An image of the Great Wall of China is probably what comes to mind when most people think of China. This is highly justified for the Great Wall probaby best represents the magnificance of China's past and it's spirit. The pictures and carvings of dragons, which often represent China's might, are frequent in China, being seen on pottery decorations to nine dragon screens. The Great Wall, as it extends 6,353km, takes on the impression of dragon when seen from a bird's eye view (or space).
Centuries ago the Chinese, like other cultures often at war, built walls to defend their cities and strategic points. This was especially so during the period of the Warring States. When the great emperor Qin Shi Huang unified China in the 3rd century B.C. he began to also join together the various sections of the walls so that they became one unified wall. The wall was intended to defend China against invaders and raiders from the North. Turkic, Hunnic and Mongol tribes frequently struck out against the Chinese and for centuries the Wall was maintained to defend against them. During this period the wall was made out of earth, stones and timber. It represented the line between China proper and the foriegn lands populated by barbarians. During the Tang dynasty, who maintained a peaceful existence with it's neighbors, the Great Wall was allowed to deteriorate. It was during the Ming dynasty, who eyed the foreigners much more suspiciously, that the Great Wall was rebuilt with brick walls and 25,000 battlements. Over the years much of the Wall has again fallen into ruin but many of the more accessible sections have been extensively restored.
I visited the Great Wall by way of a tour arranged at my hotel (the most common method of visitation). Like most tourist, my tour headed to the Badaling section of the Wall. Here there is a rather distasteful carnival atmosphere but I was allowed to walk unescorted for two hours along 4km of the wall. I enjoyed the experienced.
I tryed to go to Badaling using a official bus, but I didn't get the information on time. Lonely Planet guide has the accurate information!
I went to Badaling on a day trip from Qianmen Square. I found a bus with a local guide for 50 CNY return ticket. I didn't like the trip because I was expecting to spend a day on the wall, and I arrived there at about 4:45 p.m. We had to return to Beijing at 06:00 p.m. During the trip, the bus stop in several places including Ming's Tombs...
Entrance to the Wall: 45 CNY
Fixed cable car to the Wall: 60 CNY [possibility in one entrance]
I suggest you to go to Simatai, located 110km north east of Beijing.
We went to The Great Wall at Badaling with Beijing Hub of Tour Dispatch. The trip was quite rushing, as we visited the Waxwork Palace as well. We arrived at the Great Wall around 2pm, we had only about three hours to walk around and enjoy the views. It was very crowded with tourists. We took the cable car cost Y60 return, not included in the tour package. The view was stunning. We started to walk around the wall. There were steep steps, not easy as we thought. It was a long wall surrounded by mountains.
Tour Package Cost: Y100 (including transportation, lunch, entrance fee to the Great Wall).
Government Run Tour Company:
Beijing Hub of Tour Dispatch (北京旅游集散中心), these are their stations:
1) The southwest corner of the Tiananmen Square
2) The southeast corner of the Tiananmen Square
3) The northeast corner of Xuanwumen Crossroads
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.
This was everything I expected it to be and more.
The day we visited was overcast and grey but even though our picture quality sufferd, the weather only added to the dramatic example of human effortand accomplishment.
As far as we could see the Wall stretched up and down the hills and mountains , hugging the cliffs as it winded its way along disappearing into vallies and appearing again as far as we could see. How long we wondered, no one seemed sure estimates are saying over 10,000 km , some say much more.
The wall is much higher than it looks. We climbed the many steps to the first platform . Its important to remember ...what did we see at the top of our climb?? ...yet more sairs to the next platform ...so on an so on...for many many miles. No need to try to reach the end ...
Our legs were aching for days and we only climbed a minute part of this incredible wall.
It is a must do though and the view of the Wall is wonderful from the top.
Badaling Great Wall is typical of the wall during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644AD). This section of the Great Wall attracts the most tourists as they enjoy walking along the stretches of the wall and also because the gigantic feat of construction is most impressive. Guard rails and cable cars make Badaling a safe and almost easy way to see the Great Wall.
This section of the wall also houses a museum of Chinese history, which includes a photo gallery and the Great Wall Circle Vision Theater, a 360 degree amphitheater which shows a 15 minute film on the history and legends of the wall.
The closest and most frequently visted part of the great wall is about 42 miles northwest of Beijing and easily accessible via a freeway. Hiring a car is cheap and easy and the best way to get there.
This is another of Beijing's once in a lifetime places to visit.
Visiting China? The Great Wall visit was on the top of my things to do list, just unbeleivable! We went early and glad we did, as the crowds were gathering on the descent...lucky! Do wear warm clothing as not only did it snow but the ice makes for a slippery walk....enjoy!!
I should explain a few things about my experience at the Great Wall. As I stated, I visited on a tour that had been booked through my hotel. The price included a visit to the Ming Tombs and the price of admission to both attractions. The atmosphere to the Badaling section was like a carnival, so much so that I consider it as almost a tourist trap. As for walking the wall, I was given a couple of hours unescorted to walk up to the highest point and back. This is a 5km walk in all. Bring good walking shows. Also be warned that the site is very crowded with tourists both from China and from all over the world. This means that you will have to be patient if you want to take the perfect unobstructed photograph. You will also find that parts of the walk can slow down because of the crowds that bottleneck near the battlements. You will pass four of these in all until you reach the top. All of this makes the Great Wall experience sound rather distasteful but remember this may be your only opportunity to see one of the great world monuments. As I warned you, to enjoy your time here, you should be patient.
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!
Most of the ten thousand kilometres of wall is ruined, and the visits are concentrated in only three easily accessed points. Badaling is the most visited (maybe for being so close to Beijing, maybe for being the most scenic of them).
With the thousands of people coming each day, soon they will have to open other segments to the public. But this small part of the whole is perfect to give us a correct idea of the complexity of the construction, and the hard job it was to spread it upon those mountains and valleys.
I can't imagine anyone visiting Beijing without seeing the Great Wall of China.
So anyway, I'll put my two cents worth in about my tour trip to the Wall. I knew ahead of time that the Badaling section was wicked commercialised, but I really didn't care.
In a tour, you'll most likely only get about an hour and a half to explore the wall, take some pictures and spend your money on cheesy tourist gifts that line most of the Badaling section of the wall.
The more difficult side is to the left and the easier side is to the right. I can tell you this much.....in a foreign country where their language and written characters seem so bizarre and hard to understand, there is one universal symbol....
Some of the stairs on the left side, take the word "steep" to a new level but you can only go just so far until you have to turn around, as there is a guard positioned at the end to keep people from traveling on beyond, where the more undeveloped section of the wall continues.
Although I just stuck to the short tour of Badaling, I was told it isn't too difficult to get a tour guide for the more difficult sections of the wall at Mutianyu or Simatai. Just ask your tour guide or the tour desk at your hotel.
according to wikipedia The Great Wall of China is a series of stone and earthen fortifications in China, built, rebuilt, and maintained between the 5th century BC and the 16th century to protect the northern borders of the Chinese Empire during the rule of successive dynasties.
No need to say that they are trying to protect themselves from Turkish tribes attack..
The Great Wall is the world's longest human-made structure, stretching over approximately 6,400 km from Shanhaiguan in the east to Lop Nur in the west, along an arc that roughly delineates the southern edge of Inner Mongolia.The Ming Wall was guarded by more than one million men. It has been estimated that somewhere in the range of 2 to 3 million Chinese died as part of the centuries-long project of building the wall.
It is amazing because personally I dont believe that turkish tribes at that time had a population of more 200.000!!! an 1000000 soldiers to protect the wall and 2-3 million chineses who died seems a little nonsense to me...anyway I am here again after 2500 years
After one week warm autumn in Beijing, suddenly snow fall in Badaling. There are a lot of of stores sell gloves or hats, but quite expensive because they know that you need it.
Entrance gate for walking is different with that for cable car. Make sure that you select the right direction.
Nov 2008, ticket for walking costs 40 yuan, 7.30-17.00. The ticket is a postcard included a stamp.
There are a lot of buses 919 from Deshengmen (500 m east of Jishuitan subway), but only one will go to Badaling. Write down the great wall badaling in chinese, make it easy to ask people for the corret bus. Bus depart every half hour from 5.50 am and return from Badaling until 18.30. Trip takes 90 min, cost 12 yuan (have discount for Yikatong-IC card user).