Great Wall in Beijing
In Chinese history, Beijing was not only one of the ancient capitals, but also one of the most strategic cities in the north. To defend their territory, many rulers have actively ordered to build Great Wall here.
The Great Wall in Beijing totals 370 miles (600 kilometers). Those from Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the last dynasty engaged in Great Wall construction, amount to 350 miles (550 kilometers). They are distributed in Pinggu District, Miyun County, Huairou District, Yanqing County, Changping District, and Mentougou District.
These sections are equipped with sound tourism facilities, even suitable for kids and seniors. Among them, Badaling is the best-preserved, and famous for its deep-rooted culture, magnificent sights and complete military facilities. You may find many of its pictures in magazines and guide books and printed on stamps. However, during peak travel time like National Day Holiday, Mutianyu may be a better destination as Badaling is always flocked with visitors. Juyongguan is one of three most famous passes along Great wall. There, one can also visit some ancient buildings like towers and temples.
Recommended tours including the sections:
Beijing One Day Tours: 10 options to visit Badaling, Mutianyu, Juyongguan and other major attractions in Beijing.
Beijing-Xian Express: 6 days travel to Beijing and Xian including high speed train experience.
Beijing Highlights: 4 days Small Group to visit the major attractions of Beijing, such as Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City and Great Wall.
More Great Wall Tours: 14 options for you to choose from.
These sections have also been developed into scenic spots and are popular among visitors, but are less crowded and one can visit at a leisurely pace. Jinshanling and Simatai have been equipped with cableways. But to visit Simatai, you’d better make a reservation on its official website. Shuiguan, literally meaning water gate, is built over a river to defend against enemies coming from waterways. Although the river has disappeared, one can still learn the magnificence of this special defensive construction. In addition to admire the Great Wall, Xiangshuihu is a site to learn some traditional Chinese health preserving knowledge.
Wild Great Wall refers to those that have not been reconstructed and thus retain their original appearances. Although they are broken and dilapidated, the vicissitudes of history are fully revealed. They are hot destinations among hiking lovers and adventurous travelers. Among them, Jiankou is the most dangerous but a great site for photography. Huanghuacheng, partially submerged underwater due to the construction of a reservoir, is the only section by water in Beijing. However, it is not officially allowed to hike the wild sections for safety issues and protection work. So when going there, please be careful and do not do any harm to the precious historical relics.
Recommended tours including the sections:
Huanghuacheng Hiking: Starting from USD 49 per person
Jiankou Hiking: Two routes with a distance of 6-7 miles
Gubeikou Hiking: 7-8 hours of Hexi Village – Wohushan – Hexi Village - Panlongshan
The most famous sections in Beijing, like Badaling, Mutianyu, Jinshanling, and Simatai, are located in the suburban areas, about 40 miles (64km) to 90 miles (145km) from the city center. You can get to the Great Wall from Beijing by public transport, private cars, or private tours.
Public transport is a nice choice for budget travellers. For example, you can take bus line 877 or S2 train to Badaling directly; bus 916 Express to Mutianyu with a transfer at Huairou. However, the bus stops are reported only in Chinese in most cases, which brings you some trouble in getting off at the right stations. Therefore, if you plan to go there by public transport, make full preparation and get familiar with the bus routes in advance.
See How to Get to Badaling from Downtown
See How to Get to Mutianyu from Downtown
For public transport to more sections, please see it on the specific pages.
Or, you can charter a private car to the sites very easily. It makes your trip easier and saves a lot of time. Usually, it takes about 1 hour to reach Badaling and 1.5 hours to Mutianyu from downtown, and the car rental fee is around CNY 800-1,000 for a round-trip. But there is a problem in that the driver may not speak English; so set down the pick-up time and place beforehand.
Other than public transport and private cars, joining a private day tour is a perfect choice for first-time visitors, and those who have limited time or worry about language barriers. It saves your time, makes your trip safer and easier, and helps you learn more about the wall with the help of the driver and tour guide.
Beijing One-day or Half-Day Great Wall Tour from $39: five itineraries available, including Badaling, Mutianyu, Juyongguan, Sacred Way…
See How to get to Great Wall from Shanghai?
See How to get there from Hong Kong?
Please hover over the names on the following tourist map to learn more about the famous sections: