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Simatai Great Wall

The Simatai Great Wall lies beside Gubeikou Town, in the northeast of Miyun County about 75 miles (120 kilometers) from Beijing. It 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.

Simatai Great Wall in Beijing
Simatai in Beijing
Simatai Great Wall Ruins
Parts of the Wall

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 spring 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 here the original as well as grand Great Wall at the same time. 

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 at a time. 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, built 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 skyline of Beijing City. The western part, linked with the eastern part by Chain Bridge, is smoother. Among the western towers, the Qilin Tower is famous.

Presently, only the eastern part from No. 1 Tower to No. 10 Tower is open to the public. This is not a steep section, and includes a famous tower, White Cloud Tower. The rest of towers are still not available for the public, although they include the Fairy Maiden Tower and the Wangjing Tower. 

Visitors 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 30 minutes. Taking shuttle buses is suggested for travelling this part to save energy saving. It takes around two hours and thirty minutes hiking to reach the No. 10 Tower.
If you feel it difficult to finish the whole way hiking, you can use the cable car. The cable car lower terminal is at No. 2 Tower. After reaching the cable car upper terminal, you still need to walk about 15 to 20 minutes to get the No. 8 Tower and then climb to the No. 10 Tower. From the No. 10 Tower, you 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 wear a pair of comfortable stout shoes and have a good rest before climbing. One still need take care of oneself when hiking. For sake of safety, visitors are advised not to continue to hike after No. 10 Tower without necessary mountaineering equipment. 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. 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 for ten days after booking and after that you need to re-book. To receive this QR code, one needs to have a Chinese cell-phone number. Visitors will be guided to visit in group at 10:00, 12:00 and 14:00 every day.

Besides, a policy has been implemented to control the number of the visitors who climb the wall, 1,200 on normal days, 600 on windy days (wind speed over 34 miles per hour), 450 on rainy and snowy days, and 220 during the thunderstorm.

Those who haven't made a reservation in advance are not guaranteed to visit the wall when they arrive. If the number of the tourists doesn’t reach the limit, a visit could be arranged together with those who have made a reservation in advance.

Those who buy the entrance tickets for Gubei Water Town also need to be arranged to visit the wall according to the same regulation.
Beijing Simatai Great Wall Great Wall at Simatai Steep Simatai Great Wall
 Dining & Places to Stay
Gubei Water Town, underneath 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 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 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.

 From June 19th, 2015, visitors can have an evening trip to the Gubei Water Town. Moreover, they can take this opportunity to visit a certain section of Simatai Great Wall (between No. 10 and No.11 Towers). More information can be found at Gubei Water Town Night Trip.
Admission Fee CNY 40
* Children below 3.9 feet (1.2 meters) can visit for free while children between 3.9 feet (1.2 meters) to 4.9 feet (1.5 meters) enjoy 50% off.
Cable Car

CNY 160 (Round Trip); CNY 90 (Single Trip)
* Children below 4.9 feet/1.5 meters enjoy 50 percent discount.

Shuttle Bus to No. 2 Tower CNY10 (single trip)
* Children below 4.9 feet (1.5 meters) can buy half-priced bus tickets.
Each bus can accommodate 10 passengers.
Opening Hours

April to October: 08:00 - 19:00;
November to next March: 08:00 - 17:00

 Further Reading: Gubei Water Town, Jinshanling Great Wall