Our travel experts at Beijingholiday.com have collected some of the most common questions we received about the Great Wall tours in Beijing to better help plan your trip in Beijing.
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A visit to the Great Wall is a must do for people visiting Beijing. Choose from several restored and original sections that can be visited on day trip from Beijing. Have a look at the options available.
1) If you don’t have much time, but you still want to have a glimpse of the Wall, especially on a busy day, choose Juyongguan Great Wall.
2) If you want to see the gorgeous section of the Wall in Beijing and don’t mind the tourist crowd, go to Badaling Great Wall.
3) If you want to visit the Wall with a beautiful green scenery and environment, visit Mutianyu Great Wall or Huanghuacheng Great Wall.
4) If you travel with kids or seniors, go to visit Mutianyu Great Wall. There have own prominent peculiarities, such as the flourish grasses and dense forests, closely packed watchtowers, special architecture of gateway platform. We believe that the Mutianyu is much suitable for relax and hiking tour for family.
5) If you want to hike the wild and original bits of the Wall, go to hike Jinshanling Great Wall, Gubeikou or Simatai Great, or put them together.
6) If you don’t want to see “people watching people”, and look for a least tourist section, then go to Ruined Badaling Great Wall.
7) Jiankou Section of the Wall is not recommended due to wildness and danger.
There are five sections of the Great Wall around Beijing which are officially opened to the public:
Badaling: 50km northwest from central Beijing, busy, popular, breathtaking view of the wall winding
Juyongguan: 60km northwest from central Beijing, closest section, heavily renovated, steep
Mutianyu: 70km north of central Beijing, green, wonderful scenery
Simatai: 120km northeast of central Beijing, rugged, steep and hazardous
Jinshanling: 125km northeast of central Beijing, wild, rugged, steep and hazardous
1) From Denshengmen Bus Station to Badaling:
Bus No. 919 (air conditioner bus)
Bus Terminal: Deshengmen (德胜门快车)
Destination: Badaling Great Wall
Bus Fare: RMB 12
The first Bus: 6:00am
The last bus: 6:30pm
Bus No. 919 (common bus)
Bus Terminal: Deshengmen (德胜门慢车)
Destination: Badaling Great Wall, Badaling Sarafi Park, Juyongguan Great Wall, Longqingxia
Bus Fare: RMB 8
The first Bus: 6:00am
The last bus: 6:30pm
2) From Denshengmen Bus Station to Juyongguan Great Wall:
Bus Terminal: Deshengmen (德胜门快车)
Destination: Nankou Dongjie Station
The first Bus: 6:00am
The last bus: 6:30pm
Then take bus No.68 in Changping District and get off at the terminal station
The first Bus: 7:00am
The last bus: 6:30pm
Subway Line 13 and get off at Longze Station in Changping District.
Then take bus No.68 in Changping District and get off at the terminal station.
3) From Denshengmen Bus Station to Mutianyu:
Bus No. 916
Bus station: Dongzhimen (东直门长途站)
Destination: Mutianyu Great Wall (actually the bus stops at Huairou District Conference centre and then you take a mini bus from Huairou to Mutianyu Great Wall)
Bus Fare: RMB 12
Mini Bus Fare: RMB 40
Bus Operation Time: 6:00-20:00
The easiest way is to hire a taxi for the trip there & back. Don't go by the meter - negotiate a price for there & back, you pay the driver when you end your journey.
4) From Denshengmen Bus Station to Simatai
As of 17 June, 1010 the Simatai section of the wall is closed for restoration work. There is no official word on how long this part of the wall is closed for but local tour agencies are saying it will be approx 2 years until completion. Once again best to negotiate a taxi there and back or a bus from Dongzhimen Long distance bus station to Miyun and change to a mini bus or taxi to Simatai:
Bus No. 980
Bus Terminal: Dongzhimen Long Distance Bus Station (东直门长途站)
Destination: Simatai Great Wall (The bus stops at Miyun County and then you take a mini bus from the downtown Miyun to Simatai.)
Bus Fare: RMB 15
Minibus Fare: RMB 10
Bus Operation Time: 6:00-18:00
Most popular is the hike between Simatai and Jinshanling. It takes 4 hours and it is best to start at Jinshanling & walk back towards Simatai (it makes it easier to return to Beijing).
5) To Jinshanling:
To get there: Negotiate for a taxi for the day approx RMB 400-600.
To take mini-bus or bus from Dongzhimen Long Distance Bus Station to Gubeikou, and then get off at Bakeshiying Stop. You can also get the same bus listed for Simatai (Bus No. 980) - when the bus arrives at the Minyu County Stop and get a minivan to Jinshanling, or hike from Simatai to Jinshanling.
Nowadays, the most popular Great Wall part for visit has standing in Beijing area. Actually, Beijing Great Wall could be visited in four seasons, every season has its own features, spring and autumn is the best time to travel in Great Wall, particularly in the months of April, May, September and October.
April, October, and Earlier November: long shorts, overcoat;
May, June, July and August: Summer dress, many T-shirts shorts;
December, January and early February: winter hat with ear flap, ear warmers, gloves, scarf, warm jackets and other Winter Accessories.
The Great Wall hike is impossible only because the road access to sections is blocked due to the heavy snow. Beijing nowadays rarely snows. But if you plan to do the hike in winter, we do suggest you check the weather report.
We have recommended comfortable Simatai Great Wall Hotel, Jinshanling Hotel, Juyongguan Hotel or some farmhouse inns.
Yes. The cable car is optional. The cable car is available on Badaling, Mutianyu, Jinshanling and Simatai. We suggest you hike up the Great Wall and take the cable car down the wall.
Yes. We will arrange English speaking tour guides to escort you from the beginning to the end. They have received special training in learning the history and construction of the Great Wall.
Yes. We can arrange the visitors to some local villages on the spot when you are interested in mixing with the locals.
Yes. You have a van or car exclusively for your own use from the beginning to the end.
Actually, how long walking on the wall is up to your itinerary, every section of Great Wall has its unique area, so the traveler must have a round trip in one Great Wall section and the average time for walking is about 2 hours.
There also have a special Great Wall area in north of Beijing, including three famous sections: Simatai, Jinshanling and Gubeikou, which has connect with each other on the top of mountains, the most popular hiking tour is from Jinshanling to Simatai, about 10 kilometers and 3-4 hours for finishing.
From 17th March, 2009, for protecting this great symbol of the Chinese nation, the China Heritage Committee issued a notice about prohibiting camping on the Great Wall, and this should be a permanent rule in the future.
According to our ideas, one day Great Wall tour is enough for the general tourists; of course, it is also available to visit two Great Wall parts in one day. In addition to the above mentioned the Jinshanling to Simatai, there also have some adjacent Great Wall sections in Beijing, such as Badaling and Juyongguan, Mutianyu and Huanghuacheng, etc.
Based on different destinations, Great Wall trip is divided into two categories by traffic situation. Getting to the Badaling, Juyongguan Great Wall is most convenient by public transportation, while the Mutianyu, Simatai Great Wall is a little difficult to reach there, to rent a private car, or to join a tourist group is our recommend.
Based on different purposes, self-guided lovers would like to visit the Great Wall by themselves, and bring a tourist guide map, back pack, some food and waters to do a flexible trip. But if you used to travel with an agent, to book a driver or an arrangement tours is good way for relaxation and convenience.
1) Value for Money
Most hotels, travel agents and website could be booking the Great Wall trips for tourists, many very cheap quotes for a day tours to some Great Wall sections, such as the Badaling and Ming Tombs bus tour, though you could see the Great Wall, maybe only 1 hours, there are some scam waiting for you during this day. So avoid too tourist attractions and the cheapest prices.
2) Shopping Scam
Nowadays, the shopping scam becomes a familiar feature of tourist industry in Beijing or China. Many tourism industry make the first-trip tourists just stop and visit the factories, buy the big overprices products by blandishments. So confirm journey with no shopping guaranteed.
3) Hiding Cost
Almost every provider promised there are no extra in their tours, but if you compare the details with 2-3 companies, you would find some differences with including service, such as the small entrance tickets, cable car of Great Wall, lunch, tips for tour guide and driver. So compare trip with distinct quote.
Essential products: Hiking shoes; Camera; Mineral water; Small change
Added products: Sunscreen; Coat; Some food; Umbrella; tent (sleeping hiker)
It is a beginning - intermediate level. The hike from Jinshanling to Simatai takes about 4-5 hours, the touchiest hike. Hike section by section.
Jinshanling Great Wall is close to Simatai Great Wall, a site tourists can reach on foot in just a few hours. Relatively, Jinshanling Great Wall is less busy and has the advantage of being still broadly walkable. The level of difficulty can be classed as relaxing even though certain parts are tricky.
Recently more regained interest, Jinshanling Great Wall attracts a growing number of hikers hoping to practice. With beautiful scenery, tourists can walk there all the year around. Most popular is the hike between Simatai and Jinshanling. It takes 4 hours and it is best to start at Jinshanling and walk back towards Simatai (it makes it easier to return to Beijing).
The best season for the Great Wall hike falls between March and November. Winter Great Wall Hike is a bit challenging mainly due to the frozen weather in later December, January and early February each year in Beijing.
But no matter how cold it is in Beijing, all the five officially opened sections of the Great Wall are open to the public - Badaling Great Wall, Juyongguan Great Wall, Mutianyu Great Wall, Jinshanling Great Wall and Simatai Great Wall.
It is no a joke. The wall can be dangerous! Especially in the wild sections, the walls were built in the steep mountains and the bricks are loose. It is frequently the case that tourists fall off and lose their lives. So watch your step and raise your self-protection awareness when you travel on it.
I am afraid it is hard to tell the number. Here I can just give you a number for reference: during Chinese National Day holiday of 2012 (Oct. 1-7), 414,000 visitors went to Badaling Section.
The wall is a huge construction which starts from Hushan, Liaoning in the east and ends at Jiayuguan Pass, Gansu in the west, across Liaoning, Hebei, Beijing, Tianjin, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, Gansu and Qinghai Provinces.
Many people are curious about the overall length of the Great Wall. This question is difficult to answer as it is often compared to a huge dragon winding up and down in the mountains, grassland and deserts. In Chinese history, more than 20 states and dynasties had ever built the wall, and the sections built in Qin (221 BC-206 BC), Han (206BC-220) and Ming (1368-1644) dynasties exceed 10,000 Li (about 3,107 miles). The new survey of the length of the wall in Ming Dynasty has confirmed that it is 8,851.8 km (5,500 miles) long.
In ancient China, northern nomadic tribes tried to attack and rule the Central Plains. To prevent them from plundering the territory and protect people, the common were ordered to build the Great Wall. As China covers such a large area, to well resist against the northern nomadic tribes, the wall was built very long.
At the same time, the Great Wall was also a dividing line for two different cultures at each side of it: Agricultural and Nomadic civilizations. For generations, the Chinese people have lived on their fertile land. Ancient China was ruled by emperors who kept order and maintained harmony and stability, hence China prospered and Chinese culture flourished.
The main body of the Ming wall measures 21 feet tall on average.
It took more than 2,000 years to build all the sections.
The accurate number is unknown. But roughly estimated, it was made of 3,873,000,000 individual bricks.
This ancient great wall was actually built of wood, earth, grass, and three principal different types of stone: granite (magmatic rock), white marble (metamorphic rock) and and white stones (sedimentary rock, like sandstone and limestone).
It depends on your routes and speed. The first man to finish trekking the most length spent two years from Shanhaiguan Pass to Jiayuguan Pass.
Many people died of building the wall, and it is the common understanding of most people that they were simply buried in the wall. It is thought that the ancient people did so mainly for the following reasons: firstly, to save funeral expenses; secondly, to save building materials, for bones are good, natural material friendly to environment; thirdly, to deep fertilize the wall to make the roots of plants go deeper so to protect the foundations; the last and the strangest, the wall can intimidate the avenging spirits of those who died for the building it.
For the number of death, countless, there is no accurate number on how many people died building the Wall.
The First Great Wall built in 214 BC ordered by Qin Shi Huang – the first Emperor in China after he had unified the whole country for the first time. It is said that the general Meng Tian used 300,000 labor forces and spent 10 years, completing the 5000km long defense system in North China.
If the enemies attacked, the soldiers stationed in the watchtower lit fires and set off smoke to signal to the next watchtower. If it was a daytime attack, they lit smoky fires by burning a mixture of wolf dung and dry hay. If the attack came at night, they made bright flaming fires. In this way, a signal was passed along the wall to the capital of the kingdom a lot faster than horse riding. An alarm could be relayed over 500km within just a few hours.
Yes. but only if they need food or to escape from danger. Wild pandas could not live near the Great Wall of China because of the unsuitable living environment.
The wall is the biggest national military defense project built in the cold steel age of human history. Like a giant dragon wriggling in the northern China, it stands for the spirit of Chinese people.
There is a longstanding dispute that the Great Wall is visible in space. Believe It or Not! Cartoon from May 1932 makes the claim that the Wall is “the mightiest work of man, the only one object would be visible to the human eye from the moon” and Richard Halliburton’s 1938 book Second Book of Marvels makes a similar claim. This belief has persisted, protecting urban legend position, sometimes even entering school textbooks. In fact, the Great Wall definitely cannot be seen by the unaided eye from the distance of the moon. Even its visibility from near-earth orbit is questionable. The visible wall theory was shaken once again after China’s own astronaut, Yang Liwei, said he couldn’t see the historic structure.
A recent photograph taken from the International Space Station appears to confirm that China’s Great Wall can be seen with the naked eye under certain favorable viewing conditions and if one knows exactly where and how to look.
As one of the greatest feats that mankind has ever undertaken, the Great Wall of China is not one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The reason may have been that the Greeks (who proposed the list of Wonders) were not aware of the existence of the wall in the 5th century.
While on July 7, 2007, an organization announced a “new” set of the Seven Wonders of the World based on online voting from around the world; the Great Wall of China ranked the third.