Yantai is pleasantly breezy city overlooking the Liaodong Peninsula in Shandong Province (Google Earth: 37°32’01.29”N, 121°24’00.65”E). According to the Chinese State Statistics Bureau, Yantai ranks 33/50 economic power in China. It’s a modern, forward-thinking, and well-developed (and developing) place. Yantai is an ambitious city with big plans in the near future to increase trade with America, Japan, and particularly South Korea – and this can be illustrated by its huge, booming docklands.
Laishan Aston English School opened in February 2012. The school is situated in Laishan district. The school design is new, modern, and clean. And, in keeping with Aston’s new design plan, there is a big screen LCD TV in the lobby for movie nights. Our teachers’ lounge is spacious and comfortable, with lockers, a microwave, and a new computer all in English.
The school, an independent 3-floor villal, is situated in the middle of Huanghai Road – you can’t miss the signs. Going up the road there is a mountain, going down a beautiful sea. Yantai University (surrounded by shopping malls, markets and food streets) is about five minutes away from school. Across from the school is Business College where nice cheap food is provided.
Yantai has the usual range of restaurants and food styles you can expect to find anywhere in China such as, hot pot, Beijing, Shanghai and Sichuan cuisine. What sets Yantai cuisine apart is the fresh seafood that is available all year long. Other popular restaurants that have Korean BBQ, Japanese Teppanyaki and Italian food are easily found around Yantai – even American steakhouses.
The main thoroughfare, Nan Da Jie, sports all the retail you could want, from high-end electronics, IMAX Cinemas and designer clothes to the low-end night markets where you can strike a bargain. Most big supermarkets have a small western imports section as well.
Some of the sights to see include the Changyu wine museum, Peng Lai City – the fabled landing site of the Eight Immortal， the historic Yangma island (Horse Raising Island) which dates back to 200 BC as well as the many beaches, promenades and swimming areas that pepper the coastline. In winter Yantai gets a generous downpour of snow which gives one the opportunity to go skiing, snowboarding and even dog sledding. Nightlife consists of nightclubs, bars, outdoor BBQ, the local favorite KTV (karaoke) bars and the picturesque Chaoyang Street (commonly known as Bar Street). If that isn’t your thing – you can learn salsa dancing or tai chi on the promenade, or take a boat ride across the bay and visit one of the many islands.
Yantai also has numerous universities and colleges that have many international students, so you are bound to meet many people of different nationalities and as result makes Yantai a unique place to experience.
As Yantai Aston is pretty new, we only have two apartments for foreign staff. The teachers’ apartment is located in the heart of downtown – it’s only a 5-10 minute walk to Aston, Walmart, KFC, McDonalds, and a few coffee shops and tea houses. In the immediate neighborhood there are also supermarkets, outdoor markets, restaurants, shopping malls, shops, and plenty of street food. About a 15-20 minute walk up the main street there is a Parkson shopping mall where you can find shops, cinemas, restaurants, fast food places (including Pizza Hut and Ajisen Ramen), bowling, pool, and possibly the best supermarket in town – RT Mart. And, if you want to travel away from the city center, there are plenty of buses heading in all directions.
The apartment itself is located on the fourth floor of a building slightly off the main street. There are two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen, a bathroom, and an area off one bedroom where you can store things or hang laundry. There’s plenty of closet and shelf space. In the kitchen there are two gas burners on the stove, a microwave, a large water bottle, a large fridge, and a washing machine.
The apartment for the foreign manager is also on the fourth floor, but not as centrally located. It’s about a 20 minute walk from Parkson, which is about another 20 minutes away from Aston. However, you can catch a bus that drops you in front of McDonalds (which is close to the school). Or you can catch a relatively cheap cab.
The neighborhood is not far from downtown, but there isn’t much in the area except some restaurants, and a nice outdoor area, and market across the street.
This apartment has three rooms (though one is not really furnished). One bedroom has a bed, bureau, wardrobe, couch, TV, and an air conditioner/heater. There’s also a sunroom area for hanging up laundry. The other bedroom has a bed, coffee table, two arm chairs, a desk, and an air conditioner/heater. The kitchen and bathroom are equipped with the same things as the teachers’ apartment.