If you visit Beijing, you have to go to the Great Wall. We decided to go to the Mutianyu section, which seems to be a good deal these days. It’s not too crowded and remains easily accessible. Badaling is the most infamous section where you need to swim across sardine-packed tourists. The Simatai section is more adventurous and can be visited at night, which is something I might do one day.
The actual climb to the wall looked really tedious, so if you are not there for fitness, just take a quick cable car ride. If you are there in the morning, the line is fairly short, just make sure to have your tickets ready. They have a couple of posters telling you how safe it is to ride the car, which somehow did not reassure me.
The Great Wall of China is… long. Very long. From the start you can either go left to try to reach for the less preserved (and crowded) sections. You can see in the middle left part of the picture the name Chairman Mao Zedong subtly carved into the mountain.
We decided to be brave this day and take the hard way. The main challenge was to be back before the bus was leaving. And the sun. I don’t recommend the walk in Summer.
The tower on the upper part of the picture creates a bottleneck on the way back and you have to wait about 20 minutes… People were surprisingly disciplined.
It’s possible to leave the well maintained section. This part gets much more interesting and less crowded.
Once you are past the officially maintained section, unlicensed vendors will start appearing. Still don’t know how they carry everything up there. If you feel adventurous, you can buy overpriced water and flags. Could not find the Taiwanese flag, strangely.
Some vendors were also selling plastic red ribbons. I am fairly sure those are not very eco-friendly.
April is a great time to visit the Great Wall. Almost not too hot, less chance of rain, and you can see some flowers. Winter seems like an interesting time too.
The rare flat sections are happy moments.
Much better when it’s empty.
That is more or less where we stopped before heading back. My favorite picture!