Difference between revisions of "Weifang"
Revision as of 04:50, 23 April 2012
Weifang (潍坊; Wéifāng) is a city in Shandong Province.
Weifang is located in the center of Shandong province in between Jinan to the West and Qingdao to the East. The self proclaimed "Kite Capital of the World", Weifang and its winds are well known throughout the province.
Besides kites, Weifang is forever under the constructor's crane with new buildings popping up seemingly overnight. Modern and new but still retaining its old-school charm, Weifang is a unique place to witness the "real China" (or the new China) where the past meets the future in an endless array of complete contradiction and awe-inspiring moments that truly is the essence of the People's Republic of China.
Weifang has a certain characteristic in its exceptionally wide and straight boulevards that make out a chess pattern for many kilometers, resembling some American cities and perhaps also Beijing. However, the boulevards are much too wide for its number of vehicles so they very rarely get too crowded. Traffic jams are most uncommon and, due to the city's flatness, one can sometimes look down a 10-lane boulevard stretching to the horizon without a single car on it.
Foreigners are a rare sight. If you are European-looking prepare to be stared at and given a lot of (friendly) attention.
The train station is very new and comfortable when compared to other cities in the province.
Weifang is on the main line from Jinan to Qingdao and by bullet train it's about 2 hours to Jinan and only an hour to get to Qingdao. There's plenty of transport outside the station, however the immediate surrounding area is undergoing heavy construction (welcome to Weifang). From the station take bus 56 to get to the downtown spots. As with every train station in the country, beware of the taxi drivers waiting to overcharge unsuspecting foreigners. This previous para, is incorrect or old information now, and should be removed. All Green and Gold taxis are "Beijing Hyundai Elantra's" they are all correctly metered The Blue taxis, which are slowly being replaced, are Volks Waggon Santana's, they are also fully metered. There is no need walk away from the station to the road and catch a taxi who uses the meter. When exiting Weifang train station, the taxis at the ground level are "long distance" taxis, ie, more than 10km distance for your travel The taxis at the upper (1st level) are the general taxis for Weifang downtown areas. Currently (April 2012) the fare starts at 5 rnb, plus 1 rnb fuel surcharge, totally 6 rnb, This will take you to almost all down town locations.
If departing there are many ticket agencies around the city that sell train tickets with only a 5 or 10 yuan service fee, making it unnecessary to head back to the station and wait in the crowded lines. Agency operators (as with most citizens in this small city) most likely will not speak English. Booking your train a few days in advance is advisable.
There are three main bus stations in Weifang, 1/ First of which is completed construction and is located across the train station. 2/ Second of which is down the road from the train station - one kilometer or so, adjacent to the "cheap market" in Quingnian Rd.. 3/ Of which is the other long distance bus station on Jiankang East Street
With the new China Rail Highspeed (CHR)trains, short-distance buses see much less passengers, however during holidays are sometimes the only way to go. As there is no pre-booking of bus tickets, simply show up the day (morning is better) you want to go.
Qingdao airport: if catching a flight from Qingdao it is cheaper and sometimes more efficient to take the bus from Weifang to Qingdao, the minibus, which is a Ford Transit 16 seater, stops at departures at Qingdao Airport. The cost is 70 rnb. Many Chinese people do exactly this. Taking a train to Qingdao will require taking either an airport bus or taxi, back the way you came, about 20 minutes outside of Qingdao to where the airport is located. Traveling from Weifang directly to Qingdao airport by bus takes about 2 hours and costs 70 rnb.
Travel tip: buses in China generally do not have toilets on them and they sometimes go for hours (especially sleeper buses) without stopping.
Weifang buses much like the city itself are new and therefore quite comfortable when not peak travel times. Buses start around 6am ending at about 10pm in the summer and 9pm in the winter.
The two main roads are Dongfeng Jie and Shengli Jie which bus #16 and #56 both service. Bus 16 follows a circular loop along both of these two main streets while bus 56 starts at the train station and ends at the other side of the city at Weifang University.
90 % of the taxi's in Weifang are now green and gold taxi's, these are Hyundai Elantra's. The older blue are slowly being replaced, they are Volks Wagon Santana's. Taxi's will go 3 kilometers before adding about 1.6 yuan per each extra kilometer. An extra one yuan fuel fee is to be paid to the driver at the end of your voyage. Weifang proper is quite small so getting from end of the city to the other won't cost more than ¥20.
Weifang's claim to fame is its kites and a visit to Weifang should include some exposure to the kite culture here.
A shopping trip to Weifang would most definitely include a kite. For yourself or as a gift, put on a wall or fly it in the wind. Versatile, pretty, unique. Remember to bargain hard with the shop owner.
There is a Technological Market 科技市场 in Weifang, located near the Medical University. Take bus #16.
Shopping on the old road is also an interesting time. Antiques, handicrafts, scroll-like wall paintings and many other nick-nacks are located in this tucked away part of town.
Cheap, tailor made suits, dresses, coats or fabric can be found on Tailor Street down the road from the Technological Market. Don't forget to haggle.
Shandong food comes in two flavors - spicy and salty and usually both. Bun-like white bread is more prevalent than noodles in the province and the seafood is generally quite fresh. Weifang has many restaurants on offer and for a random stab at it, try Si Ping Lu which is lined with eateries. Menu's are generally not in English though most restaurants have picture menu's or food displayed in the entrance. Enjoy.
After 9pm, choices are severely reduced, the best options for late night chow being YonHo 永和豆浆 or McDonald's, both of which are open 24 hours.
Weifang radishes are re-known in Shandong for their nutrition and zesty flavor, a trip to Weifang should include a bite of radish. Head to the supermarket or bargain with a guy selling them on the sidewalk.
Some supermarkets in the city even offer fully cooked and prepared (though from packaged bags) dog meat. Woof! Woof!
The top choice among the younger locals seems to be Soho Bar, which is a nightclub with insanely loud music and a (for a foreigner) difficult to understand table/barchair reservation set-up.
The Fairington is the only (thus far) 5-star hotel in Weifang. It is located away from the city center - very near the Weifang Amusement park. Associated with the Fairington is 'Building B' a comfortable 3-star hotel across from the main building. Both wings have restaurants and shopping available. Both are often filled with businessmen as the convention center is nearby.
The Dongfeng Hotel is a well established 4-star hotel not too far from the Fairington at the cross streets of Dongfeng Lu and .... Like the Fairington, the Dongfeng has all the amenities, including it's own building B, and is often full of business people.
The YuanFei is a new, luxurious 4-star located in the heart of the financial district across from the Bank of China...