Qingdao TV Tower. On our most recent Monday with Mari, we took full advantage of the amazing blue skies and headed to the highest spot in all of Qingdao, the TV Tower. This is a 232 metres (761 ft) tall lattice television tower with an observation deck situated on the top of 116 metres high on Taiping Hill in Julin Hill Park, Qingdao, China. The TV Tower offers visitors a spectacular vantage point from which to view the whole city and the oceans off Qingdao. The tower, which was built in 1994, apparently has a restaurant in a ball-shaped cabinet 130 metres above the ground; under this ball, there is a cylindric cabinet containing a 230 square metres sightseeing platform.
This was not my first visit to the tower. Justin and I did a trip to Qingdao in 2012, for my 28th birthday, while we still living back in dusty ol’ Dongying. While we were visiting this city (we never imagined we’d later move to AND HAVE A BABY in Qingdao) we explored this Tv Tower and a number of other popular sights. I couldn’t remember the cost of the tower, but Mariska looked it up and said that it was 30rmb. I did a quick online search too, and found the same information. Oh boy, how wrong we were! Entrance to the tower is actually 100rmb each, and considering how out-dated the interior is and how dirty the windows are, it really is a quite overpriced! I could tell that Mariska was unimpressed, and I don’t blame her, but I felt a little bad for bringing her to the tower. I tried to remember why Justin and I had enjoyed ourselves so much while we were here in 2012. In the end, I think it comes down to perception. Last time I visited this tower, we were living in a tiny, rural part of China, and I was also with my best friend. This tower is packed with super cheesy science experiments and gadgets. Justin and I love being goofy together as this is the best recipe for laughter and memories. What’s my point? It’s hard to say whether the tower is worth recommending. The price is a little steep, as towers and good views usual are, but this is one of the “must-dos” for this city! If you are thinking of going to the tower, go with little expectations, and definitely go on a clear day so the you can enjoy the best part – The 360 degree views of Qingdao!
Back in 2012, Justin and I had quite a lot of fun playing with the cheesy gadgets and optical illusions on the observations deck. Above right, that “floating head” is me back in 2012. Middle and right, me on this 2016 visit to the Qingdao Tv Tower.
There were some tunnels and dark paths to explore. None of them were amazing, but I walked through them anyway. The one you see below went in a complete circle. There was relaxing music playing and the tunnel slowly lit up as you entered a new section. On the walls were various collections of prehistoric type paintings.
We had read that there was a restaurant in the tower, so we were eager to sit down and enjoy a meal while taking in some amazing views over Qingdao. Disappointed followed when we got to “the restaurant” and found nothing but over the top sofas, a few cake options, and a sad-looking menu. The food menu was in Chinese, but it seemed like there were only three high priced meal options. Judging from the level of service and the state of the tower, we didn’t want to take the risk of ordering something expensive, and then leaving hungry and annoyed.
The strangest thing is that online there are pictures of people eating at the restaurant in the Qingdao Tv Tower, but they are NOT in the area that you see in these pictures. Despite us asking over and over again, this was the only place where they said there was food.
“Overall View” seemed to be the name of this “restaurant”. I would say that this is more of a lounging area. Definitely not a place where you would want to sit if you were eating a proper meal – the tables and chairs were not suitable for dining. A coffee or slice of cake would be fine here, but not a meal.
Once we got back down to ground level, we decided not to catch a taxi since Elijah was sleeping. We therefore followed my Apple Maps app and made our way downhill to the Zhanshan Temple for some more explorations. It was a warm day, with clear skies, and not a breath of wind. The perfect conditions for a stroll through some of the older neighborhoods of Qingdao. I found it both quiet and relaxing, and because Elijah was sleeping
The road leading down the hill is lined with hundreds of bee hives and locals selling various sized jars of honey.
The walk down the hill, from the Tv Tower to Zhanshan was pleasant. We were disappointed with the lunch situation and therefore the cost of the tower, but the views from the tower were wonderful. If you want to check out the tower, go with low expectations, play with all the cheesy gadgets on the observation deck, and take some goofy pictures!
Hours: 8:30am-5pm daily Nov-Mar, 8am-9pm daily Apr-Oct
How to get there:
Take bus no. 26, 31, 202, 214, 219, 223, 228, 231, 304,
312, 316, 321, 370, 501, 604 or 801 to Zhongshan Park,
or take a taxi straight to the tower.