The Great Wall of China
We’ve just returned from a trip to Beijing in which we visited the Great Wall, Tianamen Square and The Forbidden City, Hutongs, and The Temple of Heaven.
After much reading online and looking into various tours with our Hostel in Beijing we decided to go against what everyone else told us to do and go it alone without a tour and also to go to the most popular spot, Badaling.
Now, I’ve seen photos of the Badaling wall and to be honest it put me off and I was expecting smog-filled skies, dead land (no greenery) and hundreds of people to the point we wouldn’t be able to get a photo of us next to the wall without several other people in it as well. We were pleasantly surprised to find a beautiful green, mountain landscape, blue skies and although there were a lot of people on the wall, we did manage to get photos of just ourselves.
We also managed to navigate from our hostel using the subway system (which is excellent and has English signs) to the bus station and then get all the way to Badaling (and back again) with no problems! Tour Shmour, who needs a tour!? :p
We were very lucky with the weather as when we first arrived in Beijing the air quality wasn’t very good and the sky was grey. But for our day on the wall we had beautiful blue sky and it was also rather hot, as you can see from how red I am in the pictures.
I was surprised by how steep the wall is in places, I had to take a run up at some parts just to get up them and then cling to the wall to get down again. I don’t quite understand why the wall was built over such steep mountains constantly going up and down in such a remote area!? But it made for terrific scenery and our trip to Beijing was totally worth it because of the wall. It meant I got to tick off something that’s been on my to do list for many years now.
I highly recommend going without a tour and going to Badaling, as the weather and the scenery were perfect, and as it is a popular spot you can take a public bus which was roughly 1hr 30mins from the centre of town for just 12RMB each 1-way.
Once you arrive at Badaling you can choose to either walk or take the toboggan ride up and back down to the highest part before beginning your hike – we took the toboggan as it was already midday when we arrived and very hot before we started hiking the wall and this seemed to be what nearly everyone was choosing to do. The entrance fee was 40RMB per adult plus 100RMB for the toboggan up and back again.
The hostel we stayed at was offering tours that would have cost between 700-900RMB for us both and were 3.5hrs away (each way) so we were happy that we decided to save money and yet still have ultimately the same experience.
Below are some photos of us on the wall:
Here is a short video of our first view of the wall: