Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Great Wall of China

I would imagine that anyone who visits Beijing for the first time plans on visting the Great Wall of China. There are numerous tour groups to choose from and almost all  the companies offer one of these two sections of the wall; Mutianyu or Badaling. What is not very well known or offered to the masses is hiking from Jinshanling to Simatai. This section is not all restored and is much more difficult to walk/hike than the other two sections. I had read a little about this on the internet and then our friend, Rachelle, told me more about it and said it was a must. The Simatai section is actually closed for renovation so you only hike towers 1 - 22 and miss out on the last 8 towers. Apparently there is a zip line at the end of tower 30 which you can take versus walking down the side of the mountain. Since that section was closed, we missed out on that part which would have been a blast.

On TripAdvisor, I was fortunate to stumble across Beijing Downtown Backpackers Accommodations who offer this specific tour at a very reasonable price. Most tour companies or private tours were charging $100 - $125 per person but Beijing Downtown Backpackers Accommodation, which is also a very nice hostel on Nan Luoguxiang, offered the exact tour for just $44 per person. Included was the transportation, entrance fee and water. They were fantastic and very professional!

From Beijing, it takes about 2 1/2 hours to get to Jinshangling entrance gate. From the gate, you walk about 30 minutes up the mountain to Tower One of the Jinshanling Great Wall. 
We reached the top of the mountain and now our 3-hour hike begins! As you would imagine the views were incredible.

Enjoying a nice break from all the stairs!

 After everyone arrives to Tower 22 it is time to head back down the side of the mountain. The walkway is completely paved and takes about 20 - 30 minutes. At the end, we did what was only appropriate and celebrated by having a ice cold beer!
This definitely was one of the biggest highlights of our trip. Thank you TripAdvisor and Rachelle for suggesting this section, it was truly an amazing experience!!
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