Shandong Overview

Basic Information

  • Chinese Name: 山东
  • Location: On the eastern edge of the North China Plain and in the lower reaches of the Yellow River (Huang He)
  • Area: 155,800 square kilometers
  • Population: 100,058,300
  • Language: Mandarin, Jilu Mandarin, Zhongyuan Mandarin, Jiaoliao Mandarin

Administrative Division

Until January of 2014, Shandong administers 17 prefecture-level cities, and they are divided into 137 county-level divisions including 55 districts, 27 county-level cities and 55 counties. And further, there are 1,869 township-level divisions covering 478 subdistrict offices, 1,113 towns, 271 rural areas and 7 other township-level divisions.

  • 17 prefecture-level cities: Jinan city (济南市), Qingdao city (青岛市), Zibo city (淄博市), Zaozhuang city (枣庄市), Dongying city (东营市), Yantai city (烟台市), Weifang city (潍坊市), Jining city (济宁市), Tai'an city (泰安市), Weihai city (威海市), Rizhao city (日照市), Laiwu city (莱芜市), Linyi city (临沂市), Dezhou city (德州市), Liaocheng city (聊城市), Binzhou city (滨州市), Heze city (菏泽市)


The province is on the eastern edge of the North China Plain and in the lower reaches of the Yellow River, and extends out to sea as the Shandong Peninsula. Shandong borders the Bohai Sea to the north, Hebei to the northwest, Henan to the west, Jiangsu to the south, and the Yellow Sea to the southeast; it also shares a very short border with Anhui, between Henan and Jiangsu province. It spans about 721 and 437 kilometers respectively from east to west and south to north.

The northwestern, western, and southwestern parts of the province are all lands of the vast North China Plain, and belong to plain and low-lying areas. The center of the province is more mountainous areas, with Mount Tai being the most prominent. The east of the province is the hilly Shandong Peninsula extending into the sea; it separates Bohai Sea in the northwest from the Yellow Sea to the east and south. The highest peak of Shandong is Jade Emperor Peak which is the peak of Mount Tai, with a height of 1,545 meters.

Shandong is blessed with abundant mountains, water, forests, fields and lakes. Its 22,726- square-kilometer mountainous areas account for 14.59% of the whole provincial area. The waters here take up about 6,988 square kilometers, 4.49% of Shandong area. The 24,894-square-kilometer forests are 15.98 % of the entire Shandong. And the 1,348-square-kilometer lakes account for 0.87% of the area of the province.


Shandong province belongs to the warm temperate semi-humid monsoon climate, and is greatly influenced by the marine monsoon, with the characteristics of distinctive four seasons: hot and rainy summer, sunny and dry winter. The annual average temperature here is 11 to 14 degrees Celsius, and annual average rainfall is 500 routes 1100 mm, which comes less and less from southeastern coastal areas to the the northwest inland.

The Best Time to Go

The best time to visit Shandong is spring, summer and autumn. In spring, snow-like pear flowers are absolutely amazing. May sees the richest blossoming flowers. Also, you could appreciate the wonders on Mount Tai even it experiences lots of rainfall.

In summer, the sea water is warm. It is a golden season for seashore tourism. In Qingdao, the winding Jiaodong Bay, rolling mountains, blue sea, and European style cityscape interwoven into a beautiful picture. And what you could not miss is the annual Tsingdao Beer Festival. In Yantai, there are cool bathing beaches, fresh seafood and wonders of mirage would lead you to enjoy yourself so much as to forget to leave.

Autumn of Shandong offers cool climate, and it is a lovely time to climb mountains and appreciate gorgeous red leaves. Also, this period is the splendid time for seeing sunrise on the top of Mount Tai. The red leaves in Jian make you unforgettable, and the hometown of Confucius, no matter when, it welcomes visitors with its solemnness.

Things to Do

As the birthplace of Lu cuisine that is one of the eight major components of Chinese cuisine, you are recommended to taste Lu dishes here. Well-known as the Shandong-featured “one mountain, one spring and one sage”, what you could do here can be climbing the Mount Tai and admire its wonders, visiting Sprouting Spring and going to the hometown of Confucius to feel his culture. Then, as a coastal province which is blessed with excellent natural conditions for seafood, tasting a variety of seafood here is a must for many tourists. Also, to drink renowned Tsingdao beer is a good choice. Being blessed with a number of tourist sites, you could visit a lot of tourist destinations here, such as the Three Memorial Edifices of Confucius in Qufu, Liugong Island, Longkou South Mountain Scenic Spot, Sunbin Tousit City, Dongchang Lake, Wanpingkou Seashore Scenic Site, Dongping Lake Scenic Spot, Jinshan Temple, Shuibo Liangshan Scenic Spot, Yantan Resort Area, etc.


As a coastal city on the eastern edge of the North China Plain and in the lower reaches of the Yellow River, Shandong enjoys good location, favorable developing conditions and resources, so a complete and convenient transportation system has formed. A modern transportation system of railway, highway, waterway and airlines serves Shandong greatly. Tourists to Shandong could choose any kind of transportation tool they like.

History & Culture

With its location on the eastern edge of the North China Plain, Shandong was home to a succession of Neolithic cultures for millennia, including the Houli culture, the Beixin culture, the Dawenkou culture, the Longshan culture, and the Yueshi culture. Also, the oldest great wall the Great Wall of Qi lies here. The earliest Chinese oracle-bone inscription relics are in Tangshan Oracle-bone Remains. According to expert textual research, Shangdong was ever one of the suppliers for silk trade in Han Dynasty, and it is the origin of the Silk Road.

During the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period, regional states became increasingly powerful. At this time, Shandong was home to two major states: the state of Qi at Linzi and the state of Lu at Qufu. Lu is noted for being the home of Confucius. The state was, however, comparatively small, and eventually succumbed to the larger state of Chu from the south. The state of Qi, on the other hand, was a major power throughout the period. Cities it ruled included Linzi, Jimo (north of modern Qingdao) and Ju.

Shandong experienced varying dynasties and periods, and its culture formed here is quite abundant, such as the Qilu culture that formed in the pre-Qin period and developed a lot in Qin and Han dynasties, especially its Confucian culture which influenced a lot in the ancient times as well as nowadays.


With its area spanning the Shandong Peninsula, the Yellow River, the North China Plain, etc., Shandong is blessed with favorable position for its development. Meanwhile, pleasant climate is conductive to its agricultural growth. Then, making the best of new technology and the new opportunities of internet, Shandong sees promising growth in its economic future.

Shandong is one of the richer provinces of China, and its economic development focuses on large enterprises with well-known brand names. As the biggest industrial producer and one of the top manufacturing provinces in China, Shandong has also benefited from South Korean and Japanese investment and tourism, owing to its geographical proximity to those countries. The richest part of the province is the Shandong Peninsula, where the city of Qingdao is home to three of the most well-known brand names of China: Tsingtao Beer, Haier and Hisense. Shandong ranks first among the provinces in the production of a variety of products, including cotton and wheat as well as precious metals such as gold and diamonds. It also possesses one of the biggest sapphire deposits in the world.

In 2017, Shandong province achieved gross domestic product (GDP) of 7.26782 trillion yuan, and in the first half of 2018, Shandong saw 3.966 trillion yuan of GDP, with a GDP increase of 6.6%.


Shandong enjoys profound cultures so that there are several festivals and activities showing its cultural deposits, like Qufu International Confucius Culture Festival, Linyi zhu Geliang Cultural Festival, the Chinese Mother Culture Festival in the hometown of Mencius in Zoucheng, etc. Climate in Shandong is favorable for planting so that you could see many planting-featured festivals here, such as Qingdao Cherry Blossom Festival, Daming Lake Lotus Festival, Feicheng Peach Blossom Festival, etc.


There are all sorts of natural and cultural tourist attractions in Shandong, abundant resources benefit tourism here a lot. By 2013, there are a total of 6 National Key Scenic Sites, 10 national famous historical and cultural cities ( Jinan, Qingdao, Liaocheng, Qufu, Zoucheng, Zibo, Tai’an, Penglai, Qingzhou, and Yantai), 2 Chinese historical and cultural village, 97 national key cultural relic protection units (including the Great Wall of Qi and the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal part in Shandong province), and 397 provincial cultural relic protection units. Also, well known as the hometown of Confucius and the producer of Tsingdao beer, Shandong attracts more and more visitors from home and abroad.


Shandong cuisine, also known as Lu cuisine, is an important part of Chinese food culture, and it is one of the eight regional cuisines in China, with its fresh taste, crispness, unique flavor, and fine making. The cuisine gets good reputation both at home and abroad. With large geographical differences in the province, Shandong thus formed three cuisine systems: coastal Jiaodong cuisine (seafood), inland Jinan cuisine and the Confucian Temple systems vegetables. After the Song dynasty, it becomes one of the representatives of north food. Shandong cuisine is one of the most widely coverage of local flavor cuisine in China, being spreadsheet in Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei areas and the three northeast provinces.