On Wednesday morning we arrived in Beijing, the first stop on our travels, and yesterday we ventured to The Great Wall.
The Great Wall of China runs east-to-west for 21,196 km across the north. It was primarily used as defence against invaders, but has also been used as border control for trade and immigration. Some of the wall was actually built BC, but the majority was constructed during the Ming era in 14th Century. Near Beijing a lot of the wall has been renovated and looks in pristine condition, further afield the wall is in disrepair.
After much research we decided to visit the Mutianyu (慕田峪 ‘Admire Fields Valley’) area of the wall. It’s meant to be the second busiest section, but as we went through the week and not in holiday season, it was quite quiet.
To get to Mutianyu we used public transport. First we got the line 2 underground from Chongwenmen to Dongzhimen (3 yuan). At Dongzhimen we got the 916 bus (12 yuan) to the Huairou Conference Centre (takes approximately 1.5 hours). Once we got of the bus at the Conference Centre we were bombarded with very persistent drivers offering to give us a lift to the wall, we decided to ignore them and waited for the H23 bus (3 yuan and approximately 30 mins).
Once off the bus at Mutianyu we followed road signs to the entrance and bought our tickets. We bought a ticket which included a cable car that takes you up to the wall, entrance to the wall and a toboggan ride back down (180 yuan).
The cable car up was very rickety, not for the faint hearted! Once at the wall and thankfully back on solid ground we walked in the direction of Jiankou. The Mutianyu section of the wall is one of the most scenic and is full of watch towers so you can really make the most of those views. After walking along the wall for about an hour and a half, we decided to turn back and head to the toboggan as lack of sleep and days of walking started to take it’s toll.
The wall was impressive and to finally see a wonder of the world was great, however the toboggan ride down was probably my highlight. You can enjoy the stunning views as well as picking up some speed and adrenalin.
- £1 = approx 8 yuan and all prices are per person
- If you take public transport have the correct change and prepare to wait and be hassled by locals
- Do not buy a beer at the wall (85 yuan!!!!!)
- You could book a private tour or take a taxi to this area of the wall, however it is more expensive and lacks the flexibility
- You can buy more basic tickets (general entry is 45 yuan) however you will need to walk up and down from the wall
Obviously I’ve not been to any other parts of the wall, so can’t really compare, but I’d really recommend the journey we did. It was easy-ish and cheap to get to, challenging enough to walk and included a toboggan!
We’re in Beijing for one more day and then we’re off to Pingyao. I’m not entirely sure what Pingyao has in store for us yet, but if you have any suggestions I’d love to hear them?
Hope all’s well back in the UK.
P.s For all of you reading that are friends and family… we’re ok! If you have tried to contact us we may not receive it as WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter etc. are all blocked in China. I do have a VPN but trying to keep using that to a minimum. It’s very 1984…