When you visit Beijing in China the Great Wall is probably the first place that pops up in your mind for visiting, however, we somehow left it for the last. We waited for the best season to explore such an important place. Turns out waiting for September for a walk on the Great Wall was a smart idea, why? Because it is cooler (but still a little hot), it is less crowded and it is insanely beautiful (if you don’t believe me look at the pictures).
How to get there?
Hiring a taxi or joining on a tour might be a smart thing to do, however it is also very touristic. As I mentioned some time ago, if you request a tour you might end up on the most touristic area – Badaling, but I suggest visiting Mutianyu, which is a bit further out.
If you’d like to try visiting the Mutianyu Great wall on your own, this is what I would suggest. Wake up early in the morning and go to the Dongzhimen metro station (Exit B), ignore the main bus station and go behind it (find Dongzhimen Coach station on the Apple maps). That is the bus station you’ll need. Here you need to look for the bus #936 or a bus heading to Mutianyu Scenic Spot. If you are lost, you can always ask guards, they are all around.
There is only ONE bus per day, which leaves at 8.30 and leaves back at 16.00, make sure you don’t miss it. Another thing that is important is having enough CASH on you. One way ticket is RMB 30 per person, which you will need to pay upon getting in the bus in cash.
The Great Wall.
1.30 minutes later you will arrive to the Mutianyu Ticket office and resting area. Here you can buy tickets: entrance ticket (RMB45 per person), bus ticket (RMB15 per person – or you can walk), rope way + toboggan ticket (RMB120 per person) and additional ticket for a museum (request to skip this as it will be the most useless 10 kuai you’ll ever spend). So all around ticket for 2 pax will set you behind RMB370.
As I mentioned, you can get tickets of RMB120 for rope way up + toboggan down or you can simply but tickets for a return cable car. If you’d like cheap but the most adventurous way, that will be walking up and down and then you will only need to pay the entrance fee.
Rope way takes you up pretty fast and let you see the sceneries around. But for the people who do not like heights, I would say it would be a very uncomfortable ride.
Up on the Wall you would probably need 3-4 hours to walk around, depending on your pace and how far you would walk. Basically every spot here is great for the pictures…
If you are planning to spend an entire day on the Wall, I would suggest bringing some snacks and maybe a lunch with you as up there you will not find many reasonable options. However in the villages down you will be able to get quite a few options – from fast food chains (Burger Kind & Subway) to the local Peking duck & noodles.
Make sure you bring water with you as they charge RMB 20 for a small bottle on the Wall which is an extreme amount to pay. Another thing you will surely need is sunblock and a hat to protect yourself from the sun as it is very active up there.
The Great Wall surely worth a visit, and the pictures is the best way to illustrate why…
Tobogan to go down is a fun thing to do, it is not too dangerous if you ride carefully.
After visiting the Great Wall, the nest destination is exploring the Central area of Beijing, to find more refer to the Guide to Living in Beijing.