The Great Wall of China stretches 21196.18km (13170mi) in the north of China. As the sections in and around Beijing are the most chosen ones, this articles will take those sections like Mutianyu, Simatai, Jinshanling, Badaling, Huanghuacheng as examples to talk about what is the best time to visit the Great Wall of China.
The Great Wall sections in and around Beijing show distinctive seasonal features. The monthly average temperature and precipitation are shown as follows. The coldest day usually falls in January and the temperature can drop to lower than 14°F(-10℃). The hottest day (100.4℉/38℃) is in July or August and these two months are also the time seeing most of the rainfall.
|Temperature (°F)||Average High||34.9||39.2||52.3||67.8||79.5||86.5||87.4||85.1||78.4||66.2||50.2||37.9|
|Average Precipitation (mm)||2.54||5||10.1||25.4||28||71.1||175.2||182.9||48.2||17.8||5||2.54|
The Great Wall of China 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 to visit the Great Wall of China is spring and autumn, especially in April, May, September, and November. And it is always wise to avoid weekends and statutory holidays of China.
In autumn, the temperature begins to drop after the summer heat and sunny days are increasing with the rainy season gone. Most days are sunny or cloudy with gentle wind. Autumn is the most recommended season to go to the Great Wall with pleasant weather, fewer crowds, and colorful scene (mountains covered by trees with red, yellow, and crimson leaves). Generally speaking, going to any section of the Great Wall such as Mutianyu, Simatai, Jiankou, Jinshanling, Gubeikou, Huanghuacheng, Juyongguan, Badaling will not let you down in this season.
What to wear/pack: Light coat, shirts, trousers are recommended for September; an overcoat and sweater are needed in late October and November; always remember to wear a pair of comfortable shoes. You can also bring some facial cream and lip cream in case the weather gets a little dry for your skin.
Statutory holidays: Mid-Autumn Festival (usually lasts 3 days in late September), National Day Holiday (the first week of October).
In spring, it is getting warm yet still a little bit cold at night especially in March. There is not much rain but are chances of windstorms (not severe). Spring is always a lovely season to take a trip, which is also true for the Great Wall. In spring, the mountains around the Great Wall are dotted with pink flowers. If you plan to go to Badaling section, you can try the Beijing Suburban Railway Line 2 which is nicknamed “the train to spring” because it will travel through a vast grove of cherry trees. But be prepared that there may be many tourists. Other less touristy sections like Mutianyu, Simatai, Jiankou, Jinshanling, Gubeikou, Huanghuacheng, and Juyongguan are also very good alternatives.
What to wear/pack: Overcoat and sweater in March and early April, light coat, shirts, and long dresses in late April and May, always a pair of comfortable shoes.
Statutory holidays: Tomb-sweeping Day (5th-7th, April), Labor Day Holiday (usually 3 days around 1st May).
Actually, summer is the best time to capture the lush green forests around the Great Wall. Imagining a boundless stretch of green in front of you, you have to admit that it is quite impressive. Then why summer gets No. 3 in the best-time ranking? There are mainly two reasons. First, the Great Wall area in summer is hot and rainy. Though it won’t affect the scene, the rain may add some difficulties to the hiking and on sunny days, the ultraviolet rays may be too strong especially at noon. Second, it is the time when the Chinese students have their 2-month summer break; so many people will flock into the famous sections of the Great Wall, which may make your tour experience not that satisfactory. If you happen to arrange your tour at that time, the sections with fewer crowds and a higher vegetation coverage rate are more recommended such as Jinshanling Great Wall, Huanghuacheng Lakeside Great Wall, and Jiankou Great Wall.
What to wear/pack: T-shirt, pants, dress, light and comfortable shoes, umbrella, sun hat, sunglasses, sun-block scream, and mosquito repellent.
Statutory holidays: Dragon Boat Festival (usually in early June, lasts 3 days).
It is really cold and dry in winter on the Great Wall with bitter wind. That is also why not so many people come here in this season. But once you have made the tour, you will feel that the Great Wall is all to yourself with few people in view. The bleak winter scene will also bring you closer to the feeling that the Great Wall has experienced many vicissitudes in history. If it happens to snow, it is really an extra reward seeing miles and miles of snow-capped Great Wall stretching far to the distance. Apart from hiking, there are some winter activities you can take part in such as skiing. Holiday Snow (Badaling Ski Resort) is only 2km from Badaling Great Wall. Mutianyu Great Wall can be seen from Beijing North International Ski Resort and they are about 1 hour’s drive away.
What to wear/pack: Thick coat, down jacket, sweater, scarf, gloves, thick trousers, antiskid and comfortable shoes, facial cream, lip cream, and hand cream.
Statutory holidays: New Year’s Day (3 days around 1st, January), Chinese New Year (lasts a week, usually in late January or early February)
At present, it is most recommended to choose the sections in or near Beijing to make a Great Wall tour considering the feasibility and flexibility. It needs at least 2 hours to drive from central Beijing (Tiananmen Square) to any section of the Great Wall, so you are recommended to start your trip earlier than 8:00am. Then you can spend 3 or 4 hours hiking the wall. Badaling section is the most popular and touristy one. If you want to travel with fewer crowds, sections like Mutianyu, Simatai, Jiankou, Jinshanling, Huanghuacheng, Juyongguan are also good choices. After the Great Wall hiking, you can get back to downtown Beijing in the afternoon or head to another section of the Great Wall and prepare your hiking for the next day.
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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Beijing / Jiankou Great Wall / Mutianyu Great Wall / Beijing
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