As the highlighting section of Great Wall also an important historical site in China, Badaling Great Wall (八达岭长城) has earned many brilliant reputations and favors from all over the world. Thousands of tourists swarm to Badaling Great Wall to witness its significance each month. Many famous politicians are also attracted to admire the Badaling Great Wall by its great reputations.
Badaling Great Wall is located in Yanqing (延庆) County about 60km northwest from Beijing City. Being strategically located and difficult of access, it used to be the vital defensive pass for the capital city - Beijing.
From Beijing downtown, travelers can transfer to Badaling great wall with flexible choices of transportation.
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For independent travelers, you can take public bus (998) at Deshengmen. The transfer takes about 90 minutes from Beijing City to Badaling. There are scheduled high speed trains as another choice - S2 usually depart from Beijing North Railway Station to Yanqing County. Passengers can get off at Badaling Train Station which is the penultimate stop of line S2. Frequent and flexible schedules are offered for you to choose.
"Shih Chi" (史记) and other Chinese historical records have proved that there used to be some ancient walls built during the Warring States Period (战国时期475-221BC). Nearly 1,500 years ago, North Wei Dynasty (北魏) constructed great wall which started from Badaling to the western bank of Yellow River (黄河). The later kingdom North Qi (北齐) expanded the great wall to the eastern region near to the sea.
Ming Dynasty moved capital to Beijing during the reign of Yongle Emperor (永乐皇帝). To prevent the evasion and guard the capital Beijing, Ming Empire spent more than 80 years to rebuild the Badaling Great Wall as an important part of the Ming Dynasty Great Wall which started from Jiayuguan Pass (嘉峪关) on the western China to the Yalu River (鸭绿江) on the eastern China with a total length of more than 6,300 km. Unlike the former dynasties, Ming attached great importance to the project, and was much strict with every detail, including the wall structure, materials, etc. So the walls built in Ming Dynasty were much stronger and more solemn than walls in any other periods.
Due to the constant wars and natural corrosion of more than 500 years, more than 30% of Great Walls are damaged. To preserve the great wall well, a project was launched in 1953 to restore the fortress and some parts of the walls. After several times of restoration, more than 3,741 meters’ wall are now available for tourists, including 16 towers and one fortress.
Badaling Great Wall fully embodies the strategic role of military defense. The walls were constructed on cliffy mountain ranges without interrupt. Defense towers, watching towers, beacon towers connect walls together and stretch to far away. In the ancient time, Badaling Great Wall is the outer defense of Juyongguan Pass.
Compared to other sections of Great Wall, such as Mutianyu, Jinshanling, Badaling Great Wall is featured in wider and higher walls which are usually 6~9 meters high and 6.5~7.5 meters wide, available for 5 houses or 10 solders to get through simultaneously.
The Great Wall is divided into many sections by the fortress. The fortress of Badaling Great Wall is middle-sized shaping like a trapezoid compared to Jiayuguan and Juyongguan. The walls are tall and strong (approximately 20 meters wide, 8 meters high) for soldiers to fight against the invaders. Two high dominating on the fortress allows the guarding solders to observe enemies from far distance. The fortress has two gates which are famous for their historical inscriptions (eastern gate: 居庸外镇 – Ju Yong Wai Zhen; western gate: 北门锁钥 – Bei Men Suo Yue).
There are more than 43 towers on the Badaling Great Wall taking charging of different roles with diverse exteriors and interiors, such as towers for guarding and watching, signaling, battling, camping, etc. So far, only four towers on the southern section and 8 towers on the northern section of Badaling Great Wall are opened for tourist.
If you want to hike the Badaling great wall, you can start to hike from the fortress to the connecting location of southern section and northern section from which you need to first hike one section, and then return the same way to another section. The southern section is short with 4 towers, while the northern section has 8 towers. If you want to save energy and time, you can take cableway directly to the No. 7 Towers on the northern section, then walk to the southern section.
If you want to explore nearby of Badaling, there are several places to go. You can go to learn the history and other facts of the whole Great Wall of China in the Great Wall Museum, or enjoy a documentary movie about great wall in the theatre. There is also a Bear Zoo with wonderful show performed by black bears.
Travelers usually need to transfer about 60km (approximately 1h) from Beijing downtown to Badaling Great Wall where you can stay about a half day. The rest time is for you to travel back to downtown with a side trip to explore the imperial mausoleum of Ming Dynasty – Ding Tomb. You will also stop at Olympic Village to see the brilliant stadiums - Bird Net and Water Cube.
March to May & September to November is the best time to visit Badaling Great Wall. It is warm and comfortable in spring with fewer crowds. Red and golden leaves spread around great walls in autumn. The great walls are stunning when the snow covers the entire northern China.
Since the great walls are built on lofty mountains, one is suggested to wear comfortable and light shoes. Sunblock, sun glasses are recommended in summer days.
The entry ticket: Apr to Oct: ￥50 / Nov to Mar: ￥45
Cableway: one way - ￥80 / round trip - ￥100
To explore the best highlights of Beijing, including Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Great Wall, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Hutongs, you only need 2 or 3 full days, which is available for to 72 Hours Visa-free for Transit in Beijing. If you have more days, you can go for an in-depth Great Wall hiking or photography, and explore more hidden attractions in the city.
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