao because of its pure water springs. Originally this water was used to brew the Tsingtao beer and today you can find bottles of water from the mountain in every shop of the city. The water quality is assured by a protected and delimited zone, in order to avoid any kind of pollution that could contaminate the source.
We spent the second part of the day “climbing” another part of the mountain on a cable car, which was quite funny to see in China and without snow, because for some of us, it’s the kind of thing you’re used to have when you’re going skiing during winter.
After arriving at the top, we spent half an hour enjoying the view and chilling before we had to go back down because the bus was waiting for us to go back to the city.
For our weekly InternChina trip, we planned to climb on the Fushan Mountain here in Qingdao. As the weather was really nice and sunny and not too cold not too hot we decided to conquer FuShan!!
FuShan is a very popular hiking alternative, but still it is not the highest mountain. The highest and biggest mountain here in Qingdao is the Laoshan Mountain, we will also plan a trip to Laoshan in the next weeks! Climbing the FuShan Mountain is really worth it, you will have 360° panoramic views of Qingdao.
We met all on Sunday morning at 12 o clock. We were a big group about 20 people, who were excited to climb the mountain. No one of the group had been to the FuShan Mountain before; therefore it was a big challenge to get to the FusShan Mountain, because there are a lot of different entrances all around the huge mountain. We decided to take taxis, in total we needed about 5-6 taxis to get there. I was in the taxi with 3 new interns, so we had no clue how the FuShan Mountain actually looks like. As we arrived we recognized that we are the only ones there, the rest of the group was missing. The problem was that the mountain was so big and the cab driver drops everyone out around FuShan. But, at the end we all found together and it was really funny.
Actually, we thought we will have stairs to get on the top of the mountain, but as I said before no one of us were at FuShan before; no one had an idea of which path to follow. Therefore, we always voted which way to take and it was not always correct but good we had a lot of fun picking a way randomly by voting! We were climbing the mountain and it got higher and higher and also more dangerous. I was really afraid to fall down, because the path to get up was so small and you had no possibility to hold on something. But luckily we had some strong guys in our group who helped us always.
Finally, we reached the top of the mountain with a lot of effort. But this effort was really worth it!! The view from the top of the mountain is more than words can say!! You have a beautiful and clear view over the whole city. After a small repose on the top, we had some beers and food to refuel some energy! We had the opportunity to take a lot of beautiful pictures on the mountain and saved some awesome memories!
And now climbing back down the mountain, this was the most challenging and difficult part of all!! We thought again that we will have stairs to get down the mountain, but again we couldn’t find the stairs.
Unfortunately, we took the most difficult and exciting path!!Getting down the mountain is actually always faster than getting up, but this time to get down was not that quick. It was an incredible feeling to get down the mountain, because left and right were nothing to hold on! But luckily, we all got down safely and made one of the best experiences here in Qingdao!!!
Last Saturday we went to Laoshan for some hiking. Laoshan means ‘mountain lao’ and it is located in the east of Qingdao.
Our Group was guided by Mu & Richard, two ‘Qingdaorens’ who love hiking. Although they are professional guides, they have never been in charge of such a big group of foreigners. We met at 7:45h next to Hisense Plaza where the bus collected us. After 40 minutes, we arrived at the bottom of Laoshan.
It took us nearly 3 hours walking, climbing and abseiling to get to our picnic area where we ordered ‘di san xian’ (地三鲜) and ‘ji’ (鸡). In fact, we didn’t know that this ‘ji’ (chicken) was still alive at the time. But it wasn’t our only weird experience with animals that day. Some of us found snakes in big glasses which were filled with alcohol. The owner of this restaurant told us that this special snake-alcohol would make a man stronger and macho, so some of us drunk it – but sadly didn´t feel any difference!
Right next to the little picnic area was a lovely lake where we all went swimming. The water was fresh and crystal clear. After this nice stop, we were ready to go all the way back. The way down as expected, was much easier than the way up. We also had more time to admire the amazing view.
We all enjoyed the trip, had a great time and are looking forward to the next one,which is likely to be to the Huangdao beach.
Recently Qingdao InternChina office has been busy with helping 36 students settling down in Qingdao for the Summer School programme 2012. One of our first Cultural activities which we organised was a KungFu Class with our experienced Teacher Pan and his assistant Dan, who is an American practising with teacher Pan already for more than five years. Teacher Pan or “Pan Laoshi”, as he is titled by his disciples, started practising Chinese KungFu when he was a little boy. He had to start off in the woods as during the 60ìes Traditional Chinese Kung Fu was not very popular at that time and since then he is practising and teaching outside. You usually would find him practising at 5 o’clock in the morning, however for our German group he made an exception and started off at 2pm.
10 curious Germans joined the class and with the help of American Dan they learnt several Joint locking and self-defense techniques which are very useful and easy to apply. After watching Pan Laoshi doing a full choreography of the “Praying Mantice Style”, he gave an introduction to applications of several moves. Most of them can be used even when the defender is much smaller and skinnier – we all learnt, that is about the precise technique and the right speed than about the muscles. It was a very interesting introduction to Chinese Kung Fu and I guess on sunday it would have been just the right moment for a Chinese massage to relax the stressed muscles.
We are all very happy that you enjoyed the classes and are looking forward to our next activitiy on 4th of August: A hiking trip to Laoshan!
If you want to participate in Kungfu Classes or learn more about Chinese Culture in general, enroll in our language school or do an internship. You can just apply here: www.internchina.com/apply!