Exploring Old Qingdao: A Guide to the Area’s Main Attractions

Exploring Old Qingdao: A Guide to the Area’s Main Attractions

There are many hills and windy roads in Old Qingdao. The old area created and designed a hundred years ago as a colony by Germany still stands. After touring with a German professor that had a vast knowledge of German history and archeology, I came to understand Qingdao the fishing village, the German Colony, the Japanese occupation and Chinese influence before and after the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

What is actually lovely about this old part of the Qingdao city is how well preserved it is, and how it can become more brilliant in the future. The old German town is a great place to go for a walk and to flashback to a century ago.  There are many back roads to explore with tons of history and dejavue. There are also many hilltops where you can catch the beauty of the museum of red roofed Bavarian architecture that Qingdao is symbolic for.  For those that enjoy history and sightseeing, there are many museums, temples and sites to see.

Old Qingdao is the area where the Germans first set foot and colonized. Zhan Qiao pier stands as the older part of Qingdao where of course ships docked and transported machinery, product and people. At the base of Qingdao Bay is where beaches, a small Pier, commercial areas, the German government town office, police station and eventually a train station was built. What the Germans created in such a short time is amazing. In 15 years they built the city's infrastructure, government buildings, universities, theaters, hotels, stores and apartment buildings which are still well intact today.

What’s there to do?

Pichai Yuan劈柴院 View In Map
It was about to be condemned and demolished. Due to public outcry local government turned it into a city treasure where local culture, history and opera are held and displayed. Pichai Courtyard is a great place to hangout in a morning or afternoon, eat some snacks and learn more about local Chinese culture. You can also have dinner while taking in some Beijing Opera. After lunch there you can continue up Zhongshan Lu for more of the Old German Town Tour.
Add: Zhongshan Lu, Shinan District, Qingdao
Getting there: Take bus to no. 2, 5 and 301 and get off at Zhongshan lu Bus-Stop  

The Old German Town TourView In Map
It is more impressive if you have a guide to explain in detail about each individual neighborhood. Just walking around, however, you can learn quite a bit from the plaques mounted on the old buildings and sites. The older part now, since they have knocked done Xiaogan “little harbor” is the area south of Zhongshan Lu.The main streets to walk around are Zhongshan Lu, Guangxi Lu, Yishui Lu, Hunan Lu, Hubei Lu, Jiangxi Lu, Qingdao Lu, Longchan Lu and streets off of them.
I suggest starting from Zhongshan Lu. Go to the Catholic Church, and then continue down Zhongshan Lu to Guangxi Lu.  Zhongshan Lu was originally called Frederick Straten (Frederick Street) after a German Governor. A lot of the old area here was knocked down due to battles. Many building were built after the Germans left by either the Japanese or the Chinese. There is still some German architecture remaining.
Add: Zhongshan Lu, Shinan District, Qingdao青岛市南区中山路
Getting there: Take bus to no. 2, 5 and 301 and get off at Zhongshan lu Bus-StopView In Map

Take a left at Guangxi Lu which was also called “Prince Henry’s Rd” in colonial times. Prince Henry road was a commercial street where Kashkow's (another name of Old Tsingtao) pharmacy, library, post Office, and hospital were located. Fifty meters south is the bay where you can check out Gentlemen’s Club, Zhanqiao Pier (栈桥), a music hall and the ocean.
Once you reach Qingdao lu, you are at the entrance of the one hundred year old German Colonial town center. Hunan Lu and Yishui Lu is where Germans set up their German town hall (Yishui lu) and court house on Hunan Lu and Hubei Lu.  Walking behind the government building will bring you up to the old residential areas where the common people at the time lived. There is also a park up on that hill.
Add: 12 Taiping Lu, Shinan District, Qingdao 青岛市太平路12号
Tel: 0532 8288 4548
Getting there: take bus to no. 2, 5 and 301 and get off at Zhongshan lu Bus-Stop

The Beer Street 青岛啤酒街 View In Map
Qingdao's Beer Street located on Dengzhou lu is a great way to spend a morning and/or afternoon. You can also incorporate a lunch or dinner into the trip since the beer street has many restaurants that serve fresh beer and food.  Most of the Restaurants have outdoor and indoor seating. Keep in mind having the brewery across the street keeps their beer fresh.

Add: Dengzhou Lu, Shibei District, Qingdao 青岛市北区的登州路
Getting there: by bus take no. 2, 8, 211, 217 or 218 and get off at the Lijin stop.

Tsingtao Brewery Museum 青岛啤酒博物馆 View In Map
After eating you can check out the Old Tsingtao Brewery also known as the Brewery Museum. The Qingdao Beer museum has lots of areas where you can taste the beer and better familiar yourself with China's famous brew. The museum educates the public about how beer is made, and you actually get to see the factory.

Add: 56 DengZhou Lu, Shibei District, Qingdao 青岛市北区登州路56号
Tel: 0532 8383 3437
Getting there: by bus take #2, #8, #211, #217, #218 and get off at the Lijin stop..

Old Observatory Youth Hostel 奥博维特青年旅舍 View In Map
The Old Observatory is a nice place to visit. Built in 1904, it is the first contemporary observatory in China. However, nowadays the building is home to a Youth Hostel. It has a great view of the old German town from your room and its rooftop café. You can view many landmarks while enjoying a beverage. Mamahuhu café is a friendly rooftop café offering cheap beers and decent dumplings (Jiaozi). The Café is also a great place to relax and talk to friends. Guests are friendly and from all over the world. You can even rent a room if you like, but don’t forget to make a reservation.

Add: 21 Guanxiang Er Lu, Qingdao  青岛市观象二路21
Tel: 0532 8282 2626
Getting There:
Take Bus No. 1,221,225,and get off at Guanxiang Lu Stop
Take Bus No. 2,5,212,214,218,225,305,308 and get off at Shili Yiyuan Stop.
(Municipal Hospital)
Take Bus No. 228,231,367, and get off at Qingyi Fuyuan Stop
Note: Print out the name card if taking a taxi. http://www.hostelqingdao.com/taxi-card.pdf

Old Church Lounge View In Map
Originally an old German church, the Old Church Lounge is in another well known Youth Hostel in the Old area. It is a nice bar that often has live entertainment at times. The Bar is not so expensive and has decent food.

Add: Kai Yue International Youth Hostel, 31 Jining Lu, Shinan District, Qingdao 青岛市南区济宁路31号凯越国际青年旅馆
Tel: 0532 8284 5450
Getting there: By bus: Take the NO.2 or NO.5 bus and get off at Zhongshan road

Besides checking out the old German Town there are other places that you can visit.  The parks are now free but most places don't charge much. Some places worth seeing are Little Fish Hill, Signal Hill, Governors Palace, Badaguan, Zhongshan Park, Zhanqiao Pier, War Museum, Navy Museum, Beach no. 6, and the train station.  These spots are very relaxing especially the tops of hills where you can have a cup of tea and a great view of old Qingdao.

All in all what to do in old German Town is best described by a local saying, "When in Qingdao go to the beach, drink Beer, climb hills and eat gala (clams)", and do it everyday for happiness. The old end has its own pace, its own way of life. Enjoy.

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Keywords: Old German town Qingdao main attractions old Qingdao old Qingdao guide exploring old qingdao


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