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Weifang

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North China : Shandong : Weifang
Revision as of 13:26, 18 May 2008 by Matthodgin (Talk | contribs)

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Weifang (潍坊; Wéifāng) is a city in Shandong Province.

Get in

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.

By train

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. Walk away from the station to the road and catch a taxi who uses the meter.

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.

By bus

There are two main bus stations in Weifang, one of which is undergoing construction and is located across the train station. The other one is down the road from the train station - one kilometer or so.

With the new bullet 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 and letting the driver drop you off by the highway near the airport. 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 50 RMB.

Travel tip: buses in China generally do not have toilets on them and they sometimes go for hours (especially sleeper buses) without stopping.

Get around

By bus

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.


By Taxi

Keep your eye out for the larger, newer, green and yellow taxi's as the older blue ones tend to be very smoky and dirty. 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 RMB.

See

Weifang's claim to fame is its kites and a visit to Weifang should include some exposure to the kite culture here.

  • The International Kite Festival 国际风筝会, (If going by city bus use #30.). is held each year on or around April 20th. Kiters from around the globe come to hoist their prized possession skyward in differing competitions ranging from largest kite to synchronized flying, team competitions and also general kite displaying and flying. Locals and visitors alike are welcome to bring their own kite and cast it into the wind. The kite grounds are about an hour outside of the city by bus. Many hotels offer their own buses out to the kite grounds so getting out there isn't too much difficulty.
  • The Kite museum & square 风筝广场, (Bus 16, 20, 56 and many other buses stop here.). is located in the financial district, across from the giant Bank of China. A nice place to witness old men playing traditional games of chess or cards or other games, buy a kite, or people watch. The Museum is worth a look to glimpse kites from around the world and the brush up on your kite history.
  • The Kite Factory 杨家埠风筝厂, (take bus #5 to the last stop). lies outside of Weifang in a place called YangJiaPu. Inside the museum cum factory one will witness traditional kite making and production in a traditional Chinese setting of small gardens, old buildings and a slower pace of life. It's a good idea to buy your own kite at one of the shops outside of the factory (along the road) as it is generally cheaper here than in the city or in the factory itself.
  • Shouguang 寿光, (long distance bus - about 30 minutes). has a vegetable fair each year around kite festival time. An entire playground of enormous fruit and vegetables are arranged for your viewing and photo taking pleasure. Seeds and farming products along with the common tourist goods are for sale, too.
  • Gao Mi 高密, (long distance bus - about one hour). is known throughout Shandong for its delicate, intricate paper cuts. Resembling giant red snowflakes, the numerous designs are mind boggling, ranging from: sports, animals, vegetables, to traditional buildings, ancient China and other scenes.
  • Wei Xian Memorial 潍县纪念碑. there is an old WWII era concentration camp memorial near the People's Hospital down by the river. Eric Liddell, portrayed in the movie Chariots of Fire, interned and passed away here during the Japanese occupation - an interesting, little known site in Weifang.

Do

  • Amusement Park 富华游乐园, (Bus 16 & 20 stop here.). described as having not only the largest roller coaster in Shandong, but all of mainland China, the amusement park is a fun way to spend a day
  • Weifang Museum 潍坊博物馆. across the street from the amusement park is a nice way to spend a bad weather afternoon.
  • The People's Government Square 人民广场. The River Area in addition to the Kite Square 风筝广场 are all great places to people watch, fly a kite, go for a walk or just get some fresh air. Be prepared for some extra attention - Weifangers are being unaccustomed to foreigners.

Buy

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.

Eat

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.


  • Sea Palace 海王府, (bus 16, 56). For Seafood the Sea Palace can't be missed. Elegant dining in an enormous hotel-like building. Easy to order food display in the lobby area makes eating here a cinch: pick and point what looks tempting. Patrons to this restaurant are given a private room to eat in with anxious staff ready and willing to help.
  • For Fine Chinese Dining head over to the YuanFei hotel and stop at their restaurant 鸢飞潍县菜馆 where the delicate dishes are served up in a traditional, clean environment.
  • Green Leaf 绿叶火锅, (bus 56). Fantastic Hot-Pot can be found at the Green Leaf located on East Fushou Jie.
  • Sichuan Restaurants, (bus 56, 16). These two are tops in the city: 四川酒村 near the Shengrong Hotel & 天府传说 on Siping Lu.
  • Dumplings, (bus 56). If you are in the mood for dumplings and other Shandong dishes 金玉满堂 serves up some of the best in Weifang. On Fushuo Street, not far from the KFC and next to Jia Le Jia Supermarket.


  • Authentic Korean food made by Koreans: 汉江韩国料理.
  • If it's Japanese you crave the Japanese foreigners make it best here: 一休日本料理 on Si Ping Lu.


  • If something exotic is tingling your palate you may want to sample some excellent donkey meat at this not so easy to find restaurant near the WWII memorial: 韩重庆朝天锅. It's in an apartment community.

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!

Drink

  • California Dreamin', (bus 20, 16). a self proclaimed 'Cowboy Bar' is swinging and sociable. The affable server's wear cowboy hats, hired dancers salsa to hip-hop and live musicians rock out 'til closing time - 1:30 in the morning.
  • Kiss Bar, Si Ping Lu (bus 16, 56). small and dank with a live singer on stage a couple times an hour. Closes at 12:30am.
  • 0536 Dance Club, (bus 16, 56). is the dance club of choice in Weifang. Watch yourself as it can get raucous on the weekends with fights breaking out unexpectedly.
  • M-Box. has a live band and the occasional amateur foreigner can be heard singing or playing the guitar. The foreigners bar of choice is currently in the process of re-locating. Ask around for directions.

Sleep

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...


There are plenty of other hotels around the city however, the staff most likely will not speak English. The hotels listed above all have English speaking staff.

Contact

Get out

  • Qingdao - home of China's favorite beer
  • Yantai
  • Weihai - China's Cancun for Koreans
  • Tai Shan (Taishan) - climb the mountain, see the temples
  • Qufu - UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Beijing
  • Suzhou
  • Shanghai



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