Qingdao

Perched on the southern seaboard of the Shandong peninsula, the picturesque town of Qingdao is a welcome breather from the clogging conformity of socialist town planning. Its German legacy more or less intact, Qingdao takes pride in its Bavarian appearance-the Chinese call the town 'China's Switzerland'. With its cool sea breezes, clear air, balmy summer evening and excellent seafood, this is where Chinese Communist Party cadres come to build sand castles, lick ice cream and dream of retirement. Qingdao has been selected to host the sailing events of the 2008 Olympics, prompting a further investment gale into the prosperous town.