The Great Wall of China is one of the most iconic and historically significant landmarks in the world. Spanning over 13,000 miles, it is a true marvel of human engineering and endurance. So, whether you’re a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, or simply looking for an unforgettable travel experience, visiting the Great Wall should be on your bucket list.
This guide will provide you with everything you need to know to plan and make the most of your trip to the Great Wall of China.
About the Great Wall of China
This historic piece of wonder is about 6300 kilometers long. If we try to measure the wall’s length from each of its distinctive sections, it would be around 22000 kilometers long. Not to mention that UNESCO designated the Great Wall of China as a World Heritage Site in December 1987. However, you might find it surprising to learn that over a million people worked on building the Wall.
The walls were most significantly rebuilt during the Ming Dynasty. Moreover, to better protect their inhabitants against their attackers, they finished it with walls, watchtowers, and cannons. It has a myth attached to it as well.
According to mythology, a frivolous dragon hunted down the Great Wall of China’s route in search of the workforce.
Things to consider when planning your trip to The Great Wall of China
You should heed the following tips to organize the ideal Great Wall tour if you want to get the most out of this must-see China attraction:
#1. When to visit
The spring months (April to June) are ideal for climbing. Moreover, this time of the year offers temperate weather for all sections of the Great Wall close to Beijing. Besides, this is an especially lovely time of year to visit the Wall because many trees start to blossom in late April to early May.
The fall is also a pleasant season to travel because the weather is usually pleasant. The mountains seem especially beautiful from early October to late October when the tree leaves start to change color. The cold and sometimes windy winter months of December through February are when most visitors to the Wall avoid going. However, long hikes are not recommended during the hot and muggy months of July and August. It’s also advised to avoid trekking on the Wall after it rains or snows as some areas can become extremely slick.
Additionally, you should avoid going to the popular areas during National Day (the first week in October) and Spring Festival. These places include Badaling, Juyongguan, and Mutianyu. This is the time when students are on summer vacation and many families visit these well-known sections with their kids before the new school year begins. Therefore, August is a busy time for the Badaling and Juyongguan sections.
#2. Best Places to visit near the Great Wall of China
The following are some of the best sections to visit the Great Wall of China:
Given that several internationally renowned parts of the Great Wall are in Beijing’s suburbs, Beijing is typically regarded as the major entrance to the Wall. Such places include Badaling, Mutianyu, Jinshanling, Juyongguan, Gubeikou, and Jiankou. These well-preserved parts have been in existence from the 14th and 17th centuries under the Ming dynasty.
This one is the most well-known of all the Great Wall portions close to Beijing. As a result, Badaling attracts a lot of big tour groups and is often extremely busy. Here you can find one of the Great Wall’s three major mountain passes at the neighboring Juyongguan Great Wall, which is almost as congested as Badaling.
While being considerably less crowded than Badaling, Mutianyu Great Wall provides stunning views of the Great Wall and the surrounding hills. You can ride a thrilling toboggan run from the top of the Wall to the bottom of the hill on this particular stretch of the Wall.
You can reach Badaling, Juyongguan, and Mutianyu from central Beijing in a half-day journey due to their proximity. However, we usually suggest visiting Mutianyu rather than Badaling or Juyongguan. This is because the latter two areas can be extremely crowded and make it difficult to appreciate this magnificent structure.
Situated in Changping District’s Guangou valley, Juyongguan is approximately 50 kilometers from Beijing. Built during the Ming Dynasty, the pass runs down the valley and has a wonderful setting.
Earlier, Juyongguan was a military settlement with an official mansion. Additionally, it has several temples, watchtowers, and army barracks. Due to its amazing views and tremendous steepness, it is now a wonderful location for your trip to the Great Wall of China.
#3. How to get to the Great Wall of China
Every day, many trains leave from Beijing Huangtudian Railway Station for Badaling. So, by train, it takes about 1.5 hours to get to Badaling. Additionally, it is simple to reserve a car and driver in advance to take you to the Great Wall of China. The typical travel time by car from the city center to Badaling or Mutianyu is 1.5 hours.
#4. What to Do & NOT TO DO at the Great Wall of China
One of the basic rules to follow is to decide in advance which part of the Great Wall you want to see and to make plans appropriately. When visiting the wall, always go in the spring or the fall. Don’t forget to take advantage of the unique experience that is hiking along the wall.
On the other hand, there are also some things that you should avoid doing. For example, wearing open-toed shoes while touring the Wall is a big no-no. They could harm your foot on the shifting terrain. Due to the occasionally severe weather and the fact that carrying a lot of weight while hiking might be unpleasant, it is not suggested to set up camp along the Great Wall. Also, you should never go on a hike along the Wall alone; always go in a group or with friends.