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 30 RMB. Access to the wall cost another 40 RMB.
The hike is wondeful. 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 hagle 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 40 RMB.
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.
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.
In our way to Badaling we passed in another segment of the wall, with an interesting look - I think it was Nankou. Our guide took us further, to Badaling, I don't know exactly why. Maybe because the walls were not so steep (I noticed it), maybe because parking should be easier (didn't seem so), maybe because the sight of the wall is wider (it was), maybe because the commercial structures are more developed.
We were approached by lots of vendors, but being in a group allowed me to escape "harmless". Well, almost - a couple of tee-shirts, and... i don't remember - the walls were waiting us!
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.
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