“He who has not climbed the Great Wall is not a true man!”, as what was said by China’s first Chairman Mao Zedong, the Great Wall should be on every traveler’s bucket list. This China’s greatest engineering triumph, made from brick, stone, tamped earth and wood, is a direct link with legendary dynasties of China’s past as there were continuous ancient dynasties invested unquantifiable labour and material resources to construct and reconstruct the Great Wall. Nowadays, you can still see there are more than 5,500 miles of the Great Wall snaking its way over the perched mountainsides from the gobi desert in northwestern China to the sea coast of far eastern China. Beijing, the capital city, possesses about 573km (356 miles) of the Great Wall including the world famous Badaling, Mutianyu, Jiankou, etc., stretching alone the steep peaks and hills at its remote northern districts. You can easily plan a satisfied day trip to the closer sections of the Great Wall from Beijing. But for those who want to explore, it’s available to hike, bike even camp on some sections. Contact China Discovery to tailor-make a Great Wall trip now!
Latest Travel News: The opening hours of Simatai Great Wall in summer time are: 8:00~17:00 in the day time and 17:30~21:30 in the night time.
Many people mistakenly assume that the Great Wall of China is a continuous entity. Actually, the Great Wall exists in chunks scattered with natural defenses, usually the precipitous mountains. According investigations, the Great Wall of China stretches through 16 provinces, cities and autonomous regions, such as Shandong, Henan, Hebei, Inner Mongolia, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Gansu, Liaoning, Ningxia, Beijing, Tianjin, Xinjiang, Heilongjiang, Qinghai, Jilin and Hubei, etc. Taking into location, landscape, transportation, tourist amenities into consideration, below 7 sections of Great Wall are most popular among tourists.
|Great Wall Sections||Restored/Wild||Landscape||Hiking Difficulty||Crowdedness||Distance from Downtown||Cable Car||Time Needed|
|Mutianyu||Restored||Less crowded||74km(46mi)||Yes||Half day|
|Jinshanling||Half Restored/Half Wild||Less crowded||154km(96mi)||Yes||Half day|
|Simatai||Wild||Not crowded||140km(87mi)||Yes||A day|
|Jiankou||Wild||Not crowded||72km(45mi)||No||A day|
|Huanghuacheng||Half Restored/Half Wild||Not crowded||80km(49mi)||No||A day|
|Gubeikou||Wild||Not crowded||144km(89mi)||No||A day|
|Badaling||Restored||Very crowded||75km(47mi)||Yes||Half day|
Generally speaking, Mutianyu is the best option if you travel with kids, or want to enjoy a leisure and scenic hike. If you are a hiker, choose 1 or 2 sections among Jinshanling, Simatai and Gubekou to hike 1 or 2 days. If you are the second-timer, maybe Huanghuacheng section will be very attractive to you. Its lakeside walls are very stunning. Read more about What Are the Best Sections of the Great Wall to Visit from Beijing?
Below are the most important and useful articles with information and tips to help you plan your Great Wall trip easier. Fee free to contact us if you have any question about the Great Wall.
We have complied this Great Wall of China Ultimate Guide which have synthesized the most useful insights and tips from our Great Wall researcher and Beijing local tour guide to help you plan the perfect Great Wall adventure.
Our travel experts’ handpicked top Great Wall Hiking tour packages which take you to explore the best sections of Great Wall, such as Mutianyu, Huanghuacheng, Jiankou, Jinshanling, Simatai, etc.
The Great Wall is theoretically suitable to visit all year round. But considering most people would prefer a trip on beautiful days with fewer crowds, the best time is spring and autumn, especially in April, May, September, and November.
There is no restaurant on the Great Wall, but some sections of Great Wall, such as Mutianyu, Jinshanling, Badaling, provide restaurants which are usually located at the feet of the Great Wall.
The location of each section of Great Wall varies greatly so is the available transportation. Some sections, which are closer to Beijing, can be reached easily, such as Badaling, Mutianyu, Juyongguan and Huanghuacheng. These sections of Great Wall provide flexible choices of transportation, including private car, train, tourist bus and public buses. Some sections of Great Wall are much further away from Chengdu, including Jinshanling, Simatai, Gubekou. Travellers can only get there by private car or public buses (usually takes much longer, and need to change bus for several times). To know more transportation information of Great Wall, please check how to get to & around Great Wall!
- Location: Bohai Town, Huairou District, Beijing, China北京市怀柔区渤海镇慕田峪村, 75 kilometers (46 miles) from Beijing
- By Private Car: taking a private car is the most recommended way to get to Mutianyu Great Wall. It takes only about 1.5 hours to get there. Your driver can pick up you from your hotel, airport, train station or other locations in Beijing.
- By Bus: You can go to Beijing Tourist Distribution Center (北京旅游集散中心) or Dongzhimen Wai Bus Station (东直门外站) to take tourist buses to Mutianyu Great Wall. These buses only depart during 8:30am-9am, and return from the Great Wall at around 16:00. Beijing Tourist Distribution Center (北京旅游集散中心) is located near Tian’anmen Square, and connected by metro Line 2. Dongzhimen is about 7km away from Tianmen Square and you can get there by metro Line 2, metro Line 13 and several public buses.
- Location: Hualougou, Bakeshiyin Town, Luanping County, Heibei 河北省承德滦平县巴克什营镇花楼沟村160 kilometers (100 miles) from Beijing
- By Private Car: using a private transfer service arranged by a travel agency can save you from the crowdedness of public buses. It takes only about 2.5 hours to get to the entrance of Jinshanling section of Great Wall.
- By Bus: There are usually 4 daily tourist buses running from Dongzhimen Wai Bus Station (东直门外站) for Jinshanling Great Wall, but only operating during April ~ October. It takes about 3 hours to get to Jinshanling. You can get to Dongzhimen Wai Bus Station by metro Line 2 or 3.
- Location: Simatai, Gubei Ancient Town, Miyun District, Beijing北京市密云区古北水镇司马台村,150 kilometers (94 miles) from Beijing.
- By Private Car: pick up you from your hotel, airport, train station or other locations in Beijing, and need only about 2.5 hours to get to Simatai.
- By Bus: Simatai Great Wall belongs to the Gubei Water Town Scenic Area. You can take a tourist bus from Dongzhimen Wai Bus Station (东直门外汽车站) to Gubei Ancient Town first, then walk for several minutes to Simatai section of Great Wall. The morning bus departs at around 8am, and the afternoon bus departs at around 15:30.
Walking is the major way to get on and around the Great Wall. But usually one need to hike on some mountain paths to get on to the wall and towers from the entrance of the scenic zones. For those who are not in good physical condition or want to save energy and time, you can take cable cars up and down at Badaling, Mutianyu, Jinshanling and Simatai sections of Great Wall. The wild sections of Great Wall at Gubeikou, Jiankou, Huanghuacheng, Jinshanling (unrestored part), Simatai (unrestored part) have no cable cars. Taking toboggan down the Great Wall is also very popular among tourists. Currently only Badaling and Mutianyu have toboggans.
To help you know better about location, transportation and attractions of Great Wall of China, here we prepare some useful Great Wall maps. Please feel free to read and download. Contact us if you have any question about the Great Wall.
[Important] Travel News for Expats: China travel is reopening now! Travel with China Discovery and learn about where to visit & requirements for each destination! Read Details >