May 08, 2018 The Great Wall of China
Traveling can be an exciting feeling when it is a long dreamt about experience or place. The Great Wall of China has been on my bucket list for many years and I was worried that it wouldn’t live up to my expectations. I am glad to say that it was just as grand as I imagined. It was beautiful and inspiring. There are several areas of the wall that are open to visitors and I’d like to help my fellow travelers have the experience they are seeking by outlining a few different options.
What Section of the Great Wall to Visit
There are 3 main sections of the Wall that can be visited. There are a few more sections that one can visit but they are more challenging or farther in distance. If you are interested in seeing more options click HERE. I will focus on the main three sections near Beijing.
Badaling: This is the most popular section because it is one of the closest to Beijing. It is perfect for those who don’t have a lot of time but really want to see the Wall. It is about 1 1/2 hours drive from Beijing.
Jinshanling: This is the most popular hiking route along the Wall for those who want to really push themselves physically. Half of the Wall is restored and the other half is still wild and overgrown with plants adding to the challenge of trekking along it. It is about a 3 hour drive from Beijing.
Mutianyu: This is considered to be the best restored section of the wall. It is attracts fewer crowds and is child friendly. It is about a 2 hour drive from Beijing.
The Great Wall at Mutianyu
We visited the Mutianyu section because we wanted less people and wanted the best experience for our children. You can hike around 1,000 steps to get to the Wall or take a cable car ride up to tower 14. We opted for the cable car ride up to tower 14 and then hiked (which was mostly downhill) to tower 6. Where there is a toboggan ride that can take you straight to the bottom. Tower 14 to tower 6 is roughly 2.2 kilometers long. It was very easy for our kids to walk and we had very low crowds. At times we didn’t have anyone near us on our section of the wall which was incredible! If you want a bigger challenge you can start at tower 1 and hike to the end at tower 24. This will probably take 3-4 hours to do.
There are 3 main ways to get to the Great Wall. By bus, an organized tour, or private car. We opted for the private car, it gave us flexibility on departure times, lunch, and bathroom breaks with little people. It was hassle and stress free. We booked with a tour through Trip Advisor that we were happy with. An English speaking driver picked us up at our place and covered our tickets to enter the Great Wall. We had to cover the cost of lunch, cable car, and toboggan.
We paid $266.00 USD for a 7 passenger car, English speaking driver, and tickets for the Great Wall
Cable Car going up $9 per adult, children under 6 are free.
Toboggan ride down $13 per adult, children under 6 are free
What to Bring
food for a light picnic on the wall
comfortable walking shoes