China

Visit the Chinese Great Wall: How to get there from Beijing?

Are you leaving for Beijing soon and best time to visit the Great Wall? Be sure to visit the Great Wall of China: explain how!

If you go to Beijing , you should not miss visiting the Great Wall of China. Gigantic stone cordon of Chinese military fortifications erected between the 3rd century BC and the 17th century AD, the Great Wall of China is one of the largest ancient relics in the world. It is also the most important architectural structure that man has ever built. Finally, it would be the largest cemetery in the world, where 10 million workers and peasants enlisted by force for construction would have left their lives. The Great Wall, which is more than 6,000 kilometers long, was built from the Qin Dynasty to protect China’s northern border, and stretches from Qinhuangdao City in the China Sea to Jiayuguan in the desert. of Gobi. Long 6 times the distance between Lille and Marseille, as well as saying that D. Trump, planning to wall his border with Mexico, can not compete with the Qin of Antiquity! This is the eastern part of the wall that you will visit from Beijing.

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, you will be able to visit the Great Wall of China with several designs in mind: looking for a grandiose panorama, a tourist trip, a wild hike off the beaten path … To find a pleasant weather, we you are advised to go to this part of China from May to June. To help you choose the point of entry on the fortification (which section or section to visit), we have concocted this little guide to visit the Chinese Wall from Beijing.

Jiankou

Photo credit: Flickr – La Priz

If you’re looking for steep ridges with steep stairs on the mountain peaks, you’re in the right place, 80 kilometers north of Beijing. Very little frequented, it is a wild site of the Great Wall of China, left abandoned for several centuries. Built with dolomite and brick, it gives a whitish appearance different from other sections. A paradise for photo safaris, but you must be in good physical condition to travel because some places turn out to be more of climbing than hiking.

Gubeikou

Photo credit: Flickr – Kyle Taylor

To be truly cut off from the world, it is to Gubeikou that you have to go to visit the Great Wall of China. Located 130 kilometers northeast of Beijing, the section is unrenovated and is very steep. It is therefore difficult to access. Gubeikou was, during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), a strategic defense center to fight against the Mongol invasions. The section is 40 kilometers long, rises to 665 meters above sea level, and offers 300 meters of elevation! We recommend it to experienced hikers because the portion is not maintained.

Simatai and Jinshanling

Photo Credit: Flickr – Glenn Strong

Village perched northeast of Beijing, Simatai has the double advantage of being connected to the Great Wall, without being too busy with tourists. With its connection to the Jinshanling section, one can hike ten kilometers on the wall, passing from one section to the other. Thus, by imagining to go to the assault of the ramparts as a barbarian of the Middle Ages, your photos will not be spoiled by the presence of hundreds of tourists to erase on image editing software … This part of the Grande Wall is built on the ridge of the mountains, and some gradients – though landscaped with stairs – can be steep to walk. On the other hand, these are the least renovated portions of the Great Wall, some of which have never been restored since their initial construction.

Badaling

Photo Credit: Flickr – Crosbie Wine

Located 70 kilometers from Beijing, this entry point on the Great Wall is the most touristic area of ​​the building. Foreign tourists and Chinese visitors flock there by the millions all year round: every day, this section suffers the footsteps of 55,000 visitors! The site has been renovated and converted to accommodate the public, which means that, in addition to its proximity to Beijing, it is undergoing mass tourism, at all ages. Choose another place to visit the Great Wall of China if hiking along a human highway is a nuisance, because the site can be very noisy and “bottled”. Even at the watchtowers, vendors will offer drinks, postcards, T-shirts … This section is easy to access, easy to walk, there are even access for people with reduced mobility.

Juyongguan

Photo credit: Flickr – Sanjay PK

Closer to Beijing than Badaling, yet less traveled, the Juyongguan portion is located in a 20-kilometer-long valley, and is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Mountains enclose the wall on all sides, giving a majestic appearance to the site. One can imagine the difficulty of besieging the place for the enemy. If you want to avoid the crowd without getting too far from Beijing, Juyongguan is perfect for you. The walk takes about two hours to enjoy the fortresses.

Mutianyu

Photo credit: Flickr – Michael McDonough

Mutianyu is located just 70 kilometers northwest of Beijing, and is connected to the Jinshanling section. It was once used as a northern defense barrier and as an imperial cemetery. Older than the Badaling section, Mutianyu dates from the 6th century and is state of conservation is incredible. Its peculiarity is that with 22 watchtowers for 2.25 kilometers in length, there is a watchtower every 100 meters. Less touristy and more authentic, this part of the wall is accessible, without being stormed by hordes of tourists. Choose it to visit the Great Wall of China in peace and go hiking in the heart of nature.

Huang Hua Cheng

Photo credit: Flickr – Yohan Creemers

From the organized excursion to the self-guided hike, from the most touristy to the most natural, from the restored sites to the sites left as they are, from the remote section of Beijing to the nearest of the Chinese capital, there is a lot of choice to visit the Great Wall of China. The Huang Hua Cheng section is located in the north of Beijing and is not frequented by tourists, as it includes whole sections that have not been restored. It leaves the possibility to do ten kilometers of hiking in the countryside, between lush vegetation, mountains and lake. The best season to visit is spring or autumn, as temperatures can drop to -20 ° C in winter, and climb to 40 ° C in mid-summer without shade. Below, Lake Huang Hua Cheng can also offer beautiful walks.

Practical questions to visit the Great Wall of China

When to visit the Great Wall of China? Spring (April-May) and autumn (September-November) are the best times to visit the Great Wall (around Beijing). You will avoid the uncomfortable heat, the influx of tourists in summer and the cold conditions of winter.

What is the price for visiting the Great Wall of China? Tours departing from Beijing have fares ranging from around € 30 to € 100. The price depends on the section visited, as well as the included services. But all or almost all excursions include A / R transportation from your hotel in Beijing, tickets to the Chinese Wall, guidebook in English, and lunch.

How long does it take to visit the Great Wall of China? You have to plan the day from Beijing. Do not plan any other excursions or visits when visiting the Great Wall.

Main photo credit: Flickr – David Almeida

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