This hike can be done in either direction. I opted to sleep over night at Simatai and take a taxi the following morning to Jinshanling. Accounts of the distance for this hike varied so I wanted to get an early start. Once at Jinshanling, there are three option to get onto the Great Wall with one of them being a cable car right from the parking area for about 30RMB. Access to the wall cost another 40RMB.
The hike is wonderful. portions of the wall at this area are reconstructed but soon, as you travel toward Simatai, the steps and wall are original and makes for a tough go if you are not used to hiking. Although this area has few visitors you will pass locals, most of who wearing street shoes. Be prepared! Of course the hike is totally exposed to the sun with relief coming at the turrets that do offer shad. Each turret has some locals selling ice water.
Another thing to note, there will be locals that will follow you as soon as you access the wall. They are very friendly and helpful but they have one goal and that is to sell you something. They will not try and sell you something until they reach the half way mark between Jinshanling and Simatai. A positive for you because you can really negotiate and haggle over the price of what they are selling. If you were going to buy something from the area you can get it cheaper this way. Also it is tough to say no after they followed you for nearly three miles!
At the half way mark you have to purchase a ticket to continue on the Simatai. I had my ticket from the day before when I hiked the eastern section of Simatai, which the attendant honored. But be prepared. This ticket also cost 40RMB.
My GPS put this hike at about 5.5 miles but that is from where the cable car leaves you on the wall to the Simatai parking lot. I would definitely do this hike again.
I should say something about the Great Wall, yes?! ... Well, of course , 1000 % you should visit it! No matter, which part of the wall you will choose , you will be amazed! This is something you will never forget! Even when we went to the Badaling , it was rainy but we still liked it a lot.
Start of the Great Wall was from the 3rd century BC. So this is SUPER historical and old place, as whole China.
Ticket to Mutianyu cost 80 Yuan including cable car when you get up and cable car/ride on the skid when you get down. Choose skid! You will remmember this skidding for the long time. You can see it on my photo.
This is unforgettable experience but please be ready to walk and sometimes to ''climb'', so it will not be easy ;-)
This section of the Great Wall lies along the boundary of Luanping county（滦平县) of Hebei province （河北省）and Miyun （密云）of Beijing City （北京市). Some facts about this section of GW (from the entrance ticket's text): it starts from Longyukou pass (龙峪口) in the west and ends in Wangjinglou Tower （望京楼） in the east. Total length is 10.5km. There are 5 passes, 67 resistance towers （敌楼）, and 2 beacon towers （烽火台） along the section. The 3 main attraction （三绝) of Jinshanling are the barrier wall (障墙）, bricks with word carvings （文字砖） and "horse-stopping stone" （挡马石).
My friend and I visited the Great Wall's Jinshanling 金山岭 section in October 2012. We went there via the "Single Day Trip" package that departed from Beijing during the weekends. The tour only operates between April to November. It costs RMB120 and it includes bus fare from Beijing to Jinshangling, entrance ticket and single-journey cable car ride. The RMB100/pax on the banner is outdated, aand do check with the tour operator for the current price and time table. The bus departs from the Jinshanling Great Wall Terminal located at Xiangheyuan Road （香河园路）, off Dongzhimen Outer Byway （东直门外斜街）.
To get to Jingshanling Great Wall Terminal located at Xiangheyuan Rd:
1. Take the subway （Line 2）.
2. Alight at Dongzhimen Station （东直门站）
3. Get out of the station via Exit B - take the right gate at Exit B which is at the Dongzhimen Outer Street （东直门外大街）.
4. Walk straight and turn left into Dongzhimen Outer Byway （东直门外斜街）upon reaching an intersection (the first one)
5.Walk down the street and turn in to Xiangheyuan Road （香河园路）on the left when you see the signage.
6. Jinshanling Great Wall Terminal is somewhere along Xiangheyuan Road - but I can't exactly remember which side (left or right) now - sorry! But anyone can't go wrong with that - there will be plenty of buses there.
Do not confused the Great Wall Terminal with Dongzhimen Hub (东直门柜纽）
The first bus departs at 7.30 am and the last one departs at 9.00 am. However, I am not quite sure how many buses are there within this 1.5 hour time frame. The time the buses come back to Beijing is around 2.30 pm to 4.00 pm (as advertised at the terminal), depending on what time you board the bus in the first place.
We could not make it for the first bus of the day but it was still OK for us as we managed to catch the second bus which departed at 8.00 am. The ride took about 2 hours. The bus stops at the bus parking area and both driver and conductor / tour rep informed all of us what time we should be back at the parking area to take the ride back to the city. Entrance tickets are still being sold at the entrance, for those who drive there. The cost for entrance ticket only is RMB50.
We took the cable car ride about half way to the wall. A bit of a stroll, and you reach the wall in no time. There are many unrestored sections at Jinshanling and the situation can get a bit 'bugsy' (lots of flying insects the higher one climbs). Some parts of the section can be quite steep and hard to walk due to the unrestored condition. Do bring your own water / food and plan your hiking time as you need to take in to consideration the time you need to get back to the rendezvous point for the ride back.
We head back to the city again at 3pm - and slept all the way back...
We booked a day trip to the Great Wall - Badaling Section - after our arrival in Beijing. It was a superb trip and I would heartily recommend it. I would say visiting the Great Wall was one of the travel highlights of my life. The wall is just so world famous and it is so far away and exotic. I found it hard to believe I was actually there.
The building of the Great Wall started in around the 3rd century BC and continued to the 17th century AD. It was built as a defensive structure and is more than 20,000 kilometers long. The Great Wall begins in the east at Shanhaiguan in Hebei province and ends at Jiayuguan in Gansu province to the west. It is made up of walls, horse tracks, watch towers, shelters and fortresses.
The trip also went to the Ming Tombs - nothing special and a Chinese medicine centre - Interesting. They asked for volunteers to have an electrical current passed through their body. All the Chinese people on our tour volunteered; not a single white person did. Cultural difference perhaps!!!
Jinshanling Great Wall is located about 130 km from downtown Beijing and in my opinion serves as the best portion of the Great Wall to visit for several reasons. For one thing its the least crowded section of the Great Wall which makes sense since its much farther from Beijing than the other more popular sections. Its also a perfect mix of renovated portions of the wall and unrenovated as well which gives you a great contrast between then and now. The Jinshanling section has the total length of 11 kilometers. The Wall is about seven to eight meters in height and five to six meters width. The wall is made of brick and stone. The Jinshanling Great Wall is 700 meters above the sea level. You can see Beijing from the highest place on the Jinshanling Great Wall.
I found it to be the best way to experience the Great Wall as I had almost three hours to walk along the Great Wall and take in the amazing views in relative solitude. I could almost imagine myself defending against the Mongolian hordes, although times have changed as there are many Mongolian farmers selling cold Coke's along the Wall. So rather than chase them off I bought a Coke and marveled that I was drinking a ice cold Coke on the Great Wall of China. The best way to visit this section of the Great Wall is by booking a tour as they take care of everything including picking you up from your hotel in Beijing. I booked through this website and it was an excellent experience:
I´ve been to the Greatwall around 5 times and personally i think that the worst season to go there is during the Summer, or during a Chinese national holiday. Beijing is normally a crowded city per se but a crowded Greatwall is something else, specially thanks to the literally millions of chinese tourists from other provinces who will spend more of their precious time taking pictures at YOU, yes.
Please take care of your wallet and for Christ´s shake don´t take any valuables with you. It takes normally a holiday to visit the GW, arrive there, (leaving early in the morning) and spend the day there and then get bank to the city.
Still, is a wonderful place to visit.
Give yourself plenty of time. It can take hours to reach the Wall due to traffic. There are several locations, the nearest is the main tourist one (Badaling). Here the wall is complete (but has been heavily restored). Choose here if you want to walk several miles of the wall. If you would rather see it in the original and crumbling shape, go to the more isolated ones. However, without a tour group, this might be difficult to reach.
I was impressed with my time on the wall, but it is rather false and modern and very busy. It is hard work climbing the steep steps. Your legs will ache for days. Not good when trying to sprint down the platform to catch a train.
Hello, I just wanted to recommend a unique tour I went on last autumn in Beijing, it was a sleep on the great wall tour. We went through a travel company who arranges unique and cultural tours. They provided all that we needed- sleeping bags, flashlights etc. They also include dinner in a village near the Great Wall. We went to JinShanLing section of the Great Wall, and then after we woke up we walked to Simatai section of the Great Wall. It was amazing because there was NOBODY there!
"He who has never been to the Great Wall is not a true man" that is our belief!
The Great Wall of China is one of the seven new wonders of the world (announced during the Official Declaration ceremony in Lisbon, Portugal on July 7, 2007).
I have been there many times but each time the same section, which is the Mutianyu. But other sections are also very famous, such as Badaling, Juyongguan, Simatai...
"He who has not climbed the great wall is not a true man" Mao Zedong.
Although I tend not to agree with chairman Mao, I must agree to that statement, now that I've climbed the wall myself ;-)
The wall began as several walls for different states. It was the emperor Qin Shihuang who succeeded to join the walls together. Ever since then the wall has been a symbol for China.
Construction was mainly done with local recourses, by soldiers, prisoners and locals, and took several generations. Some would be forced to leave home for several years to work on the wall, never knowing if they would survive long enough to see their family again.
The wall is considered one of the greatest wonders of the world and is on UNESCOs list of World Heritage since 1987. Some of its 6,700 kilometers is in pretty bad shape, but quite a lot of it has also been restored into its former glory.
It is said that the wall is the only building you can see from space. This is however a myth: The wall might be long, but it isn't thick enough for that. You can see the wall on several places. I was at Badaling, witch is a well-restored part of the wall. However you have the feeling of walking with half a million people while pushing away those pesty street sellers.
If you are fit enough to climb the Great Wall for some minutes, choose one side from the main entrance and walk. As you go away, there's fairly less people around and then you can almost find a section of the great wall just for you.
Remember that chinese people says that to be a royal hero, you have to climb the Great Wall. So, put on comfortable shoes and climb the steep hills and stairs.
Remember that this section of the Great Wall crosses a very rough landscape, going along the mountains. So you'll find very steep hills and stairs. Don't let you down by a hill. Take a breath, rest some minutes and go for it. The view from the top is really worth the effort.
Be sure you have comfortable shoes.
Our first major stop was the Great Wall. It was very crowded! We took a rollercoaster to the top, and then walked atop the wall. Even though it was a hot and sunny day (outside of the city), many women carried umbrellas. The umbrellas would often get in our way and had to be dodged constantly.
Need I say more? The Great Wall of China is the only piece of infrastructure that can be seen from outer space without the telescopes and satellite things. To me, it is the greatest wonder in the world, don't even mention the 7 wonders. It is the most majestic structure I have ever seen and the amazing thing is I can't even imagine how they built it. It is a important part of China's history. Many have conquered Everest, North and South poles, Antartica and the Artic. Perhaps the greatest challenge left is to finish scaling all the 10000 miles of the invincible Great Wall.
We went to a common tourist section of the wall that has been restored. The day was overcast so no blue sky pictures. The wall is massive and it is a strenuous climb considering the number of other climbers and the uneven step surfaces. The view would be superb on a clearer day.