“He who has not climbed the Great Wall is not a true man” – Mao Zedong
For all the aupairs in China, if you stay in Beijing it is mandatory to see The Great Wall. We’d like to have the following travel guide to be always updated for the benefit of new aupairs visiting the Great Wall around Beijing.
When to visit
The best times to visit are spring and autumn which are known also the best seasons in Beijing. Highly advice to avoid summer heat and crowds, and winter freezing conditions. Spring (April–May) in Beijing’s mountains is cool/warm and the green plants and flowers make the Great Wall beautiful. Fall (September–November) is a the best hiking season due to the clear weather, allowing you to see the Great Wall snaking off into distance. The mountains are blanketed by colors of red, golden, yellow, and brown, which sets off the grays and paler Great Wall colors.
You can also visit the Great Wall in summer and winter. Summer is peak season and popular sections get crowded. Winter is very cold, even icy, on the Great Wall, but there’s almost no crowding.
Where/How to visit
There are around a dozen different parts of the Wall you can visit. Which part do you want to go to? Busy Badaling, scenic Mutianyu, hike along Jinshanling or see wild HuanghuaCheng or Jiankou? Which ones are convenient to visit without taking an expensitive taxi or hired car?
Badaling: 80 km northwest Beijing; around 1.5 hours single trip from downtown BJ; The best preserved and most visited section of the Great Wall; crowded and heavily renovated;
Bus No. 919 ( Air Conditioner Bus )
Bus Terminal: Deshengmen (德胜门快车)
Destination: Badaling Great Wall
Bus Fare: RMB 12
The first Bus: 6:00am;
The last bus: 6:30pm
Mutianyu: 70 km northeast of Beijing; around 1.5 hours single trip from downtown BJ; you can reach the wall using the stairs or the equipped lift. You can also ride down through a toboggan!; very crowded in Summers and freezing cold during the winter;
From Beijing Dongzhimen to Huairou Bus Station use 916 (快 express) or 916 with stops. Get off at the Huairou terminus and then hire a minivan to Mutianyu. The express bus 916快 bus takes 60 to 70 minutes. The minivan transit to Mutianyu costs about CNY 40-50 and takes 20 minutes.
Simatai: 110km northeast of Beijing; around 2 hours single trip from downtown BJ; less crowed than Badaling and Mutianyu; connected in the west to the Jinshanling and the Gubeikou Great Wall sections; possibility of a long hiking.
Take the bus number 980 to Miyun from Dongzhimen bus station. After reach Miyun, take a private cab.
Jiankou: close to the Mutianyu section; 2.5 hours single trip from downtown BJ; literally means “Arrow Nock”; the most dangerous parts of the wall to visit. better to go in a group and not on your own; steep mountains and spectacular landscapes make it become a photographic hot spot; not crowed in any seasons.
Take the bus number 916 from Beijing Dongzhimen and get off at Huairou Fangshan, then find the bus to Jiankou from there.
Jinshanling: 125 km northeast of Beijing; connected with the Simatai section to the east; you can also reach the highest point along the wall through a cable car; not been majorly restored and retains a lot of its original features and magnificent towers.
Take the bus number 980 from Dongzhimen to Jinshanling in Summers. Other seasons take the same bus to Miyun and then a private cab to Jinshanling.
Huanghuacheng: 60 km north of Beijing and is connected to the east of Mutianyu; the latest to become popular among hikers, also hosts a beautiful water reservoir; a ruined part of the wall that is in periodic reconstruction mode to restore the crumbly sections – which is why it is not always open.
Take the bus number 980 from Dongzhimen and get off at Huairou Dishui, then take another bus to Shuichangcheng.
Hope these give you a general ideas about where, when and how to visit to the different sections of the Great Wall of China. If you want to know more, please visit:
All three website above paid contribution to this article.