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Mutianyu Great Wall

Wriggling Mutianyu Great Wall in Summer
Wriggling Mutianyu
 
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   1-Day Mutianyu Tour from $77
   2-Day Beijing Tour from $125
   4-Day Beijing Tour
  Small Group from $249
 
Private from $279
   9 Days Beijing - Xian - Guilin $859

The Mutianyu Great Wall is connected with Jiankou in the west and Gubeikou Great Wall in the east. It is known as the "Grand Pass on the Precipitous Ridge" because it was a military stronghold in ancient times.

 Why Visit Mutianyu Great Wall?
 It is one of the best-preserved and best-known sections.

 Watchtowers are tensely distributed along the Great Wall.

 Some of the watchtowers are seldom seen along other sections and quite rare in the architectural history of the Great Wall. Examples are the Zhengguan Terrace (No. 6 Watchtower) comprised of three hollow watchtowers, and Big Corner Tower (No. 1 Watchtower), named so because only one big corner can be seen from the paths in three sides.

 The surrounding natural scenery is breath-taking. Woods cover over ninety-six percent of the total scenic area. Flowers bloom all over the mountains in spring. Grasses dress the hillside green in summer. Trees are laden with sweet fruit in autumn, and especially in October, leaves turn red or yellow, touching the mountain tops with gold. In winter, the wall is covered by snow, making it more magnificent.

 About 40 miles (65km) to the north of Beijing city center, it is easy to reach from downtown area by public transport.

 It has been renovated, making it easier and safer to climb. Moreover, it is equipped with cableway and slideway, possible for children and seniors to make a visit.

Mutianyu Great Wall
A Well-reserved Watchtower
Having Fun at Mutianyu
Kids are having fun

 Basic Facts of Mutianyu Great Wall
 It has a total length of 3.4 miles (5,400 meters).

 It was first built in Northern Qi Dynasty (550-557). In the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), Tan Lun and Qi Jiguang, two famous patriotic generals, rebuilt it in order to strengthen its defensive potential when they guarded the strategic pass. It served as the northern protective screen, guarding the capital and imperial mausoleums for generations.

 It is mainly made of slabs of granite. It measures 23 feet (7 meters) to 26 feet (8 meters) in height, and 4 yards (4 meters) to 5 yards (5 meters) in width.

 Both sides of the Great Wall have parapets to defend against enemies. Some parapets are saw- tooth shaped instead of the regular rectangular form. Below the parapets, there are square embrasures, the top of which are designed in an arc structure, different from the traditional round embrasures.

Interior of a Watchtower
Interior of a Watchtower

 There are 23 watchtowers distributed at close intervals along the wall. They are located not only in the main wall but also at the distinctive "branch city". Branch cities are built on the hill ridge against the inner or outer side of the wall. For example, No. 11 Watchtower can be found on the branch wall.

 Zhengguan Terrace (No. 6 Watchtower) is 44 yards (40 meters) long, 33 yards (30 meters) wide, and 66 feet (20 meters) high. The gate is not designed in the middle, but is on the eastern side. The two-storey terrace is comprised of three hollow watchtowers, a large one in the middle and two smaller ones on two sides. It has many rooms to store grain and station troops.

 Big Corner Tower (No. 1 Watchtower) is connected with Mutianyu in the west, with Gubeikou in the east, and with a branch city wall in the south. The tower looks like a corner from each angle, so it is called Big Corner Tower.

 

Opening Hours April to October: 8:00 -17:00
November to March: 8:30-16:30
Admission Fee  Adults: CNY 45
Children between 3.9 feet (1.2 meters) and 4.6 feet (1.4 meters) in height: CNY 25
Children less than 3.9 feet (1.2 meters) in height are admitted free.


 How to tour Mutianyu Great Wall?

Mutianyu Great Wall Map
Mutianyu Great Wall Map (Click to enlarge)


The scenic area has two entrances: south entrance and north entrance. One can start the visit from either of it.

 Hiking:
 Go through the North Entrance, you will hike up to No. 10 or No. 8 Watchtower.
 Go through the South Entrance, and you will arrive at No. 8 or Zhengguan Terrace (No. 6 Watchtower).
 Upon arriving up there, you can hike either northward or southward. The northward route between No. 14 watchtower and No. 23 watchtower has the most beautiful scenery, while the southward route contains the grand Zhengguan Terrace and Big Corner Tower.

 Cableway:
Apart from hiking, you may also take a cableway up to the No. 14 Watchtower. The lower station is near the North Entrance, so you can easily find it. It is safer and smoother than the slideway, even suitable for children and senior visitors.

Visitors Single Trip Round Trip
Adults CNY 80  CNY 100
Children between 3.9 feet (1.2 meters) and 4.6 feet (1.4 meters) in height  CNY 40  CNY 50
Children less than 3.9 feet (1.2 meters) in height Free of charge Free of charge

 Slideway:
You can also take slideway down from Zhengguan Terrace (No. 6 Watchtower) near the South Entrance. It is very exciting to take the slideway, and a great choice for young people. The fare is listed below.

Visitors Single Trip Round Trip
Adults CNY 80  CNY 100 (Cableway up+ Slideway down)
Children between 3.9 feet (1.2 meters) and 4.6 feet (1.4 meters) in height  / CNY 60 (Cableway up+ Slideway down)
Children less than 3.9 feet (1.2 meters) in height Free of charge Free of charge
Cable Car, Mutianyu Great Wall
Cable Car
Slideway, Mutianyu Great Wall
Slideway

 When is the Best Time for a Visit?
Although it is suitable for a visit all year round, the best time is April, May, September, and October, when the temperature is favorable, neither too cold nor too hot. But try to avoid May Day Holiday (from May 1st to 3rd), and National Day Holiday (from October 1st to 7th) when there will be more tourists.

Mutianyu Great Wall
Fresh Green Scenery
Mutianyu Great Wall in Winter
Winter can be beautiful but it is chilly for a visit

 How to Get There from Downtown Beijing?
  You need to get to Dongzhimen first. Subway line 2, subway line 13, Airport Express Train, or bus line 3, 106, 107, 123, 131, 132, 401, 404, 416, 418, 852, 866, 915, 915 (express), 918, 980, or 980 (express) can take you there.

 Every year from March 15th to November 15th, there are direct tourist buses 867 running between Dongzhimen and Mutianyu scenic area. The bus departs from Dongzhimen at 07:00 and 08:30 and returns at 14:00 and 16:00. Ticket fare is CNY 16 and duration is about 2.5 hours. Please note that there are many buses 867 departing at other time, but their final destination is Hongluo Temple. So remember to make a further confirmation before boarding.

 You can also take bus line 916 Express from Dongzhimen Bus Station to Huairou North Avenue (Huairou Beidajie) Station for CNY 12 and 60-70 minutes. It is available year round. Then, transfer to bus line h23, h24, h35, or h36 to Mutianyu Roundabout. Afterwards, walk about 500 yards (450 meters) to the ticket office of the scenic area. Or, you may take a minivan to the scenic area from Huairou North Avenue for about CNY 50-60.

Bus Lines Schedule
Onward Journey Return Trip
916 Express 06:00- 21:00  04:50-18:50
h23 06:00- 19:00  05:50- 19:00
h24 06:10 (only weekdays), 08:40, 15:45 7:10 (only weekdays), 9:40, 16:50
h35 05:50, 08:05, 17:50  06:45, 09:00, 18:45
h36 06:20, 11:30, 17:40  07:05, 12:15, 18:30

  
 The ticket office is still 1.8 miles (3 kilometers) away from the entrances of the scenic area. There are buses shuttling between them. Ticket fare is CNY 10 for a single trip and CNY 15 for a round-trip.

Discarded cannon at Mutianyu
Discarded Cannon
 How to Get There from Capital International Airport?
Take Airport Express to Dongzhimen Station, Exit E. It takes about 25 minutes, and the fare is CNY 25. Then, you may take bus line 916 Express.

 How to Get There from Beijing West Railway Station?
Take subway line 9 to National Library Station. Next, transfer to line 4 to Xizhimen Station. Then, change to line 2 to Dongzhimen Station, Exit E. The duration is about 40 minutes, and the fare is CNY 5. Afterwards, take bus line 916 Express to your destination.

 How to Get There from Beijing South Railway Station?
Take subway line 4 from South Railway Station to Xuanwumen Station, and change to line 2 to Dongzhimen Station, Exit E. It takes about 30 minutes, and the bus fare is CNY 5. Afterwards, take bus line 916 Express to your destination.

 Where to Eat?
There are some restaurants near the entrance, but the food they provide is quite expensive. So, you may bring some food and water before departure.

 How about Mutianyu Great Wall compared with Badaling?
They are the two most visited sections in consideration of the scenery, equipment, and transportation, etc. If you are a regular tourist and plan a visit on normal days, both of them are OK, but Badaling is more popular. However, when you plan a visit during peak travel season or holiday time, Mutianyu is more recommended, for Badaling will be "squeezed" with tourists and you won't have a pleasant trip. 

Further Reading: 
  Mutianyu Great Wall Travel Review
  Mutianyu Hiking