"Shandong - the spiritual home of China" Shandong Sheng by mke1963

Shandong Sheng Travel Guide: 406 reviews and 1,686 photos

Shandong's place in Chinese history is assured. Its neolithic people, the Longshan culture, developed from crude beginnings to an advanced pastoral society much quicker than contemporary cultures. They may have lost, as the Eastern Yi tribe, to the garrulous Huangdi and Yandi tribe, but it was the Longshan civilization that continued to develop over a wider part of China.
Throught the ages, Shandong has been a hotbed of philosophy and debate, being the home province of both Confucius and Mencius. More recently, thinking was turned into action, as the White Lotus and Boxer rebels formed initially in this region. Then in the 1930s and 1940s, the landless farmers and rural Chinese society in Shandong were avid supporters of Mao's revolution.
All of this was fuelled by the occupation of Shandong by the Germans, the British and for a long period, the Japanese. The brutal oppression of colonial masters continues to haunt Shandong, and despite its close economic ties with Korea and Japan, it remains one of China's more xenophobic regions. The people are invariably friendly and courteous, but also a little reserved with foreigners. Mistrust will take some more generations to disappear.

The lie of the land

Shandong is mountainous through much of its peninsular, but a quarter of it lies in the flat north China plain.
To the south of Jinan lies Taishan, one of China's most sacred mountains.
The province is abundant in almost everything, being China's second largest oil producer, and with large reserves of coal and diamonds. The plains are immensely fertile, and wheat, potatoes, maize and cotton are exported in huge quantities.
Shandong was slower to reform and de-collectivise in the 1980s, its conservative tradition being to wait and learn from others. This is reflected in its infrastructure now, as the first phase of new roads, railways and public buildings are only now being completed. Judging by the many wasted economic developments in other provinces, Shandong's prudent approach may yet pay off.

Shandong is best known for the old German Treaty port of Qingdao (where the beer is brewed) with its colonial architecture, for Qufu (the birthplace of Confucius), and for Taishan, the sacred mountain. The craggy mountains promise great walking and hiking, but the tourist industry is less well developed here than other parts of China, and I would guess that in the coming decade, the focus for development of the tourist industry will focus on the needs of Korean tourists and group visits and excursions rather than making it easier for individual tourists.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Long history, unexplored and largely unknown
  • Cons:Lack of understanding of needs of tourists or its own tourism potential
  • In a nutshell:Will be a fabtastic derstination in 15 years time: until then it will be a hard slog!
  • Last visit to Shandong Sheng: Apr 2004
  • Intro Written Apr 26, 2004
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