Spring is here and that means it’s time to get yourself out to the Great Wall. Whether you’re a Beijinger or a tourist, there are five totally awesome things that every kid should do when they see this Wonder. Take your pick or do all five, it’s up to you…and your parents!
1. Watch a circular movie
At Badaling, the most accessible and popular section of the Great Wall, the not only have a museum and places to eat, but a circular-screen cinema!
Better yet, its name comes from the ridges that go out in eight different directions, which make for good walking and cool landscapes. The views are great and the walking is pretty easy. Even your little sibling can come along!
It isn’t just popular with tourists either, almost 400 government leaders and other VIP’s have climbed this section of the Wall. You would be in good company, without a doubt!
How to get there:
Bus: Take Bus 877 from Deshengmen directly to Badaling. The bus leaves from the parking area north of the Deshengmen Arrow Tower. Buses 919 and 880 are also options, though they are not direct.
Admission: CNY 45 (Apr. 1 to Oct.31); CNY 40 (Nov.1 to Mar.31)
2. Carve your name in history
If you want to make a lasting impression, make your way to the No 14 Fighting Tower at Mutianyu—the designated graffiti zone! Leave your name, a message, or a picture; this is the place to literally leave your mark on the wall.
Mutianyu is one of the best-preserved parts of the Great Wall. It’s about 70 km northeast of central Beijing and a popular tour option.
It has a cable car both up to and down from the wall itself, but for those more adventurous Wall climbers, there is another option. You can hop in a toboggan and slide down instead! A track full of twists and turns will bring you from the wall back down to the base. It’s the best way to come back down, if you ask us.
Graffiti and tobogganing?! Days don’t get much more awesome than that!
How to get there:
Bus & Van: Buses 916 and 916 (express) to Huairou. The express should only take about an hour. From there you can hire a taxi to cover the last 20 minutes of the drive.
Admission: Adults (including children above 1.5M): CNY45
Children (1.2-1.5M): CNY25
Free for children below 1.2M
3. Think outside the box
When you’re ready for a full-day adventure, grab your boots and your camera and head to the section of wall between Jinshanling and Simatai.
While you can choose to see both of these areas independently, the 6km (4 mile) stretch between Jinshanling and Simatai is a great way to see both restored and un-restored sections of the wall all in the same day.
The route has multiple ups and downs and some loose rocks, so it is not for the faint of heart! It is, however, a good, moderately difficult hike for beginners and only takes a few hours. Well worth it, if you ask us!
How to get there:
Bus: Take bus No.980 from Beijing Dongzhimen Long Distance Bus Station to Miyun County. On Gulou Dajie Street in Miyun County, there are drivers lined up to take you the rest of the way by taxi. Remember to arrange your ride back to the station from the other end of your hike with your driver.
Admission: Jinshanling Great Wall is CNY 65 in the spring, summer, and fall. CNY 55 in the winter
4. Go completely wild
The Gubeikou section of the wall is one of the “wild” ones, un-restored yet preserved well enough to yield amazing scenery. Unlike other un-restored sections, at Gubeikou you will find historical sites and temporary imperial palaces! This section of the wall was key to military strategy; it guarded the Northern route to Beijing. Explore the history, but keep an eye out for invading troops!
In the middle of Gubeikou, you will find Panlongshan and just to its west, Wohushan. From these two mountains, you can see the scenery of the valley below and the defense measures on the wall itself.
A day hike of the area usually takes about 4 hours.
How to get there
Bus: 1. Take Bus No. 980 or 980 (express) from Dongzhimen Station and get off at Miyun Station to connect Miyun Bus 25 to Gubeikou. Miyun Bus 25 is available from Miyun Station hourly from 07:00 to 18:00
2. From Sihui long-distance bus station, take a bus to Chengde City or Luanping County. Get off at the Gubeikou tunnel and you will see the wall. The buses are available every 30 minutes from 05:10 to 16:05
5. Climb Straight up to the Sky
Jiankou (Arrow Nock) is a popular hiking area, but is free of large groups of Chinese tourists due to its more rugged nature. It is steeper than Mutianyu and twists more than Simatai. It is another section of “wild” wall, free of the upkeep seen at Badaling and other areas.
It can be dangerous in some places, especially the places where footholds are hard to come by. For those brave enough to walk it, there are several scenic spots along the Jiankou part of the wall.
Highlights include “The Eagle Flies Facing Upwards” tower, built on the highest section of the Jiankou wall; and the “Sky Stairs” which are incredibly narrow and nearly vertical, but yield an amazing view. They look like a ladder, so get ready to climb, climb, climb!
How to get there:
Bus: Buses run between 10am and 3pm from Huairou Fangshan (diagonally opposite Huairou First Hospital).
Admission: Entrance to Xizhaizi Village base camp is 20RMB.
The wall is the longest man-made structure in the entire world: 8,850km (5,500 miles). But don’t let that or the language barriers intimidate you! You can learn all the words you’ll need for your trip in our Survival Chinese Classes or at Summer Camp. Beijing campers even go to the wall together!