Top Things about a Layover in Qingdao

Top Things about a Layover in Qingdao

Located on the southern tip of the Shandong Peninsula in eastern China, Qingdao (also known as Tsingtao) is well known for its lovely beaches, classical European architecture and ample green landscape. Qingdao is also famous around the world for the beer it produces; the Tsingtao Beer factory was founded here in 1903.

Good to Know: you can arrive in Qingdao at either Qingdao Liuting International Airport (TAO) or Qingdao International Cruise Home Port. Qingdao Airport is located 31 km (19.3 mi) from the city center and the cruise home port is located 9 km (5.6mi) from the city center. Once you are eligible for the 144-Hour Visa-free Transit, you can visit all the tour attractions within Shandong Province. The most famous tour attractions in other cities in the province include: Mount Tai, Confucius Temple in Qufu, Penglai Pavilion etc.

1. Can I leave the airport/port during a layover in Qingdao?

You cannot leave the airport if you don’t have a visa or are not eligible for the 144 hour transit visa exemption policy.

You are eligible for the 144 hour transit visa exemption policy if you:

  • A. Booked a flight ticket to a third country or region
  • B. Hold a passport from one of the following countries:
    America: The United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Chile
    Europe: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland Russia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia (FYROM), Albania, Belarus and Monaco.
    Oceania: Australia and New Zealand
    Asia: Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, United Arab Emirates and Qatar

2. As an eligible foreign passenger, what should I do to apply for the 144-Hour Visa-free Transit?

It is very easy to apply for the 144-hour visa-free transit, you just need 3 steps:

Step 1: Prepare the required documents for 144-Hour Visa-free Transit. You need a valid passport (at least 3 months of validity), book your direct flight ticket to a third country after China, and get a visa to the third country (if required) .

Step 2: When you board the flight or cruise ship to Qingdao, you should tell the agent at the airport/port that you are eligible for the 144-Hour Visa-free Transit in China and that you have all the necessary documents with you.

Step 3: When you arrive at Qingdao airport/port, you’ll be looking for a specific line for those applying for a 144-hour transit visa. Normally, it will only take you 5-10 mins to get the sticker “Temporary Entry Permit” on a blank page of your passport. Then everything is done.

3. Luggage storage at Qingdao airport

The luggage storage is located on the 2nd level of the departure hall. Depending on the size of your luggage, the price varies from 20 yuan(3.3 USD) to 50 yuan (7 USD) per day.

4. Qingdao airport Wi-Fi

Free Wi-Fi is available if you have a Chinese phone number to get the verification code. If not, you can find a lounge and use their Wi-Fi.

5. Airport Lounge and hotel

Regardless of what class of service you are flying, there are lounges that you can enter by purchasing a lounge pass or through a lounge membership program (i.e. Priority Pass).

If you want to find a hotel near the airport, you can consider the following hotels:

  • Holiday Inn Qingdao Parkview – (7 minute walk from the airport) Free airport shuttle is available on schedule.
  • Qingdao KuaiTong International Hotel (5 minute walk from airport) free pick up is available on request.
  • Pullman Qingdao Ziyue – (5 minute drive from the airport terminal) Airport shuttle is available.

6. What are the transportation options from airport to city?

Taxi: There are two kinds of taxis in Qingdao, deluxe taxis and ordinary taxis. Flag fall for a deluxe taxi is 12 yuan (1.7 USD) and 10 yuan (1.4 USD) for an ordinary taxi. It will cost you about 80 yuan (11.4USD) to the city center.

Shuttle bus: there are 5 bus lines that will get you to different destinations in the city. It is 20 yuan (2.8 USD) for the bus to the city center.

7. Where is Qingdao International Cruise Home Port?

The Qingdao International Cruise Terminal Area is located at the old part of Qingdao Port, which dates back to 1892, with 9 km of coastline and a floor area of 4.2 sq. km. The port is one of the few in the world adjacent to a downtown area and can berth a 230,000 gt. colossal cruise ship (like Symphony of the Seas of Royal Caribbean).

The supporting passenger transportation center covers an area of 59,000 square meters, with a clearance capacity of 3,000 to 4,000 people per hour.

8. Top-rated attractions in Qingdao

Name of Tourist Attraction Distance(from airport) Recommended visiting time Why visit here? How to get here?
Qingdao Beer Museum 29km (18mi) 1.5 hrs Nice museum with rich history. You can also taste raw beer here. Airport Express #702 and get off at the Sifang Long distance bus station and change to bus line#221 and get off at Qingdao Beer Museum station
Qingdao Site Museum Of The Former German Governor's Residence 30km (19mi) 1 hour It is a lovely example of German colonial architecture in China. Public bus line#305 and get off at Shili Yiyuan station
Qingdao Catholic Church 30km (19mi) 0.5 hour Landmark of Qingdao Public bus line#305 and get off at Zhifu Road
Zhanqiao Pier 31km (19mi) 1 hour The Pier offers a 360-degree view of the bay and the Qingdao skyline. Bus line#305 and get off at Guangxi Road Station
Qingdao Zhongshan Park 34km (21mi) 1 hour Good place for cherry blossoms Airport Express #702 and get off at Xiaocun-zhuang Station and change to bus line#302 and get off at Xiaoxihu Station
Badaguan Scenic Resort (Eight Passes) 34km (21mi) 2 hrs World Architecture Museum You can take Airport Express #702 and get off at the Qingdao railway station and change to bus line#501 and get off at Ning-wuguan Road
Qingdao XiaoYushan (Little Fish Hill) Park 34km (21mi) 1 hour Here you can have a 360-degree view of the city Airport Express #702 and get off at Xiaocun-zhuang Station and change to bus ling#367 and get off at RenMinHui Tang Station
The Jiaozhou Bay Bridge 36km (23mi) 1 hour 36km long, one of the longest bridges in the world. Winner of the George S. Richard-son Medal. You need to take a taxi
Laoshan (Mount Laoshan) Scenic Area 36km (23mi) 4-6 hrs Cradle of Taoism, breathtaking views of mountains and open ocean. You can take public transport to this place, but we strongly recommend that you join in a tour group. It will be difficult for you to visit it on your own

9. How many hours before the flight should we get back to the airport?

We recommend that you get back to airport at least 3 hrs before your flight.

10. Recommended Qingdao layover tour packages

If you have 6 hours to visit Qingdao during your layover

We recommend that you have a city tour to Xiaoyushan Park, Badaguan area and Qingdao Beer Museum.

If you have 9-12 hours

We recommend that you include a half day tour to Laoshan Scenic Area and a half day city tour to Xiaoyushan Park, Badaguan area and Qingdao Beer Museum.

If you have 2 to 3 days

We recommend a one day tour to Laoshan Scenic Area and the 2nd day for the city tour to Xiaoyushan Park, Qingdao Site Museum of the Former German Governor's Residence, Qingdao Catholic Church, Badaguan area and Qingdao Beer Museum .

If you have 3rd day to spare, you can consider a day tour to a nearby city like Weihai where they have a great Memorial Hall about Jiawu Battle.

By Leon Long
Travel Specialist