The reason why these are chosen is that they are tourist destinations for Chinese tourists, not ones on a typical tour of China. Even though they are oriented toward tourists, they are not oriented toward “western” tourists and give some insight into what Chinese people look for and value in their time off.
Qingdao is a seaside city where people come to “play”, in Chinese as in English this means to relax and have fun. Because of it’s location Qingdao is not as hot in the summer and tends to have better air quality than many of the cities nearby. It is on the fast train line and people from Shandong can get there in a couple of hours, making it popular for long weekends (many, if not most, Chinese people work six days a week so a trip is only practical on long weekends).
Food is a big part of life in China. In Qingdao that means seafood.
Qingdao is a pretty seaside
town city. It reminds me a bit of San Francisco: seaside, interesting architecture…and of course beer, a gift from the Germans who occupied the area for a time.
Qufu is famous as the hometown of Confucius. Chinese people come here to appreciate and learn about their culture. It is not generally oriented to the foreign tourist. It is usually “done” in a combination with Taishan in two days. Starting with Qufu in the morning and winding up watching the sunrise at the top of Taishan the next morning.
Since that isn’t my style I went to each as it’s own place. Arriving in Qufu in late afternoon, after the tour groups had departed for Tai’an it was quiet and relaxed, like a stage after the performance is over.
By contrast, the city officially opens with a performance of song and dance at 8:00 am.
Qufu’s main attraction is the “three Kongs”: Kong Miao, the Confucius Temple; Kong Fu the “mansion” which is where the extended family lived; and Kong Lin, lin means forest, but it is also an extensive cemetary. Kong is the Confucius family name.