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Retire in Qingdao, China

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Feb 10, 2023

Summary: Qingdao, China is an attractive destination for retirees due to its stunning natural beauty, vibrant culture, and low cost of living. Retirees can find a variety of retirement communities in Qingdao, ranging from luxury high-rise apartments to traditional Chinese courtyard homes. The cost of a nice two-bedroom home in Qingdao is typically around $50,000 USD, while a nice three-bedroom home can cost around $70,000 USD. The weather in Qingdao is generally mild, with temperatures ranging from the mid-50s to the mid-70s Fahrenheit in the summer months.

What is it like to retire in Qingdao?

"Qingdao is a popular destination for retirees due to the pleasant subtropical climate, beautiful coastal landscape, and vibrant city life. There is an active expat community that offers a variety of activities and gatherings, such as language and cultural exchange events, monthly meet-ups, and gatherings of local cuisine. For those who want to explore the region, there are plenty of cultural attractions to discover, like Qingdao's Laoshan Scenic Area, the mountain temple in Jiaozhou Bay, and the beautiful Shilaoren Beach. The city also has numerous recreational activities, including swimming and fishing at the sea and beach, a variety of hiking trails, and golf courses. As nightlife goes, there are night markets, restaurants, and bars that offer a vibrant social atmosphere for retired people to enjoy," remarked one retiree in Qingdao, China.

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What advice do overseas retirees have for others considering retiring abroad?

"Retirees in Qingdao recommend researching the local area to better understand the climate and culture before committing to long-term travel plans. They suggest networking with expat communities to learn about the ins and outs of finding housing and services. Additionally, they suggest gaining an understanding of potential financial and legal responsibilities before retiring abroad. Finally, retirees in Qingdao recommend planning for regular visits back home in order to maintain important connections to family and friends," commented one retiree living in Qingdao, China, China.

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What are the most challenging aspects of retiring in Qingdao?

"One of the most challenging aspects of retiring in Qingdao is adapting to the language and culture. Although some of the locals may be able to speak some English, speaking Chinese is a must in order to understand and join in conversations in social circles, and to be able to shop and receive services in the local area. Additionally, foreign retirees may find difficulty in obtaining a Chinese residency permit or a visa, due to the fact that there are restrictions for foreign retirees in the country. Having a reliable healthcare system and access to the necessary medications is also an issue that may present challenges for retirees in Qingdao, as quality healthcare may not be as easy to access as in other countries," remarked one retiree in Qingdao, China.

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What are the most rewarding aspects of retiring in Qingdao?

"Retiring in Qingdao offers a variety of enjoyable benefits; with its lush natural landscape, outdoor activities, and vibrant culture, it is an ideal destination for retirees. The city boasts a mild climate year-round and is a great place to soak up breathtaking mountain views and stunning beaches. Furthermore, its diverse range of restaurants, cafes, and markets will keep retirement interesting. Retirees can also enjoy convenient public transportation, excellent medical care, and a low cost of living," explained one retiree living in Qingdao, China.

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What are healthcare services like in Qingdao?

We asked retirees if they have access to good medical care in Qingdao. They wrote:

"Qingdao provides access to a wide range of healthcare services for its citizens, including both traditional Chinese and Western medical practices. Hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies are widely available, as are drugstore products and other medical supplies. The quality and availability of these medical resources tend to vary according to location and socioeconomic status. In recent years, the Chinese government has improved access and quality of care in Qingdao, as well as developed a network of medical and pharmacist professionals. Additionally, the city offers a variety of specialized services such as home healthcare, mental health, and rehabilitation services," said one retiree in living in Qingdao, China, China.

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How do I meet people in Qingdao?

When we asked people living in Qingdao about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:

"Expats in Qingdao can join a variety of clubs and activities such as scuba diving, rugby and basketball. There are also expat-oriented clubs such as the Qingdao International Wine Club, the Qingdao Chinese Chess Club and the Qingdao Comic Book Club. Expats can also meet people by attending international events and fairs held around the city. Additionally, there are meetup groups, language exchange groups and other social events held at bars, restaurants and cafes across Qingdao that allow expats to socialize and make new friends," explained one retiree living in Qingdao, China.

"There's always great live music at several venues around town, and organisations like Hash House Harriers and Qingdao Expat have weekly and monthly events where you can get to know loads of people from China and abroad. The essential guide to getting involved in Qingdao is the redSTAR magazine and website - they host monthly events which are always a blast (also free and open to all), and they also bring fresh international talent to the city a few times each year. You can sign in at www.myredstar.com to receive email notifications about events and great things to do (free and otherwise) throughout the city, as well as directory listings for entertainment and services," said one retiree in living in Qingdao, China.

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What is life like in Qingdao?

When we asked people living in Qingdao what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:

"Work is always going on, but people engage heavily with relaxation during the summer and family during the winter. While Qingdao has a growing services sector drawing staff from throughout China and the world, most people who work there still have family connections in the city. Summer is truly beautiful, with miles of beautiful beaches, state-of-the-art sailing facilities, municipal parks and a breathtaking mountain resort very close by," said a retiree who moved to Qingdao, China.

"Being the home of the 2008 Olympic Sailing Regatta, Qingdao's numerous outdoor activities include sailing, wind surfing, kayaking, hiking, camping, fishing, swimming, skiing, body surfing, mountain biking, paint ball, bird watching, basketball, tennis, volleyball, golf, football, and the list goes on. If you are an outdoor sports enthusiast, Qingdao is the place for you," said one retiree in Qingdao.

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What do I need to know before retiring in Qingdao?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Qingdao, they said:

"Unless a school offers you RMB 8000 per month plus housing and return airfare, get a six-month contract. The market is much more favourable to reliable, amicable teachers than you are likely to find applying from outside, so it is absolutely in your interest to avoid being tied down to a particular school for a year or more. And get involved! Check out redSTAR! This city is far from boring," said one retiree in living in Qingdao, China.

"For current information check out Qingdao Travel & Living Guide [http://www.thatsqingdao.com ] or pick up copies of the "Redstar" magazine and "The Qingdao Expat." They will tell you where to meet other expats and what things are going on," explained a retiree in Qingdao.

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What type of recreational activities are there in Qingdao?

"Qingdao offers a variety of recreational facilities for visitors and locals alike. One of the most popular attractions is the Qingdao Polar Ocean World, which features a variety of marine life, including dolphins, seals, and penguins. The Qingdao Underwater World is another popular destination, with a variety of fish, sharks, and other sea creatures. For those looking for a more active experience, the Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center offers sailing lessons and boat rentals. The Qingdao International Beer Festival is held annually and is a great way to sample the local brews. For those looking for a more relaxed experience, the Qingdao Botanical Garden is a great place to take a stroll and admire the local flora and fauna. Finally, the Qingdao Grand Theatre is a great place to catch a show or a concert," explained one member in Qingdao.

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Where will I buy groceries and do other shopping in Qingdao?

"Qingdao is a great place for expats to buy groceries and do other shopping. There are several large supermarkets and shopping malls in the city, such as Carrefour, Walmart, and Lotte Mart. These stores offer a wide variety of international and local products, including fresh produce, meats, and other groceries. Additionally, there are many smaller convenience stores and specialty shops throughout the city, such as the popular Yatai Supermarket, which specializes in imported goods. For those looking for more unique items, there are also several traditional markets, such as the Qingdao International Market, which offers a variety of local products and souvenirs," said one person who retired in Qingdao.

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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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