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Laolongtou Great Wall (Old Dragon's Head)

The magnificent Great Wall resembles a giant dragon, extending thousands of miles between the western China and the eastern Bohai Sea. The easternmost section looks like the dragon drinking water from the sea, hence the name Laolongtou (Old Dragon's Head).

Laolongtou Great Wall, three miles (five kilometers) south of Shanghaiguan, was built in 1381 under the supervision of Qi Jiguang, a general of the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644). It was an important defense line against enemies coming from both the land and the sea. After the foundation of the Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911), its military function faded, and it turned into a great tourist destination, attracting numerous visitors to enjoy the seascape and surrounded constructions. Even emperors were the regulars.

Laolongtou, Shanhaiguan Pass
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Map of Laolongtou Great Wall
Map of Laolongtou (Old Dragon's Head)

 Ninghai City

The main gate of the Ninghai City, which is to the north of the Laolongtou Great Wall, is the major entrance of the whole scenic area. Inside the city, there are commander's offices and training ground, revealing the past garrison life. In ordinary days, soldiers standing guard were settled and trained there. If there was a war, the city will become the fortress defending enemies and also the command post deploying the tactics. Besides, there are some temples there you can visit and performances you can enjoy.

Laolongtou Chenghai Pavilion
Chenghai Pavilion

 Chenghai Pavilion
The pavilion is a major spot of the scenic area at the southeast corner of the Ninghai City, leading to the Laolongtou Great Wall. It is a two-storey building built with bricks and wood. It has been a must-visit place of the whole area since the Qing Dynasty. Five emperors in that dynasty have been there for 12 times in total on their way to Mukden (Today's Shenyang) to worship their ancestors, namely Kangxi, Yongzheng, Qianlong, Jiaqing, and Daoguang. Poems and inscriptions made by these emperors and renowned literatures were carved on the tablets and can be seen.

The second floor of the Chenghai Pavilion is the highest point of the whole area, providing the best view to admire the scenery. Seen from there, the Great Wall and the vast sea are closely connected with each other, and the sea joins the sky in the distance, looking like they are merged into one.

 Jinglu Beacon Tower

Walking south from Chenghai Pavilion, you will get to the Jinglu Beacon Tower. It was built in 1565, and is the only beacon tower that was built above the sea.

 The Estuary Stone Great Wall

Passing the Jinglu Beacon Tower, you will reach the easternmost point of this section – the Estuary Stone Great Wall, which is also the east end of the Great Wall. Built in 1579 by Wu Weizhong, a military office in the Ming Dynasty, and renovated in 1987, the wall extends approximately 24 yards (22.4 meters) into the sea. It was laid by nine layers of large strip granites with a height of 30 feet (9.2 meters) in total. Of these, the fourth, fifth, and sixth layers are the original works. Setting foot on it with the waves splashing on the battlements is like you are standing on the nose of the dragon, which is cleaving through the sea and stirring up layers of white sprays.

Gate Tower of Laolongtou (Old Dragon
Laolongtou, Shanhaiguan Pass

 Sea God Temple

Reconstructed in 1988, the Sea God Temple is about 383 yards (350 meters) west of the Estuary Stone Wall, surrounded by the sea on three sides. If there is the mist or drizzle, the temple looks indistinct as if it is inside a fairyland. You can see constructions like archways, the Hall of the Goddess of Heaven, and the Hall of Sea God there. The last two are the main constructions of the temple for people to pay homage to the gods and pray for a safe voyage and a good harvest in old times. The utmost point of the Sea God Temple is the Sea-Viewing Pavilion, another viewing deck in this scenic area.

Sea God Temple
Sea God Temple
Sea-Viewing Pavilion
Sea-Viewing Pavilion

 When is the Best Time to Visit?

The best time to visit this section is between May and October. Along the seaside, there is a long stretch of golden beach; it is a great resort for summer escape in July and August to feel the unique charm of Laolongtou with the beauty of both ancient constructions and the sea.

Hebei Laolongtou Great Wall
Hebei Laolongtou

 How to Get to Laolongtou from Qinhuangdao City?

By bus
Take bus no.25 to the scenic area directly.
Take bus no.35, and get off at Nanhai Village Station. Walk east along Longhai Avenue to the scenic area.

By train
If you start from Qinhuangdao Railway Station area, you can take a train to Shanhaiguan Railway Station. A one-way trip takes about 25 minutes. Get out of the station and then take bus no.25 to get there.

 How to Get There from Shanhaiguan?

You can either take bus no.25 at Shanhaiguan South Gate Station, or bus no.21 at Ying'en Tower Station to go there.

Admission Fee May to October: CNY 50
November to Next April: CNY 20
Opening Hours May to October: 7:00 – 18:00
November to Next April: 7:30 – 17:00

 Related Tour: Laolongtou-Shanhaiguan-Jiaoshan Hiking