Shandong Province is located in the east of China, bordering Hebei, Henan, Anhui, and Jiangsu provinces. With an area of 158,000 square kilometers, it ranks 19th among 23 and has a population of 101.5 million, second only to Guangdong Province. The nation in Shandong is dominated by the Han, accounting for 99.3% of the total population, and the minority is the Hui ethnic, who settled in Shandong after the Mongolian Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368).

Shandong has a long history, with the establishment of vassal states such as Qi and Lu. As one of the birthplaces of Chinese culture, it is the hometown of Confucius, the famous philosopher, and educator. The Confucius-related relics in Qufu (Kong Family Mansion, Temple of Confucius, and Cemetery of Confucius) were named a World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 1994.

Besides the famous Confucius ruins, Shandong is also notable for its beautiful and diverse natural scenery. Jinan, the provincial capital of Shandong, is called Spring City by the Chinese because of the natural springs all over the city. There are 72 well-known springs, but the actual number of springs exceeds this figure. The Taishan Mountain, the Great Eastern Mountain among the famous 5 Taoist sacred mountains in China, is a UNESCO-certified Mixed Cultural and Natural Heritage. Regarded as the holiest mountain, 12 emperors in Chinese history have personally visited Taishan Mountain to pray to the mountain gods for the prosperity of their country.

The beautiful coastal city of Qingdao is one of the most pleasant cities in Asia. In addition to the beautiful seaside scenery, the Gothic architecture left over from the German colonial rule from the late 19th century to the early 20th century is also another feature of Qingdao. At the same time, the Germans have also left a beer culture in Qingdao. The Qingdao International Beer Festival is a grand event for beer lovers. During your trip to Shandong, you can also visit the seaside Rizhao city and its natural parks. Shandong Province is also considered the birthplace of Chinese pottery, porcelain, and silk. You can find handmade traditional items like clocks and watches from Yantai, porcelain from Zibo, kites from Weifang, shell carvings from Qingdao, and other souvenirs with Shandong characteristics.

Useful Information

Area: 158,000 km²
Average annual temperature: 11-14 degrees
Geography: East of China, on the Yellow Sea and the Gulf of Bohai.
Population: 1,015,270,000 inhabitants. (2020)
Altitude: 120 m
Economy: Agriculture (vegetable cultivation, fishing/aquaculture, and winemaking), mining (gold and oil), machinery manufacturing (electrical appliances and locomotives), shipping industry, and port services.

How to Get to Shandong during your stay in China?

By train
Many visitors arrive in Shandong from Beijing and Shanghai. The high-speed train is probably the most convenient way to reach Qingdao and Jinan.

By plane
Domestic planes connect Shandong to other Chinese provinces. The cities of Qingdao, Jinan, Yantai, and Weihai have international airports, with flights from Japan and South Korea.

By boat
Departing from South Korea and Japan, ferries also provide the connection for your trip to China.

When to Go to Shandong?

The best times to visit Shandong are spring and autumn. Temperatures in Shandong are around 26 degrees in summer (May-August) and drop to 3-4 degrees in winter (November and March). In summer, it is cooler in the coastal cities while winters are milder inland.

The province is frequently affected by monsoons from the sea, especially during summer.

Shandong cuisine is considered the No. 1 of the 8 Great Traditions Cuisines in China, and it is also the representative of northern Chinese cuisine. Notably for its long history as well as for its complex cooking and cutting techniques. Most Shandong dishes are characterized by umami tastes. Umami meaning “savory taste”, is one of the five basic flavors sweet, sour, bitter, and salty.

Representative dishes are sweet and sour carp, braised sea cucumber with green onions, braised intestines in brown sauce, and braised prawns in oil.

You will find more detailed information on Chinese gastronomy on the page: Popular Chinese dishes.

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