The wall has reopened in January, 2014, after being closed for more than three years for renovation. A newly built Beijing Wtown (Gubei Water Town) underneath the wall is also put into operation, where cultural experience and exhibition zones, hotels, restaurants, and shops in old-style courtyards are available.
As the construction is not completed, visitors should make an reservation to visit the wall. There will also be staff leading you the way to the entrance of the wall. No reservation is required if you visit both the town and the wall, as no construction site will be passed.
Lying beside the Gubeikou Town northeast of Miyun County about 75 miles (120 kilometers) from Beijing, the Simatai Great Wall stretches about three miles (five kilometers) from the Wangjing Tower in the east to Chuanhoukou in the west. The wall is celebrated for its steepness, queerness and intactness. Constructed under the supervision of Qi Jiguang, a famous general in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), it is the only part that still has the original appearance of the Ming Dynasty.
This section has 34 beacon towers, with 18 in the western part and 16 in the eastern part. The two parts are divided by a lake, named the Mandarin Duck Lake, which is fed by two springs. One is warm, the other is cold. Even in winter, the surface of the lake will never ice up. Based on this lake, the Gubei Water Town is built underneath the wall, so travelers can experience the beauty of water town and appreciate the original as well as grand Great Wall at the same time here.
The eastern part of the Wall has 16 watchtowers and was constructed on the steep ridge of the mountain. It looks like a winding dragon jumping out of the lake. Among them the distinctive towers are the Fairy Maiden Tower and the Wangjing Tower. The Fairy Maiden Tower is the No. 15 Tower, with some marble arches carved with lotus patterns. In order to reach the Fairy Tower, tourists must climb the 85 degree slope Stairway to Heaven which is about 328 feet (100 meters) long and allows only one person to pass. It is said that the Fairy Tower was transformed from an antelope and that once the Lotus Flower Fairy lived there, hence its name. The No.16 tower is the Wangjing Tower, building on the highest part of the wall, with a height of about 3,281 feet (1,000 meters) above sea level. It is connected with Fairy Maiden Tower by the Heaven Bridge, built across a deep abyss. Standing on the Wangjing Tower one can see the outline of Beijing City. The western part of the wall, linked by Chain Bridge with eastern part, is smoother. Among those towers, the Qilin Tower is famous.
Visitors who only want climb the Wall need to gather at the Gubei Water Town Entrance and wait for guiding to reach the Great Wall entrance at No. 2 Easter Tower. The distance between the two entrances is around 1.5 miles (2.5 km) and the walking duration is around is around 15 minutes. Taking shuttle buses is suggested for transitting between two entrances for energy saving. The hiking costs around two hours and thirty minutes to reach the No. 10 Tower.
If one feels difficult to finish the whole hiking, one can use the cable car. The cable car lower's terminal is at No. 2 Tower. After reaching its upper terminal, one still needs to walk about 15 to 20 minutes to get the No. 8 Tower and then climb to the No. 10 Tower. Upon arrival at the No. 10 Tower, one can walk down to the No. 2 Tower in around one hour.
Although the opening section is not steep, but it is still suggested to prepare a pair of comfortable shoes and have a good rest before climbing. One still need take care of oneself when hiking. For sake of safety, visitors are not suggested to continue to hike after No. 10 Tower without necessary mountaineering equipments. The hiking from Simatai to Jinshanling is not allowed since the western section is closed.
If one intends to climb the Great Wall only, reservation should be made at least one day in advance by using the visitors’ real names online. The booking is available on www.wtown.com (Currently, only the Chinese version is available for this website.). After booking, one will get a message with QR code, which is needed when you board on the shuttle bus to the Wall. The QR code is valid ten days after booking and after that visitors need to re-book. To receive this QR code, one needs to have a Chinese cell-phone number. The visitors will be guided to visit in two groups at 10:00 and 14:00 every day. After that, visiting the Wall only is not allowed. If one purchases a combo ticket for the Wall and the water town, you do not need to make the reservation for climbing the wall. You can climb any time you want during its operation time.
Dining & Accommodation
Gubei Water Town, underneath of the Wall, is a great place for meals and staying overnight. About 2 hotels, 6 hostels and 400 guesthouses can be chosen at the water town’s Custom Service Center. If one does not have a ticket for entering the town, you can head for the Simatai Folk Culture Village for eating and accommodation. The cultural village is in about 5 minutes driving distance from the Gubei Water Town.
Take bus No.980 to Miyun County from Beijing Dongzhimen Long Distance Bus Station to Miyun West Bridge Station and interchange to Bus Line Mi 38 or Mi 51 (or any local buses with sign “Miyun-Simatai”) to Simatai Village Station. Then walk to the entrance of Gubei Water Town to find the shuttle buses. Or upon reaching Miyun County, hire a local taxi to the water town.
|Admission Fee||CNY 40 (Children below 1.2m can visit for free, while children between 1.2m to 1.5m enjoy 50% off.) |
CNY 110 for combo ticket of the Simatai Great Wall and Gubei Water Town
|Cable Car||CNY 120 (Round Trip); CNY 80 (Single Trip)|
|Shuttle Bus to No. 2 Tower||CNY10|
|Opening Hours||09:00 - 18:00 (in summer); 09:00 - 17:00 (in winter)|
Further Reading: Gubei Water Town, Jinshanling Great Wall