Badaling Great Wall VS Mutianyu Great Wall: Which One to Visit

The Great Wall of China attracts hundreds and thousands of visitors every year. It consists of many sections, among which Badaling and Mutianyu are the most popular ones. So many people may wonder which one is better and could not make up their mind about which one to visit. Currently, Badaling is the the most visited and commercialized section of the Great Wall. Its walls and towers are elaborately restored and cable car is also available to allow all ages of tourists to walk the Great Wall easily. The big groups of Chinese tourists usually visit Badaling, which makes it very crowded especially during summer days. While Mutianyu, being much less crowded than Badaling, it is most popular among foreign travellers. It offers great landscape of well-preserved walls and towers as well as beautiful surrounding greenery. Its tourists facilities rank only second to Badaling. In the chart below we have compared Badaling and Mutianyu in a dozen of aspects including the location, landscape, hiking difficulty, crowdedness, etc. to help you better plan a Great Wall tour.

Badaling Great Wall Mutianyu Great Wall

Badaling VS Mutianyu

  Badaling Mutianyu
Distance from central Beijing (Tian'anmen) 72km (45 miles), 1.5 hours’ drive 75km (46 miles), 1.5 hours’ drive
Recommended visiting time Half day Half day
Transportation Direct bus and train Direct bus
Entrance fee CNY 40 (Apr. - Oct.)
CNY 35 (Nov. - Mar.)
CNY 45
Opening hours 06:00 - 19:00 (Apr. - Oct.)
7:30 - 18:00 (Nov. - Mar.)
07:30 - 18:00 (16, Mar. - 15, Nov.)
08:00 - 17:00 (16, Nov. - 15, Mar.)
Length 3.7km (2.3 miles) 5.4km (3.4 miles)
Highest point Watchtower 8: 888.9m (2916 feet) Watchtower 20: 1039.6m (3410.8 feet)
Landscape Renowned as the most representative section of the Great Wall of China Diverse scenery in four seasons for its high vegetation coverage of over 96 %
Cable car Yes Yes
Toboggan Yes Yes
Crowdedness Very crowded Less crowded
Restored/Wild Restored Restored
Hiking difficulty degree Hiking-friendly Hiking-friendly but a little more demanding than Badaling
Suitable travellers families with kids, seniors families with kids, seniors, photographers, hikers
Pros 1. More famous
2. Easy to access
1. Better view
2. Fewer crowds
3. More authentic
Cons Too crowded Less easily accessible

Conclusion: Badaling or Mutianyu

As a rule of thumb, Mutianyu section of the Great Wall is more recommended and more popular with foreign visitors. Here are the reasons. First, though also enjoying stunning scenery, Badaling is always packed with tourists especially in the peak season (April - October). This is also the main reason. Second, Mutianyu provides you with a more authentic hiking experience with steeper steps and more winding paths. Third, you will have a broader vision on the top of Mutianyu for its higher altitude. Fourth, the well-preserved densely dotted watchtowers are another bonus for your trip.

How to Plan a Badaling or Mutianyu Great Wall Tour

No matter which section you choose, you are recommended to start your trip earlier than 8:00am. Then you can spend 3 or 4 hours hiking the wall. After that, you can either get back to downtown Beijing in the afternoon or head to another section of the Great Wall and prepare your second hiking for the next day. Since both sections are famous and popular with tourists especially in July and August, if you want to travel with fewer crowds, sections like Simatai, Jiankou, Jinshanling, Huanghuacheng, Juyongguan are also good choices.

Great Wall is usually a part of a Beijing tour, so you can spend 2 or more days to explore other attractions in Beijing such as Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven, Beijing Hutongs… If you have any ideas or questions about a Great Wall tour, please feel free to contact us, we will provide you with tailor-made tours according to your own interests, budgets, traveling time, etc.

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