Shandong province, encompassing a fertile plain through which the Yellow River completes its journey, was once one of the poorest regions of China, overpopulated and at the mercy of the river, whose course has continually shifted, bringing chaos with every move. Times have changed, and it is now one of the most prosperous provinces in the land. Visitors may also remark upon the friendliness of the people, who are proud of their reputation for hospitality, a tradition that goes right back to Confucius, a Shandong native who declared in The Analects, “Is it not a great pleasure to have guests coming from afar?”

Despite Shandong’s new-found wealth, some of its most appealing attractions are as old as the hills. One actually is a hill, albeit a rather large one – Tai Shan, China’s holiest Taoist mountain, and a favourite with hikers and temple-hunters alike. Also popular is little Qufu, formerly home to Confucius, and where a magnificent temple complex stands in his honour. The coast is lined with colossal cities, of which Qingdao proves the most attractive to visitors, as much for its beer as its ferry connections to Korea.

As far as tourists are concerned, there’s little reason to stray from these areas, though other port cities offer ferries to South Korea and elsewhere in China, while highways are good and bus services frequent. The province is also home to new high-speed rail lines, which effortlessly zip from Beijing to Ji’nan, and thence south to Tai Shan and Qufu, or east to Qingdao.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

China features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

An expert's guide: where to stay in Shanghai

An expert's guide: where to stay in Shanghai

Shanghai has to be a contender for the buzziest city in Asia, a thriving business hub that's brashly modern yet wears its history on its sleeve. Dense with glit…

23 Oct 2017 • Simon Lewis insert_drive_file Article
The best aerial views in the world

The best aerial views in the world

Got a head for heights? If you're craving a new perspective on your travels, the best thing to do is get up high. From mountain-top panoramas to cityscapes, her…

17 Oct 2017 • Olivia Rawes camera_alt Gallery
Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

That ever-growing travel wish list might be putting some pressure on your pocket – but there are plenty of destinations where you'll get more bang for your b…

11 Oct 2017 • Emma Gibbs camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook