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Must go!
Rating 4.3 (223 votes)

Great Wall of China

Listed under Forts and Fortifications in Beijing, China.

  • Photo of Great Wall of China
  • Photo of Great Wall of China
  • Photo of Great Wall of China
  • Photo of Great Wall of China
  • Photo of Great Wall of China
  • Photo of Great Wall of China
  • Photo of Great Wall of China
  • Photo of Great Wall of China
Photo of Great Wall of China
Photo by Dave and Deb
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I had seen photos of the cable car leading up to sections of the Great Wall of China but I hadn't seen any photos of the tobogganing slide going down. From that opening sentence you may think that I visited Great Wall: Tour Group Central, but I didn't; Mutianyu is one of the best preserved sections of the wall but it's not the most heavily touristed. Fair play about the cable car, it's a very steep trip up to the wall in this section, the mountains rise straight up, stepping out of the flat plain Beijing sits on, and a lot of people would have been unable to walk on the wall if they hadn't been able to get up in the cable car, but when I got up to the first landing there was a television production crew filming some kind of song and dance spectacular, a stage had been set up and there were red lanterns everywhere as well as kids singing and dancing and men flying kites. I have no idea what the occasion was but it can't happen every day – neither can the wave after wave of kids playing chasings around the first few guard towers and families sat on the wall having picnics, but then the views of the surrounding hills are impossible for me to put into words – you'll have to look at the photos and watch the video when I finish it, so it is a great spot for a picnic.

A few hundred meters on as the arrow flies the people start to thin out and the going gets a little steeper, the final open section to the left has really steep stairs to climb and there was a nice sense of international camaraderie as people gee'd each other on to get to the top section, where, as well as an even more indescribable view there was a fellow wall walker singing songs from the Peking Opera? Strange and probably an impossibly unlikely one off but I'm sure it will be one of my enduring memories of this trip to Beijing. Also enjoying the entertainment were a group of people working on repairing the next section of wall, with a horse who was looking precariously over the edge at us.

Older people had stalls along the wall selling cold drinks, including beer which they kept offering all the men speaking English, they bring their wares up every day on mules, you can see the mules on the tracks beside the wall.

The toboggan slide was a long stretch in the other direction. And it was a regular toboggan track, like a big slide. Yep, it is a logical way to get down the mountain, but it kinda jars with the kinds of things I was thinking about while I was walking along the wall, namely how brilliant it is that such a huge undertaking could actually exist, but it brings in the money which supports the local economy, and it looked really fun, so I went on it.

Around the base of the wall are the souvenir stalls, but once you get up onto the wall there are sections where you're at least out of hearing distance of any other walkers and you can sit and have a ponder and take some breathtaking photos. If you can get further out and walk on the ruined sections it may be more the experience you're looking for but if you're short on time, M is only about an hour and forty minutes out of Beijing and you're still able to appreciate how huge an accomplishment it wall is and why it definitely deserves the title 'Great'. And did I mention the view, and that you can see the wall dwindle off into the distance, linked by towers which stand out on the top of mountain ridges?

Written by  Kat Mackintosh.

Other expert and press reviews

“The moment has arrived.”

The moment has arrived. It’s the mother of all of China’s tourist attractions, the Pièce de résistance of the country and the coolest landmark in the world.  We all heard about it at an early age and the myth and… Read more...

Written by  Dave and Deb. Continue reading on theplanetd

“The Great Wall”

'In c. 220 B.C., under Qin Shi Huang, sections of earlier fortifications were joined together to form a united defence system against invasions from the north. Construction continued up to the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), when the Great Wall became th… Read more...

Written by press. UNESCO

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

Avoid the crowds

The wall is very long and is made up of distinct sections, each with its own character. I didn't want to deal with the tour buses and crowds, so I opted to travel one of the remote unrestored sections. I started at Jiankou. It's a 2 hr drive from Beijing, then a tough 50 minute hike up a mountain trail to get to the Jiankou section. Then walked along the wall to the restored section in Mutianyu. Didn't see another human for the first 2 miles on the wall. It was great. The wall was overgrown with shrubs and trees, and the trail is very rough, so you need to walk with care. Just want to let you know that it's not all crowded with tourists.

Walking the Wall is just one way to explore this wonder of the world.

Taking a Helicopter Tour is another.

Bookings / Enquiries to Daniel-Heath@Hnair.com

Tel: + 86 186 2758 2249

Only US$160 per person

3 Replies

Hi! Be great if you could let us know a bit more about the helicopter option? How long the tour is, what you'll see, where you leave from, what it's like up in the air etc.? Thanks!

Ok!

HNA Capital Helicopters is a part of the HNA Group - which includes our sister company Hainan Airlines - probably China's best airline company.

We have 5 Eurocopter AS350 B3 Helicopters - a beautiful 6 Seat (4 passenger) luxury chopper and one EC135 - with 2 more arriving soon. Both Helicopters have outstanding global safety records with the AS350 being used for tour flights all over the world.

We are only just starting to market the tours to foreign visitors. I am an FAA Rotorcraft Instructor , Australian National and been working at HNA Capital Helicopters since May 2012. My focus is to fly the tours and market our operations to the foreign market.

We can arrange hotel pick up - or alternatively let us know when you will be making your trip to Badaling. We can meet you there and take you to our airport (10 minutes from the wall).

You will be given a safety briefing - and then escorted to the flight line. We will strap you in - preflight check and then you will be on the way.

Prepare to see the Great Wall of China in a way very few people have before. Your photos will be unique and you will be given a professional commentary along the way.

Our tour starts at US$160 per person. This will give you around 15 minutes of Great Wall time. Of course you can extend the tour beyond the Great Wall by visiting other local sites - Guanting Resevoir (Wild Duck Lake), Kangxi Prairie and back to Badaling Airport. We will then return you to the Great Wall for you to meet up with your tour party or to leave you to explore Badaling and the Great Wall by foot.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see this wonder of the world from the air.

We can also arrange for special air tours - customized to meet your needs. Golf course drop off, weddings or other special occasions.

Please contact me directly to arrange the booking. I am a pilot for HNA Capital Heliocopters - not an agent. I will personally take care of you and may even fly you over the wall.

My email is Daniel-Heath@HNAIR.com

My Contact Number is +86 186 2758 2249

Thanks! That's great!

Great Wall of China Facts

The Great Wall of China was initially built as separated walls by different states before the unification of China to protect their land from invasions. After the Qin Dynasty proved to be the most powerful and took over most of the lands, Emperor Qin Shi Huang connected several walls and built the first Great Wall of China between 220–206 BC, and, thus, called “10,000 li Wall.” The great wall of China was established to prevent any invasion attempts and savage attacks by the northern nomadic tribes and dynasties. However, Genghis Khan, a known leader who united northern nomadic tribes, was able to penetrate the wall and able to conquer northern China, which spread all over the country later on. After the Mongol Empire, China was once again back to the leadership of their countrymen; this time, the Ming Dynasty emerged to be the most powerful. During the Ming Dynasty, the concept of the Great Wall was revived once again. The Ming Dynasty revived, reconstruct, and further elongated the Great Wall of China under its 10 year project. They adopted the strategies used by Mongols to penetrate the walls. They further extended it to the desert where the nomadic tribes used to came from. Unlike the earlier walls, Ming used bricks and stones instead of rammed earth to strengthen it, and devoted on reconstruction and repair of the walls as Mongols continued their attempts.

The great wall is really amazing!

who built it?

Great and overpopulated by agitated Chinese and foreign tourists ...

It should be great, but it's as full as the busiest marketplace in Asia. You must go, if you got the nerves ...

Nice Post! China’s most legendary and massive structure, The Great Wall of China, wiggles sporadically from its dispersed remnants in Lianing toward Jiayugaun province in Gobi Desert.

Disappointment At China’s Great Wall (18/03/2010)

Visiting the Great Wall of China is a a challenge, if you’re a baby boomer with a fear of heights. The experience proved to be one of my biggest travel disappointments. The pictures that I had seen in books, and on the internet, showed a remote setting with few people around. Although, I knew that the wall traveled over steep terrain, none of my research prepared this baby boomer for just how steep and deep the stairs would be, or how crowded.

Alan and I stopped by the Juyongguan section of the Great Wall while on a Regent Seven Seas cruise bus excursion from the pier in Tianjin to our Beijing accommodations at the Regent Beijing Hotel. Later, Jane Yeo, our private guide in Beijing, told us that we had visited one of the more popular gates of the Great Wall, probably to accommodate tour bus parking plus provide restroom and snack facilities for a large number of people.

A handrail attached to the wall provides some security for modern day walkers. I joined a long line of tourists holding onto the rail. Progression up the stairs was slow, depending on who was in front of me. My physical ability wasn’t in question; it was the fear of heights that slowed me down. Faster walkers, who obviously didn’t mind the steepness, pushed on around us.

Read more on my blog: myitchytravelfeet.com/2010/03/18/disappointment-great-wall-of-china

fantastic.............................................................................................................

I am currently walking the ENTIRE length of the Ming Dynasty Great Wall. This was a 21 year old dream that I could not get out of my head or heart.

Started by Jiayuguan in west the middle of April and am about half way now. Have so far experienced temperatures from plus 40C to minus 19C.

Don't know if this link will show - probably not. www.thegreatwallker.com

2 Replies

The link does work - it's just not a live link - interested parties will have to copy it into their browser window. Good luck with the rest of your journey! Keep up posted.

Thanks a lot Mr. / Ms. Reviewer :-)

Just got the message that I will only get a one month (with max two extensions) in HK.

Will keep you posted about the trip!

I climbed up the steps of the Great Wall of China some years ago starting at Badaling. It was awesome!

The Great Wall is the landmark of China. As the traditional Chinese saying goes,"He who does not climb the Great Wall is not a real man", the Great wall always attracts visitors from all over the world every year.

We were there in 1998. It was wonderful--nobody was mad at anybody yet. The Wall is indescribably more awesome than words. I'll be glad to post my pics--I sort of have a pic sort project going on--good timing.

1 Reply

That would be fantastic! Please post your photos up.

I visited The great wall a few years ago and it is realy magnificent as an architectonic structure. Unfortunately, as a subjective experience, the climb there is quite difficult and the thing I remember most is the pain in my legs from which I suffered several days after...

In any case, it is most recomended as a unique experience!!!!

1 Reply

Which part of the wall did you walk along? I hear there are different sections and I want to walk along a bit that's remoter, yet not as hard going as some of the sections of wild wall.

The most awesome place I have ever been!!!!

Great Wall of China

Famously one of the only manmade structures to be seen from space, the Great Wall was originally constructed as a defensive measure against tribes of the north and northwest, over thousands of years, causing many deaths and much suffering. The architecture can be divided into different sections, such as fortressed town, castle, garrison city, mountain pass city, stronghold city, city wall, watch tower, wall tower and furnace mound (for making smoke as signal on sight of invasion). These architectures are connected and coordinate with each other, forming a complete network of defensive strategy, divided into three parts: Mountain Pass City, Beacon Fire Site and Wall. The Chinese call it the Wall of 10,000 Li (10,000 being the highest number in Chinese philosophy), and it’s often referred to as a dragon: a protective and sacred symbol in China. The great Chinggiz (Genghis) Khan was one of the only leaders to successfully take his armies straight through its fortifications.

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