Other than the weather, what are some other differences between Qingdao and Tianjin?
Land Area and Geography
Both are near the ocean, as you can see on the map in our last post. However, Qingdao's downtown area is right next to the ocean, whereas Tianjin's downtown area is very far from the ocean (about a 45-minute drive). In fact, in 6 years of living in Tianjin, we never saw the ocean. However, in Qingdao, the ocean is a five-minute walk from our apartment.
Qingdao also has mountains, which is a big difference from Tianjin. Tianjin is very flat, although it has some mountains to the north that you could see after driving for an hour or two outside the city. Within Qingdao city, there are actually three mountains and many more outside the city.
So, the landscape in Qingdao definitely is more diverse and beautiful, but it probably also contributes to our feeling that there is more traffic and it seems more crowded than Tianjin.
One strange thing we've noticed about the design of busses in Qingdao, though, is that many of the seats in the back of the bus have a huge hump where your feet are supposed to go. Definite design flaw, but fortunately, I'm short enough to fit. Matt, however, feels pretty uncomfortable when he's stuck with one of those seats.
As for the subway (地铁, dì tiě, in Chinese), Qingdao currently has one line operational, oddly enough, line 3, but many more lines are under construction. When we first moved to Tianjin in 2011, there was only one subway line as well (the more sensibly named Line 1), but when we left this year, there were five lines open, with four more under construction. We're pretty excited for more lines to open in Qingdao and hope that they will be running by next year so that the traffic will ease up a bit and transportation will be even more convenient.