Simatai Great Wall
If you want to have a look of the primitive appearance of the Great Wall, Simatai section is the site you should be sure not miss.
Why Visiting Simatai Rather Than Others?
Different from other well-restored and developed sections like Badaling and Mutianyu, the renovation of Simatai only focuses on necessary reinforcement work. The original appearance of this section is still preserved to let you truly feel the historical atmosphere.
It ranked the first in the list of 'World's Top 25 Scenery' by the Times newspaper in 2012.
A night tour can be achieved on this section, offering you a different viewing experience.
Cable car is available for visitors to save energy, making it possible for every visitor to ascend it, even seniors and little kids.
There is a lake named Mandarin Duck Lake at its foot and a water town (Gubei Water Town) by the lake. Travelers can experience the beauty of water town as well as the grand Great Wall at the same time.
Basic Facts of Simatai Great Wall
It was constructed under the supervision of Qi Jiguang, a famous general in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).
It stretches 3.4 miles (5.4 kilometers), and is separated into eastern part and western part by Mandarin Duck Lake.
This section has 34 beacon towers, with 18 of them in the western part and 16 in the other part. They are close to each other with an average distance about 460 feet (140 meters).
Presently, only the eastern part from No. 1 Tower to No. 10 Tower has been restored and officially opened.
Simatai Great Wall boasts various construction patterns. Here, you can not only view the conventional appearance of the Great Wall with battlement on two sides of the track, but also have a look at the half-wall style on steep cliffs, with battlement only built on the outer side. The slope and width also change a lot according to different terrains. Some segments along the gentle slopes are so wide and mild that even horses can walk on them. In other narrow points, only one person is allowed to get through at a time.
Another feature of Simatai is the diverse architectural style of the beacon tower, such as two-storey or three-storey towers, and towers of square shape, oval shape, or hexagon. The number of arrow holes on each tower also varies, including two, three, four, and even 24 holes. Of these, the most distinctive towers are the Fairy Maiden Tower (No. 15 East Tower) and Wangjing Tower (No. 16 East Tower). The former is the thinnest tower of this section while the latter the highest point of the whole scenic area. There is a seemingly vertical stairway with large steps leading to the Fairy Maiden Tower. Built over the sharp cliff, it makes the tower very hard to reach.
|Admission Fee||CNY 40|
|CNY 20 for children between 3.9 and 4.9 feet (1.2 and 1.5 meters) in height.|
|Free for children less than 3.9 feet (1.2 meters) in height.|
|Opening Hours||Daytime||April to October||8:00 – 19:00 (Site-clearing at 20:00)|
|November to next March||8:00 – 17:00 (Site-clearing at 18:00)|
|Night Time||April to October||18:00 – 21:00 (Weekdays), 18:00 – 21:30 (Weekends) |
(Ticketing Time: 19:00 – 20:30)
|November to next March||17:30 – 20:00 (Weekdays), 17:30 – 20:30 (Weekends) |
(Ticketing Time: 17:30 – 20:00)
How to Tour Simatai Great Wall?
Stairs of the opened part are firm and not very steep. The rest unopened part may not be that safe and is not recommended to visit, including the Fairy Maiden Tower and the Wangjing Tower. However, it's still good to admire these two towers from No. 10 East Tower. Standing at the top of the lofty mountains, they look even magnificent from a distance.
If one insists to hike the unopened eastern part, do well prepared with professional hiking equipments.
Since the west part is closed, hiking from Simatai to Jinshanling is not allowed.
The wall was built on steep ridges. So, more energy is needed for climbing. Generally, it takes around two hours and thirty minutes hiking to reach the East No. 10 Tower, and around an hour for descending.
If you feel it difficult to finish the whole way hiking, cable car is available for energy saving. After reaching the cable car upper terminal, there are two footpaths leading to the East No. 5 Tower and East No. 8 Tower respectively.
Cable Car: CNY 160 (round trip), CNY 90 (single trip)
Only the segment between No. 5 East Tower and No. 6 East Tower is opened for the night tour. Visitors are required to take the round-trip cable car to go uphill and downhill.
Better Make a Reservation in Advance
Some part of this section was damaged. In order to let visitors have a safe and joyful tour, the tourist number is limited in each time interval. So to ensure you a visit upon arrival, you'd better make a reservation in advance.
If you intend to climb the Great Wall only, you should make an online reservation one to ten days in advance on www.wtown.com, using valid ID certificate like passport. After booking, you will get a message. Upon arrival, buy the entry ticket with the reservation message and your ID certificate at the visitor center square, and then you will be guided to take a shuttle bus to the Great Wall. Ticketing service is only available at 10:00, 12:00, and 14:00. So, you should well arrange your itinerary.
Visitors who haven't made a reservation in advance are not guaranteed a visit when they arrive. They will only be arranged a visit when the reserved tourists don't reach the limit.
When is the Best Time to Visit?
The best time to visit Simatai is April, May, September and October. In April, May and September, the warm weather is very comfortable for a visit. With lush plants covering the mountain, the winding wall looks like a dragon lying on a green sea. In October, red leaves are all over the ridge, offering you another wonderful scene.
How to Get to Simatai Great Wall from Downtown Beijing?
You should take subway line 2 or line 13 to Dongzhimen Station first, and then take bus 980 or 980 Express at Dongzhimen Transit Hub. Get off at Miyun Bus Station and transfer to bus Mi 37, Mi 50, or Mi 51 to Simatai Village Station. Then walk to the entrance of Gubei Water Town to find the visitor center to buy the ticket of the wall.
|Bus Number||Fare||Operating Time|
|980||CNY 15||From Dongzhimen: 5:50 – 21:00 |
Return Trip: 4:40 – 19:00
|980 Express||CNY 17||From Dongzhimen: 6:00 – 20:00 |
Return Trip: 4:30 – 18:30
|Mi 37||CNY 8||To the Wall: 7:15 – 13:15 |
Return Trip: 9:10 – 15:10
|Mi 50||CNY 8||To the Wall: 6:50 – 13:10 |
Return Trip: 8:50 – 15:10
|Mi 51||CNY 8||To the Wall: 9:00 – 16:00 |
Return Trip: 7:30 – 14:30
Where to Eat?
Although there are booths on the wall, it is still recommended to bring some snacks and bottled water by yourself, for food there is not cheap.
If you also buy the ticket of Gubei Water Town, you can have a meal in the town after your visit to the Great Wall. The water town is also a great place to stay overnight.
If you don't plan to visit the water town, you can go to Simatai Folk Culture Village for dining and accommodation. It is about 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) away from Gubei Water Town. You can get there by bus Mi 37, Mi 50 or Mi 51. Get off at Shalingzi Station and you will find the village.