When you reach the Badaling section of the Great Wall, you will see rows of souvenir shops and a huge signboard in Chinese saying "Great Wall of China, Badaling Section". There is also an impressive fort-like entrance and some cannons also lined this area. There are seats for resting and a big tablet providing a brief history of the great wall. The ticket office and gateway into the great wall is nearby.
There are several sections of the great wall near to Beijing which are opened to tourists, namely Badaling, Juyongguan, Mutianyu and Simatai. The most famous and touristy section is at Badaling. The nearest section is at Juyongguan, which is getting more popular nowadays because it is nearest to Beijing, and their are several attractive towers here. Further away are the Mutianyu and Simatai sections, of which the Simatai section is the least restored but the least crowded as well. All these sections of the great wall were built during the Ming Dynasty of China (about 1350AD to 1644AD).
The Great Wall of China is one of the greatest monument on Earth which stretches from thousands of miles in northern china (from Gansu province in the West to Shandong province in the East). A few thousand years ago, China was divided into many kingdoms which were at war with each other. These kingdoms built thier own great walls to protect against each other. When Emperior Qing Shihuang united all the kingdoms, he continued to build the great wall to protect against invasion from the tribes north of China. Following that, the great wall was continued to be built by the subsequent ruling dynasties of China, such as the Tang Dynasty, Ming Dynasty and even the recent Qing Dynasty (1644AD to 1910AD). The great wall at the Badaling area was in fact built during the Ming Dynasty (about 1350AD to 1644AD) and you can see that it is make of solid bricks of a few metres high.
The Great Wall at Shiguan is a memorable experience and provides a good evening view of the Taihangshan Mountains receding into the distance, with the Wall at Badaling forming a nice backdrop on the first of the grey ridges, 5km north.
Shiguan is a small village 5km south (surprisingly enough!) of the tourist mecca of Badaling. It is a pleasant village with all the houses facing south. It is best known now for the Commune by the Wall (see Hotel tip).
A spur of the Great Wall runs south from Badaling, twisting eastwards then south again, before petering out just to the south of the Commune.
The wall here is semi-restored. It has suffered poor quality cosmetic restoration but on a limited scale. The main wall is original and stable enough to be safe if you are careful.
Access is from the Commune by the Wall (to the left of the 'Airport' house just over the bridge: folow the track that heads up to the south. You can see the wall.
An alternative is to climb any track up the ridge on the south side of Shiguan. Just ask in the village and they will show you.
If you are a long-distance walker, note that this route takes you onto a fairly short stretch of the Wall after a hefty climb of maybe 375 metres. Personally, I think it is worth it for the view at sunset.
After many, many steps, we finally reached the Great Wall.
It was a big climb towards the Great Wall, but it really was worth the effort.
So it is really important to bring plenty of water.
But once you reach the Great wall you are rewarded with an amazing view.
We were lucky as we arrived in Mutianyu, as it was sunny. A little bit of sun, gives always kind of brighter colours when you want to make pictures.
But on the other hand it made the climb a little bit sweatier.
Before you want to start climbing towards the Great wall, you must pass a lot of souvenir stands . . .
But if you do not like climbing there also is a cable car which can bring you to the Great wall.
But we did it on foot.
As you arrive at Badaling on the Great Wall, you will surely be impressed by the touristic pressure and the too good to be true condition of the wall. All you need to do is get up there, walk past all the people having their picture taken, and you will have a better impression of what the wall was like. As you climb steep slopes towards the west, the number of tourists will dwindle until you eventually get to a part which is not restored and offers a more romantic vision of this unbelievable man-made feature stretching thousands of miles through the country.
The Ling Xing Gate of Chang Ling is interesting because it is said that once you cross this gate, you will enter the realms of heaven as you head towards the Fang Cheng and Soul Tower of Chang Ling.
More photos of the exhibit at the Hall of Eminent Favour, including the beautiful robes of the emperor and empress of the Ming Dynasty.
After entering the main entrance gate of Chang Ling, the next gate is the Gate of Eminent Favour which will lead you to the grand Hall of Eminent Favour.