LOL The ticket that is given for your visit to the Great Wall is pretty cool one. (circa 1987) It is sort of a plastic material that has a nice panoramic view of the wall and has been a nice little keepsake for me. I have it glued into my journal from my China trip! I also bought 5 t-shirts for friends. I still have one of them. It never fit me so I've never really worn it. My son has just started wearing the 16 year-old t-shirt to school!
A lot of information is already given by many other VT'er because visiting this beautiful city
without visiting the great wall is like visiting Venice in Italy, without taking a Vaporetto or a Gondola.Or like visiting Belgium, not visiting Ghent (haha)
People started building this wall 475 bc as a protection against intruders coming from the north.About the exact lenght of this wall there are different figures.Some are talking about 10.000km actually they think it is 6000km but many parts need to be restored.
75 km outside Beijng - at the Badaling canyon - a great part of the wall is open for locals and tourists.
A less popular place is Mutianyu - less tourists - so for some people ...
You can't come to Beijing and not visit the Great Wall of China, one of man's most famous achievements. The closest part of the Wall to Beijing is at Badaling - naturally this is also the most touristy part. Particularly in summer this part of the wall is crawling with tourists, both foreign and Chinese. In winter it's possible to have it nearly to yourself - but beware it is absolutely freezing!
My first time was the best. It was also the coldest day of my life. We had whole stretches of the wall by ourselves and spent most of the day sliding along the icy paths and trying somehow to keep warm. The views were unbelievable, the deserted mountains all covered in snow.
To read all about the history of the Wall, my visit there and to see photos of it in the middle of winter, have a look at my slowly developing Great Wall travelogue.
The Great Wall is the one of the most amazing man-made structures ever! How can you come to China and NOT visit the wall?
To avoid a overtly-touristy feel, go to other sections (like Huang Hua) besides the popular Badaling section.
Take metro to Dong Zhi Men station.
Ask around for Bus 916 as there are more than 1 exits from the station.
Take 916 to Huai Rou.
It takes about 1 hour.
Stop at Huai Rou's bus station.
Take 961 (this is NOT a typo) to Huang Hua Great Wall.
Check the time for the last bus back to Huai Rou.
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.
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.
Off course no trip to Beijing is complete without a trip to the great wall.
And there are a number of different places you can go. And each place is uniqe so you need to read up a bit and find out where you want to go.
There are even tours where you spend the night and sleep in a sleepingbag on the wall.
If you have the time you might want to test more then one part of the wall.
And no not underestimate the effort needed on some parts of the wall. Exausting.
But the views are stunning and worth the flight around the world just by itself.
I would say breathtaking, but that might have been because of the climb up there...
On the Great Wall there is a small exibition where you can see, how the old chinese soldier looked like. The metal costumes shows the official clothing for representation. I guess the figures a at least 25 % higher than the average chinese soldier have been.
Chinese tourist love to take pictures in front of the figures - as everywhere in the world :-))
The Great Wall is a tourist attraction for chinese tourists too. I have met a lot of Chinese tourists during my stay in 1992.
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.
The Great Wall, there are a few venues of the great wall. I think the one which is called 'Huang Hua Cheng' is the best to go, it is kind of dilapidated so that there are not so many people going. If you like, you could even spend a night there to get a cool feeling.
The Great Wall is absolutely a must-see attraction in China. Regardless from where you see the parts of this Great Wall, this construction is certainly impressive.
The Chinese name "Chang Cheng" or long wall came into existence because of its length. Every time the Great Wall was reconstructed --in Qin, Han and Ming Dynasties -- its length exceeded 5,000 km (10,000 li) -- It's named Wan Li Chang Cheng or the long wall of 10,000 li. Actually, the long wall of 10,000 li is more than its stated length. The Great Wall reconstructed during the Ming Dynasty alone exceeds 7,300 km in length. According to records put down in Chinese literature, as many as 20 principalities and dynasties took part in reconstructing the Great Wall.
About 4th century B.C. the northern parts of the three principalities Of Yan, Zhao and Qin happened to border on the nomadic Xiong Nu and Dong Hu, with whom frequent contacts had been kept and border incursions frequently occurred by the nomads, which seriously disturbed normal life in the area. Therefore, the long walls to defend against the Hu were constructed by the three principalities in the north. These earlier walls, built sometimes in the east, sometimes in the west, sometimes in the south and sometimes in the north, were unconnected with each other. They formed the main foundation of the long wall of 10,000 li by Qin Shi Huang -- first sovereign of Qin.
Since the Qin, various dynasties, including Western Han, Eastern Han, Northern Wei, Eastern Wei, Northern Qi, Northern Zhou, Sui, Liao, Lin and Ming, rebuilt the Great Wall on extensive scale and extended it. The engineering projects undertaken in the Han and Ming dynasties were the largest. The Han Dynasty Great Wall with its system of fortifications and beacon towers exceeded 10,000 km in length from Dunhuang, Gansu Provedwestward to western Xinjiang Region.
Being a great human masterwork, the Great Wall is on UNESCO World Heritage list, see website for details: http://whc.unesco.org/sites/438.htm
See travelogue for more.
This part of the Great Wall was a little more touristy than Mutinyu, it’s a bit more crowed, this part of the wall was built from 770-476 BC, and linked with the other walls in 420-589 AD. The extand Juyongguan was built in 1368 druing the Ming Dynasty. With so many people walk the wall everyday, you can see the sign of ware and tear on the steps going up to the beacon tower.
One of the parts of the Chinese Wall that is best preserved is close to Beijing (at least, that was what the guide said).
So, a trip to the Chinese Wall has been included in our visit to Beijing.
As you can see since this first picture, even if half covered by a colleague (who evidently loves to be photographed because he was everywhere, isn't it France'?) is that we took another foggy day YEAAHH!!
We took a while to decide which part of the wall to walk, especially as we were doing it the week before China's 60th anniversary, so everything was extra busy. This part of the great wall is actually the closest to Beijing and much easier than guides like the Lonely Planet makes out. All you need to do is take the underground to Station Xichimen from where you catch bus 919 to station Nan Kou Dong Jie (second to last on the line) only about 6 yuan. From here you catch local bus 68 from the other side of the road which was 0.5 yuan to the wall. However, the 919 apparently does go all the way sometimes... Once you get to the wall is a loop walk, however most people will only do the large part and miss the small one, which was actually the bit where we got pictures of us on the wall with no one else about... brilliant! Also student cards will get you in for half price 25 yuan.