Having trouble trying to decide which city is the best option for you? Read our Qingdao City Guide and learn about what this wonderful beach town has to offer.

Seafood, sailing, beaches, and beer: the recipe for the perfect city to teach English!

Qingdao is a unique city with a blend of Asian and European influences, as it was previously occupied by Germany before World War I and is also home to one of the largest Korean populations in China.

With beautiful German architecture and a brewery which pumps out tons of the famous Tsingtao beer daily, Qingdao provides a mixed bag of new and exciting experiences to be had.

Toss in clean, crisp, sea air compared to the thick smog seen in most large Chinese cities and Qingdao just might be home for longer than you anticipate. In fact, Qingdao has been considered one of the top ten most livable cities in China more than once.

Why should someone teach English in Qingdao?

Qingdao is the largest city in eastern, coastal Shandong province. An important port and trade city, Qingdao is a bustling hub of business.

This business attracts foreigners hoping to turn their internships into real jobs and significantly increases the demand for great English teachers.

Qingdao boasts one of China’s most important mountains, Laoshan, considered the birthplace of Taoism.

A bit further down the road, still in Shandong province is Mount Tai, one of the Five Great Mountains of China.

Needless to say, Qingdao is just the place for any adventurer looking for a challenging hike (and for the rest of us, we can take the cable cars).

And you can’t talk about Qingdao without mentioning the guilty pleasures of this coastal, Chinese retreat: beer and seafood.

Known for its spread of underwater delicacies, Qingdao fits the bill when it comes to discovering delicious new seafood.

And what exactly does one wash down those delicious clams with? None other than the world-famous Tsingtao beer.

Thanks to the Germans who built in the brewery, Qingdao continues to reap the benefits of the European influences of its past.

Both very drinkable and affordable, you will encounter much of this green-bottled elixir. And if you’d rather forgo the bottle, most corner stores and street barbeques will sell Tsingtao by the bag-full, and even give you a straw to help you enjoy with immediacy.

Qingdao is also a Chinese city that has moved slightly further into the limelight after participating in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, hosting most of the sailing competitions. This brought a flash of newness to the city and exposed Qingdao to the rest of China and the world.

Another factor that brings Qingdao to the world’s stage is its annual Qingdao Beer Festival. For two weeks in August, Qingdao plays host to not only its namesake, Tsingtao, but also beers from around the world in a not-to-be-missed celebration.

Providing foreigners a great excuse to taste-test new (and familiar) beers, the Qingdao Beer Festival also gives plenty of opportunities to “ganbei!” (or bottoms up) with the locals.

Though Qingdao is a city on the move and home to roughly seven million people, compared to other large Chinese cities, very few of those people are foreigners.

This means the foreign community in Qingdao is an incredibly friendly, welcoming bunch and meeting interesting, new people is easy to come by.

For people looking to make great friends to share this amazing experience with, Qingdao is the place to be.

And thanks to a relatively small foreigner population, Qingdao is prime location to immerse yourself in the Chinese culture and learn and practice your Mandarin skills (though this is not a deal-breaker; rest assured Qingdao locals are also fluent in foreigner pointing and Charades).

What does it cost to live in Qingdao?

As a whole China is a much cheaper place to live than most Western countries.

Compared to the larger, more densely populated cities in China, like Shanghai and Beijing, Qingdao is an even more affordable place to live.

As a foreigner working in China, you can expect to make more than twice that of the average local teacher.

With a comfortable salary and essentially no expenses thanks to the accommodation provided by most schools, you will have ample opportunity to save money, pay off debts from back home, or finance future travel.

As far as everyday purchases go the chart below can give you an idea of what to expect:

Cost of Living in Qingdao





Local lunch




Local dinner




One Liter of Water




Instant Noodles




One Liter of Milk




Local beer
















Movie ticket




Hour Massage




Gym membership (per month)








Getting to Qingdao

By plane: This is the most common form of transportation for arriving to Qingdao.

The Qingdao Liuting International Airport has flights to most large cities in China, with daily services from Beijing and Shanghai. International flights include Hong Kong, Seoul, and Japan.

By bus: Arriving by bus is an option from several cities in China including Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Hefei as well as the smaller cities of Weihai, Jinan, and Yantai.

By train: There are daily trains to and from Beijing and Shanghai, as well as other cities in Shandong province.

By boat: If you have one or two days to commit to a ferry trip that’s also an option for you, albeit the slowest one. Qingdao has a passenger ferry terminal with trips to and from Incheon, South Korea and Shimonoseki, Japan.

And on the off chance you want to leave this eastern China oasis, the Qingdao Liuting International Airport is on the outskirts of town to whisk you off on your next adventure.

Is Qingdao a good fit for you?

Do you want to live, work, and travel in China but prefer to be able to breathe while doing so? Perhaps even lounge on a beach as well? Do you love seafood and beer? Would you enjoy being a part of a small, close-knit community of foreigners? If so then Qingdao is the place for you to get the most of China!

Qingdao City Guide Written By Blaiqe Allshouse

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