History of Weihai
Weihai is a city is located near the tip of the Shandong Peninsula, People’s Republic of China. It is one of the major sea ports in Shandong province. Weihai borders Yantai to the west and is a short journey from Korea. This coastal city boasts lush forests, picturesque islands, and more than 600 miles of beachhead. Its clean waters and fertile land have given way to large agricultural cultivation and the largest production of seafood in China. In addition to beauty, Weihai has been a city of great importance since China reopened its doors to foreign investment in the 1980s. Now education and research thrive with students from around the world, and businesses have come to call this city home. Natural beauty, growing business, and high standards of living have led the United Nations and other international groups to name Weihai as one of the most liveable cities in the world.
This beautiful city is also steeped in rich history. While belonging to China now, the area was leased to the United Kingdom for a many years, while the land across the bay was leased to Russia. As time went on, the area was surrendered to the Japanese when China lost territory in the Sino-Japanese War. The area then remained under Japanese control until the end of the Second World War. All this and more can be seen at the Sino-Japanese Museum in Weihai.
Among other attractions, Weihai is a hot spot in China for vacationers both domestic and foreign. Come and gaze off the cliffs at Chengshantou, taking in the waves as they crash along the rocks. Or travel out to Sea Donkey Island, where so many birds come to mate that locals affectionately call it the “Kingdom of Seagulls”. In fact the fall is a great time in Weihai, as hundreds of swans make their way down from Russia to bask in Weihai’s lovely climate. Of course if you have an interest in animals, stop off at the Weihai Zoo. As one of the largest zoos in Shandong, you’ll find dozens of animals and other great entertainment.
But perhaps you’re looking to get away from all the hustle and bustle? If you’d like to slow down and relax, know that Weihai is more than just one of the busiest ports in China. Other than the numerous top-quality resorts located in the area, Weihai is privileged to have more than enough beach for everyone. Grab some fresh fruit in the morning and watch a breath-taking sunrise. Walk through the city and calmly visit the different outdoor art attractions. Finish the day off with a tasty seafood dish at one of the high-rated restaurants in town.
It also has all the necessities that you may demand in your stay, ranging from coffee shops to climbing walls. You will always find things to do if you are willing to go out and explore this wonderful city.
With a long history, Weihai cuisine is a component part of Jiaodong cuisine, a branch of Shandong cuisine. Weihai is well known for meticulously prepared seafood dishes. Local cooks are particular about skills in the use of the kitchen knife, the shape of dishes, duration and degree of cooking and the taste.Local dishes are fresh, crisp and tender, with a light taste and original soup. The representative local dishes include Soy Sauce Sea Cucumbers, Hand-braised Prawns, Lotus Scallops, Soy Sauce Conchs, Crabs with Ginger Juice, Steamed Jiajie Fish, Friend Longevity Vegetables and Weihai Soup. If you don’t particularly desire to eat local food there are plenty of western food restaurants across the whole city.
Transportation in China
Trains are the most affordable way to move around China. The main cities are well connected and there are many fast lines that can be used. Overnight trains are particularly helpful as they reduce wasted travelling time and save money on accommodation.
Train tickets should be bought in advance and during holidays (May, October, summer) you are advised to book them as soon as they are available. The tickets are available online 19 days before the travel date. They can be booked through hostels and hotels. They can also be bought online at www.12306.cn. This whole site is in Chinese but it is possible for a foreigner to use it with a Chinese Mainland credit card and a little help from Peter. Mr. Bedford is also happy to help. If you book tickets you need to pick them up from the station in advance. You must have your passport in order to do this. Every passenger needs their passport to pick up the ticket and to go through ticket control. Be careful to get your number correct.
There are different ways to travel:
- Soft sleeper – The most expensive. 4 beds to a cabin. Very comfortable.
- Hard sleeper – The best way in my opinion. Well priced. There are 6 beds to a compartment. If you travel as a group and book together the seats are often together which is very helpful.
- Seats – There are hard and soft seats. I have only used these for shorter journeys but they seem relatively comfortable, especially on the bullet trains.
It is possible to buy food and drinks on the train and they also offer hot water for the best travelling food; Ramin noodles. Bring your own toilet roll, a general rule when travelling around Asia.
You can use a variety of sites to check the train times. Be careful, the English sites often advertise higher prices as they include commission.
Weihai station has trains to a few locations including Jinan and Beijing. The overnight Beijing train is 16 hours but is a reasonable way to get there. You can book the tickets in the station by going to the desk.
There are many flights around China and good deals can be found if you are willing to wait. Interestingly in China the prices decrease with time. That means that a last minute flight can sometimes be cheaper. However, it is not a hard and fast rule and good deals can also be found in advance. It’s a bit of a lottery.
The two best sites in terms of convenience are www.elong.net and english.ctrip.com. They both have competent English speakers on 24 hour hotlines. Tickets can be bought using foreign cards and Chinese credit cards. Ctrip is particularly good for International flights, Elong for domestic.
I would also advise joining frequent flyer clubs if you are likely to travel a lot. The two main ones are Star Alliance and Sky Team. Star Alliance has both Asiana Airlines and Air China and SkyTeam has China Eastern and China Southern. You can visit the airline sites to join these clubs. They also include many other International Airlines so it is worth seeing which airline you use for your native country. The third main airline group is One World.
Taxis are a very useful way to travel around. As a general rule, ensure that the meter is used and don’t get into a taxi with a driver sitting outside. There are often drivers waiting around airports and train stations trying to grab unsuspecting tourists. They will also be metered tabs in these places so look for them. That said, it is possible to get good deals in touristy places with private cars. A bit more Chinese helps here as well as an understanding of what a good price is. In October 2013 we were waiting to catch a bus to the station. A man came up with a 14 seater bus. We had 11 in our party. He offered to take us on the 2 hour journey for a total of 500 RMB. It saved a lot of time and effort. It’s worth finding out what is on offer. You can always say ‘no’.
Banking in Weihai
Woori bank is very useful as some of the clerks can speak English. You can transfer money home and the cash machines are available 24/7 for withdrawing and depositing cash. You can have up to 4 bank cards at any time. This is especially helpful if you lose one. If you leave your card in a machine it is often easier to say you lost it as they will replace it straight away. Sometimes they insist on trying to recover it, a process that can be very time consuming.
Credit cards are useful, especially for using Chinese sites. They don’t function as standard credit cards. You are required to put money into the account and then spend it. You can only spend money already in the account. Teachers with credit cards normally use the Bank of China. The process for getting a card is relatively simple.
The cards are useful on sites like:
It is particularly helpful to use them to book flights as you can use the money earned in China, not savings from home.
For further information on Weihai, contact any of our teaching staff they will be willing to share their extensive knowledge of local life in Weihai.