We could not visit China and let the Great Wall of China escape. For those who are in Beijing, the proximity of the wall makes the visit unmissable. Visiting the Great Wall of China was part of our Bucket List and for us, the experience was worth it.
About the Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China is a set of fortifications built over several centuries that together have an extension of 21 thousand kilometers. They were initially built with the aim of protecting the Chinese empire from invasions. It is estimated that the first sections were built in the 7th century BC.
With more than 27 centuries of history, apart from being one of the seven wonders of the world, it remains one of the most appealing tourist attractions in the world. In fact, we all create the idea that it is huge and imposing, but the confirmation of this only happens when we are really inside it. When we realize its immensity, it seems that everything stops for a few seconds around us and we contemplate its beauty and magnificence.
How to get to the Great Wall of China
To visit the Great Wall of China, it is always necessary to book a day. For those who are in Beijing, getting out of the city is not fast because we are talking about a city that has millions of cars circulating daily.
To plan your visit you must choose one of the sections:
- Shanhai Pass
We chose Mutianyu for being one of the closest to Beijing and one of the best in terms of conservation, accessibility and support structures. Badaling is the most touristy and accessible section but, because it is so touristy, it is more likely to be crowded which may spoil the experience of visiting the Great Wall. To get to Badaling it is possible to take a direct bus from Deshengmen bus station (bus 877 or 919 express) and the price of the trip is approximately 13¥.
The access to Mutianyu can be done in three ways:
- Public transportation;
- Group tours;
- Private tours/private guide/driver;
We chose to hire a private driver at the hotel. As far as the price/quality ratio was concerned, it was the best option for us. We paid around 50€ for 8 hours, which allowed us not only to adjust the time of the visit but also to have more flexibility in visiting other things along the way.
When we arrive in Mutianyu there is a tourist center which is still a bit far from the entrance site and that is where you buy the entrances to the Great Wall of China and the bus ticket between the tourist center and the entrance of the Great Wall. The route can also be done on foot. There are several entrance options: you can enter the Great Wall by foot or by cable car, open or closed. As far as the descent, you can also go down by toboggan. As the weather conditions were excellent, we chose to climb in the open cable car and get down on the toboggan (it is well worth the experience). In the tourist center, there are shops and restaurants where you can buy souvenirs or eat a meal. It is at this point that the driver is waiting.
The price of tickets in Mutianyu is:
- Shuttle (one way): 10¥;
- Shuttle bus (return): 15¥;
- Cable car (one way): 100¥ (50¥ child until 12 years);
- Cable car (return): 120¥ (60¥ children until 12 years);
- Cable car and toboggan: 120¥ (60¥ children until 12 years);
- Toboggan: 100¥ (60¥ children until 12 years).
Visiting the Great Wall of China
The Mutianyu section is about 2.5km, however, the route is not easy for everyone as there are extensive areas that are stairs going up and down. When you are there, you must adjust your expectations to your physical condition against your goals.
Visiting the Great Wall of China is special because we have always heard of that place and when we are there we are totally blown away by its size. We imagine the warlike scenes that would have happened there and we were completely breathless with the views of the surrounding landscape. As we entered the Great Wall and watched the view, we heard someone say, “this view alone is worth a million dollars”, and in fact, for us, she was right.
After visiting the wall and descending by toboggan, we took the shuttle back to the tourist center, where we had lunch in a typical Chinese restaurant. Most of the restaurants there are affordable.
On the way back to Beijing we visited a tea house, where we attended a tea ceremony, which explained the importance of tea culture to the Chinese and we tried various kinds of tea typical of that area.
Visiting the Great Wall of China is undoubtedly an experience that no one should miss when visiting Beijing. It really is a wonder of the world and this is perceived well when one is there.
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