If you visit the most crowded and accessible portion
of the Great Wall-Badaling ,
especially in holiday seasons, you may find yourself in an awkward
situation: The scenery is fantastic, but it’s hard to concentrate on it
as you are packed in a big crowd!
There is only one Great Wall, but there are quite a
few separate sections for you to explore near Beijing. Your choice
depends on whether you prefer seeing the wall in its original state or a
restored section? Does it bother you that you will be with thousands of
other sightseers or prefer relative solitude? Would you like to go to a
trekking tour, camp overnight on the wall or even fly over the wall by
helicopter? The best of the Great Wall to visit is largely based on
personal preference and tastes. Here’s some advice:
This is by far the most
representative and probably most famous section of the Great Wall. It is
the grandest and most splendid section of all, closest to Beijing city
proper, convenient to access and easier to climb, thus the most visited.
However, it always swamped with tour groups, individual tourists and
hawkers, which may affect your photography and ease with which to enjoy
the views. Badaling
is well managed
and consequently, much safer to walk along than other sections.
This is the second most
redeveloped section after Badaling, with high forest cover and
remarkable views in fall and summer.
MuTianYu is steeper
than Badaling but less congested by tourists, souvenir sellers and
especially pickpockets. Here you will find a truly mind blowing
experience, and is one of the best parts of the Great Wall to visit.
If you fancy an
adventure, it is better to visit
SiMaTai , which has
had less renovation yet is well preserved. As well as its ruins, it also
has an intact section, so Simatai is considered by many tourists from
home and abroad as one of the best parts of the Great Wall.
Specifically, the eastern part of Simatai is more challenging while the
western part is much easier to climb. Here you will seldom encounter
vacationers. However, elders and those who are not in good physical
condition are advised not to climb this section in view of its
cragginess. Please note: A large
portion of Simatai is closed due to government renovation, but is due to
re-open sometime in 2014.
This section is
completely un-restored, with almost no crowds and hawkers. However,
is much steeper, which
is favored by most foreign travelers.
Huanghuacheng is largely
restored, remote but more easily accessible. Getting to Huanghuacheng is
a little difficult, as there is no direct bus that goes from Beijing.
Still this is the place for you if you like beautiful scenery,
mountains, lakes and peacefulness of it. You could easily spend a whole
day by walking from Huanghuacheng to
Xishuiyu, and is also one of the best parts of the Great Wall to
Each section of the Great Wall would take up a large
part of your day to get to and return from, including the visit. It’s
very necessary to research which part of the Great Wall is the best to
visit in terms of your interests, budget, how much time you have and so
on, and find out how to avoid large crowds, who may ruin your whole
Great Wall experience!
>>Best time to visit
the Great Wall around Beijing