China Travel Tips

Reflections on Travel in China

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Visiting and Hiking the Great Wall

The Great Wall is one of the most visited sites in all of China.  Most Group Tours go to the Badaling section of the Wall because it is closest and there is a freeway going there.  Not my most favorite place to visit the Wall often with over 80 or more buses in the parking lot.  My choice has always been the Mutianyu section for most tourists.  The walk or hike is fairly easy as you can see in the photos.  This section has been repaired except for a steep section in the distance where you can see a part that has not been repaired and left as it was found many years ago.   For avid hikers the Simatai section is often visited although steep and more rugged.  If you are interested in doing a one way hike, the Jinshanling to Simatai sections for avid hikers is the most popular hike.  For a more rugged hike that takes about 3 hours, the sections of Huanghua to ZhuangdaoKou Guan is good but expect dense vegetation and rocks to navigate around.   The Great Wall is about 40 or more miles north of Beijing extending out to the Yellow Sea east and west into north central China.  The western section however is difficult to see since it is mostly in ruins.  To get to the Great Wall you can take a bus tour that picks up at many of the Beijing Hotels, take a train to the Badaling section or hire a car and driver for the day with a cost of about $100.  My private tours include a car and driver and you may stay as long as you wish before returning to the city.  I like to take a picnic lunch and enjoy a nice walk on the Wall meeting other tourists and some of the local people.   For more information on the Great Wall, contact me at   My name is Dave   My web site is

Click on the photos for a full screen view.

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