One thing about travelling is that you dread the arrival of the last day. The last day of fun and exploration before I’m back into the boring working life. For the earlier part of the day, we visited Lao Shan (崂山), a legendary mountain by the eastern coast of China, with undulating granite peaks of up to one thousand metres. There are many monuments, historical relics and temples on Lao Shan, which makes it a popular tourist attraction for many.
Lao Shan (崂山)
Of the various different viewing routes in Lao Shan, we chosen the Southern route which offers more attractions, but also inevitably more touristy. Taking the free shuttle bus, our first stop was Ba Shui He (八水河), a still river with a picturesque view within Lao Shan. Touristy as it seems, the walkways and staircases along the river are filled with mini stores selling all sorts of souvenirs. For the lazy ones, there are even carriage service up the long stretch of staircases.
Walking up and up, we arrived at a small bridge beside one of Lao Shan’s springs, which was filled with golden padlocks on both sides of the bridge. Tiantian and I happily bought a pair of them with our names inscribed. (: It took us several minutes just to find a tiny space to lock our padlocks on, but the fun and memory left there was well worth. Hope I’ll be back there someday to find our padlocks again…
Our second stop was Tai Qing Palace (太清宫), the largest remaining Taoist building in Lao Shan. Taoist culture has been flourishing in Lao Shan since early history, though many nunneries and temples have been destroyed due to various reasons. We had a young tour guide that brought us around the vicinity, explaining to us the various interesting facts about Taoism and their practices.
Every inscription or building structure has a religious meaning to it. Out of all the interesting practices, the common one was that guys have cross through doors with their right leg first, while girls cross with their left leg. Although I’m not a religious person, it was fun touring this place while understanding the culture and history behind it. A tour round the 7 acres of Tai Qing Palace only took us an hour, as we weren’t really there for praying like most locals do.
Lastly, we took a cable car up Lao Shan for some sightseeing. Besides taking a cable car up, the adventurous ones can opt to walk up the continuous flights of staircases which we weren’t game enough for, haha. Sadly, we didn’t spend much time further up in Lao Shan, as we were in a rush to our next activity. This tour of Lao Shan is probably only a taster, as there are still various other attractions and alternative routes that I didn’t have the chance to visit.
Sailing on Qingdao Hao (青岛号)!
The last activity of my Qingdao trip turned out to be the most exclusive one – a short ride on a mini cruise around the harbour of Qingdao Olympic Sailing Centre! With the courtesy of a friend of Tiantian’s dad, he took us for a short ride on Qingdao Hao 青岛号, the cruise used to carry to Olympic Torch to Qingdao during the Beijing 2008 Olympics. Cool huh.
The ride was a combination of the panaromic scenery of Qingdao’s coast, the calming sunset and the strong sea breeze. (: It was a new experience for me, one that most tourists to Qingdao wouldn’t get a chance to experience. :P
After the cruise, we headed back home for dinner, but stopped by a still-bustling wet market first to get some fresh and cheap seafood. I guess it was really a seafood galore compared to the wet markets in Singapore. My final dinner at Tiantian’s house was a home-cooked one, with seafood, roasted duck and lots of steamed dumplings. :D
The End :(
Well, that sums up my final day in Qingdao. I have to really thank Tiantian and her family for being such nice hosts during my stay there, if not, this trip would not have been such a success. Even though this trip lasted a total of 9 days together with Guilin, it felt like an extremely short trip. But also a trip with lovely memories that I am still holding on to dearly.
Now, which part of this lonely planet shall I dominate next?