Since more and more interns seem to be flooding into China for the summer heat, one main question that they always ask on the drive from the airport seems to be ‘What’s the nightlife like here?’. Indeed, all my British friends back home gleefully rub their hands on Skype and question ‘Can you even go partying in China?’ My reply to the latter question is ‘Yes – be quiet!’ and my reply to the former is ‘The nightlife in China has something for everyone’:To go back to my English friends’ comments; I think many of them fantasize that Chinese people don’t like western music, dancing or drink and imagine the clubs here to be tiny little tea houses with quiet music. The opposite in fact is true; all the nightclubs in Qingdao are packed with Western and Chinese party makers and to be honest, there are only a few major differences between my clubs back home and the clubs in China.

First of all, there is generally less dance area in Chinese clubs, more tables and places to sit which suits me perfectly after 2 or 3 gin and tonics. Secondly, what is rather exciting in Chinese clubs is the real life performance that usually happens around midnight. This involves a ‘celebrity’ act performing on stage and dancing, I enjoy it as it breaks up the evening nicely. Sometimes their outfits are more of an acquired taste, but hey – can you ever dress too jazzy?

InternChina - Jazzy Performer
InternChina – Jazzy Performer

Another thing that is pleasant about Chinese bars and clubs is the free alcohol; something that would not economically work for British clubs or work very well for local hospitals in UK student cities, but yes in China, many free drinks are available especially to the ladies. Wednesday nights in Qingdao offer a great break in the week with the InterContinental roof top bar offering a free cocktail followed by Angelina’s bar offering free drinks to girls until midnight. Who can really say no? Well come to think of it, you may need to say no sometimes; Fake alcohol can be a little troublesome and something to be aware of. In Beijing last December, police seized 37,000 bottles of fake booze destined for Sanlitun Bar Street…However, as long as you don’t drink too much you will be okay.

InternChina - View from InterContenintal bar
InternChina – View from InterContenintal bar

In terms of music,  the major clubs play nothing too dissimilar of what would be played in any club in England so you can still move your hips to most of your favorite tunes here. Qingdao also has a large variety of bars where you can do some dancing but mostly chill and hang out. Some of my suggestions are Freeman, LPG and Dubliners; these all offer different vibes and a great place just to be with friends. Qingdao also has the major advantage of being on the coast. This means – beach parties! Last weekend the city held one of it’s first beach parties this summer on beach number three with a view of the evening lights and city-scape of Qingdao. Not only was there great music, free beers, about 45% of InternChina interns present – barbecue food was also available so I would definitely recommend it to anyone when another opportunity rises.

InternChina - Beach Party
InternChina – Beach Party

Don’t like bars and not a ‘clubber’? Prefer to drink in solace? This is no problem either. Alcohol is abundant in most convenience stores and big spirit brands are available at average prices in supermarkets such as Carrefour and Aeon. If you have had a particularly heavy week – we could suggest Bai jui which literally translates as ‘white alcohol’ . It is a very strong spirit that is sold everywhere in China. (Generally about 40–60% alcohol by volume (ABV). Bottle prices range from 10RMB TO 1000RMB. Personal tip: Do not mistake a cheap bottle for a bottle of water; it may not refresh you as desired!

InternChina - Drinks
InternChina – Drinks

If you are a more sophisticated individual, you may prefer to get a bottle of chardonnay in China which at first I thought was impossible but now have found a little hideout near the coffee street called Dongzhou Wine cellar. There you can get 3 bottles of wine for 100RMB (£10 or €11). One last thing to advise is just to be careful and be responsible, you are in a foreign country and need to feel 100% safe at all times. If you are wanting a more relaxed evening without all the loud music and ‘booozing’, I always take a nice walk along the coast in Qingdao at sunset and enjoy the area.

InternChina - Qingdao Sunset
InternChina – Qingdao Sunset

So to conclude Qingdao this summer has a lot to offer in terms of evening activities. Here at InternChina, we recommend a work hard – play hard attitude. We hope you get a lot out of your internship and wish you learn many things to aid your career and also help your host company. But after 6pm – when you finish work, we wish you love the Chinese night atmosphere and make many friends along the way.

Want to enjoy an internship in China but also enjoy making new friends and enjoy the Chinese nightlife? – Apply now