Qingzhou (青州, Qīngzhōu) is a city in Shandong Province in Eastern China.
Qingzhou is a developing and rarely visited (by foreigners) city of nearly a million people. The number of cranes outnumber foreign tourists hundredfold.
In China, this city is mostly famous for being surrounded by beautiful (and typically "Chinese-looking") mountains, including Tou Shan (Camel Mountain) and Yunmen Shan (Cloud Gate Mountain), which includes an ancient collection of Buddhist grottoes under national protection. They are located approximately 4 kilometers southwest of the city center.
The most bustling part of the city is around the People's market in the crossing of Yao Wang Shan West Rd and Yunmen Shan North Road with a high number of shopping malls centered in this area (pictured Wang Fu Xi Jie Street is a parallel to Yao Wang Shan West Rd). There is also some action on Yunmen Shan South Rd just south of the river, which is lined with nice pathways for easy strolling.
Just north of the same river crossing is a newly built coulisse area meant for tourism. The architecture is suppose to look traditional Chinese and the locals talk it about as the Song Cheng Rd. It offers more upscale restaurants and a clean and proper environment.
The city has a well built road infrastructure with wide and long boulevards so there is not a lot of road congestion.
Qingzhou is a stop on the Beijing-Qingtao express train route. The railway station however is, for some reason the Chinese government will most likely explain in the coming 15 years, located 4-5 kilometers outside the city in no man's land. Taxi's with meters are easy to find, but a taxi is likely the only help a lost traveler will get at this remote railway station.
- Fan Gongting, an ancient pavilion built in Song Dynasty. It was a private garden of Fan Zhongyan who was the most notable poet and prosiast in an age of lively literature prosperous.
- Muslim district, including at least two large and historic mosques. The oldest one is the Zhenjiao Mosque (真教寺). It can date from eight centuries ago, which is one of the three most well-known mosques in Yuan Dynasty.
- Ou Yuan, a Ming Dynasty garden. It turned to be a combination of park and zoo, and is used as a performance area for citizens in the dawn and nightfall.
- Qingzhou Museum, featuring some of the Buddhist statues unearthed in 1996/1997
- Tuoshan/Yunmenshan ("Camel Mountain/Cloud Gate Mountain"), which includes an ancient collection of Buddhist grottoes under national protection. The mountain is located approximately 4 kilometers southwest of the city center
- Yang Tian, a natural park with marverlous surface features. It is covered by virgin forest, through which crystal rivers are flowing, and dotted with quantities of natural rock cavities. What makes this park more amazing is the so-called thousand Buddha's cave, which is considered as the first cave for the Buddhas. This is because of the huge volume of the cavern and the 1048 Buddhas in it that are in different postures and look extraordinarily vivid.
Hiking in the mountains with beautiful views of Chinese looking mountains. Hiking up the Yunmen Shan can be a problem since it is fenced in, but most of the other peaks seem to be accessible.
Menus are generally not in English though some restaurants have picture menus or food displayed in the entrance.
Brazilian BBQ Restaurant. Why not open a Brazilian restaurant in Qingzhou...? It is located on Hai Dai Zhong Lu just east of the river. It's the first restaurant to the south after crossing the river eastwards. It has an excellent meat buffet for ¥78 with an impressive variety - cow, pig, chicken, goose, lamb, prawn, fish, duck, ox heart, ox tongue, and of course as always - the obligatory oddity... here, a grilled tiny baby sparrow.
For some local exoticism, walk down Qianyinzi Rd westwards from Days Hotel & Suites on the north side. Go into the alleys 200-300 meters down (lights will show the way) and invite yourself to one of the restaurants that look more like you have entered someone's living room. Sit on chairs, smaller than a 6-pack, and order the surprisingly delicious goose feet.
Safer options can be found in the more upscale Song Cheng Rd area, including the well known hot pot restaurant Liu Yi Guo.
Several fast food joints are present in the area around People's market on Yao Wang Shan West Rd, including Dicos's, There is a KFC just south of the river on Yunmen Shan South Rd, but no McDonalds.
Apart from the typical KTV's (karaoke) there seems to be very few Western style bars.
Outside Bar. Facing the bridge and river in the touristy Song Cheng Rd area. This large bar/club has fancy (kitschy?) decor, professional staff, Western drink menu and would be successful in any modern European city if it wouldn't play "Hotel California" as gearing-up-the-party music and have one waiter per customer.
There is one rather empty bar across the street, northwards, of Days Hotel with an unused drum set and large beer for ¥12. It has two large pictures of a Western looking "laowai" (foreigner) on the wall so its intention is probably to cater to the Western bar crowd.
Qingzhou has several hotels in many different price ranges, though few of them are accessible through English web sites. The general rule, as in many parts of China, seems to be that booking through the web gives much better price than showing up at the door.
- Shenghong International Holiday Hotel, ☎ . Southeast corner of Yaowang Shan Rd & Hengwangfu Rd intersection. Sometimes referred to as Holiday Inn though it is not. Comfortable 4-star hotel with prices of about ¥350 for a standard double. 20-storey building with views in all directions.
- Bei Long Garden Hotel, ☎ . 500 m south of the crossing of Fenghuang Shan Rd & Yang Tian Shan Rd. 5-star hotel situated 4 km south of the city at the foot of the mountains in the country side. The hotel is vast, and rather cold and empty in the winter. It has a Chinese and a Western restaurant, fitness, swimming pool and even a shooting room. No bar however. To start hiking, one needs to walk for 20 minutes along a road.
None of the places mentioned have staff who speak good English though they try hard and are friendly.