Mutianyu Great Wall
The Mutianyu Great Wall is one of the best-preserved and best-known Great Wall sections. Compared with the top-notch Badaling, Great Wall at Mutianyu is less crowded, thus a good destination on hot holidays for a Great Wall tour at ease. Located 40 miles (65km) to the north of Beijing city proper, it can be reached by bus no. 916 Express with a transfer in Huairou District.
Why Visit Mutianyu Great Wall
Watchtowers are tensely distributed along the Great Wall.
Some of the watchtowers are seldom seen along other sections and quite rare in the architectural history of the Great Wall. Examples are the Zhengguan Terrace (No. 6 Watchtower) comprised of three hollow watchtowers, and Big Corner Tower (No. 1 Watchtower), named so because only one big corner can be seen from the paths in three sides.
The surrounding natural scenery is breath-taking. Woods cover over ninety-six percent of the total scenic area. Flowers bloom all over the mountains in spring. Grasses dress the hillside green in summer. Trees are laden with sweet fruit in autumn, and especially in October, leaves turn red or yellow, touching the mountain tops with gold. In winter, the wall is covered by snow, making it more magnificent.
About 40 miles (65km) to the north of Beijing city center, it is easy to reach from downtown area by public transport.
It has been renovated, making it easier and safer to climb. Moreover, it is equipped with cableway and luge, possible for children and seniors to make a visit.
Basic Facts of Mutianyu Great Wall
It was first built in Northern Qi Dynasty (550-557). In the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), Tan Lun and Qi Jiguang, two famous patriotic generals, rebuilt it in order to strengthen its defensive potential when they guarded the strategic pass. It served as the northern protective screen, guarding the capital and imperial mausoleums for generations.
It is mainly made of slabs of granite. It measures 23 feet (7 meters) to 26 feet (8 meters) in height, and 4 yards (4 meters) to 5 yards (5 meters) in width.
Both sides of the Great Wall have parapets to defend against enemies. Some parapets are saw- tooth shaped instead of the regular rectangular form. Below the parapets, there are square embrasures, the top of which are designed in an arc structure, different from the traditional round embrasures.
There are 23 watchtowers distributed at close intervals along the wall. They are located not only in the main wall but also at the distinctive "branch city". Branch cities are built on the hill ridge against the inner or outer side of the wall. For example, No. 11 Watchtower can be found on the branch wall.
Zhengguan Terrace (No. 6 Watchtower) is 44 yards (40 meters) long, 33 yards (30 meters) wide, and 66 feet (20 meters) high. The gate is not designed in the middle, but is on the eastern side. The two-storey terrace is comprised of three hollow watchtowers, a large one in the middle and two smaller ones on two sides. It has many rooms to store grain and station troops.
Big Corner Tower (No. 1 Watchtower) is connected with Mutianyu in the west, with Gubeikou in the east, and with a branch city wall in the south. The tower looks like a corner from each angle, so it is called Big Corner Tower.
|Opening Hours||March 16 to November 15: |
Monday-Friday: 07:30-18:00; Weekends: 07:30-18:30
November 16 to March 15: 8:00-17:00
|Admission Fee||Adults: CNY 40 |
Seniors elder than 60: CNY 20 (valid ID or passport required)
Children between 1.2 and 1.4 meters (3.9 and 4.6 feet): CNY 20
Note: If you buy an entrance ticket attached with a postcard of Mutianyu, you need to pay CNY 5 more.
Children under 1.2 meters (3.9 feet) are admitted free.
How to tour Mutianyu Great Wall
|Mutianyu Great Wall Map (Click to enlarge)|
The scenic area has two entrances: south entrance and north entrance. One can start the visit from either of it.
Go through the North Entrance, you will hike up to No. 10 or No. 8 Watchtower.
Go through the South Entrance, and you will arrive at No. 8 or Zhengguan Terrace (No. 6 Watchtower).
Upon arriving up there, you can hike either northward or southward. The northward route between No. 14 watchtower and No. 23 watchtower has the most beautiful scenery, while the southward route contains the grand Zhengguan Terrace and Big Corner Tower.
Apart from hiking, you may also take a cableway up to the No. 14 Watchtower. The lower station is near the North Entrance, so you can easily find it. It is safer and smoother than the luge, even suitable for children and senior visitors.
|Single Trip||CNY 100||CNY 50|
|Round Trip||CNY 120||CNY 60|
|Service Hours||March 16 to November 15: 08:00-17:00 |
November 16 to March 15: 08:30-16:30
Slideway / Luge:
You can also take luge down from Zhengguan Terrace (No. 6 Watchtower) near the South Entrance. It is very exciting to take the luge, and a great choice for young people. The fare is listed below.
|Single Trip||CNY 100||/|
|Round Trip||CNY 120||CNY 60|
|Service Hours||Monday to Friday: 08:00-16:50 |
When is the Best Time for a Visit?
How to Get to Mutianyu from Downtown Beijing
From Dongzhimen Bus Station, you can take bus line 916 Express or 916 to Huairou North Avenue (Huairou Beidajie) Station. The 916 Express is recommended and it costs CNY 12 (CNY 6 if paid by Beijing Transportation Card) and takes 60-70 minutes. Then, transfer to bus line h23, h24, h35, or h36 to Mutianyu Roundabout. Afterwards, walk about 500 yards (450 meters) to the ticket office of the scenic area. Or, you may take a minivan to the scenic area from Huairou North Avenue at about CNY 50-60.
|Onward Journey||Return Trip|
|916 Express||06:00- 21:00||04:50-18:50|
|h23||06:00- 19:00||05:50- 19:00|
|h24||06:10 (only weekdays), 08:40, 15:45||7:10 (only weekdays), 9:40, 16:50|
|h35||05:50, 08:05, 17:50||06:45, 09:00, 18:45|
|h36||06:20, 11:30, 17:40||07:05, 12:15, 18:30|
You can also take bus 867 from Dongzhimen Wai (Dongzhimen Outer Station), get off at its terminus, the Hongluo Temple, and then hire a minivan. 867 takes about 2.5 hours and costs CNY 13 (CNY 6.5 if paid by Beijing Transportation Card), and the minivan takes 20 minutes and costs CNY 40-50.
The ticket office is still 1.8 miles (3 kilometers) away from the entrances of the scenic area. There are buses shuttling between them. Ticket fare is CNY 10 for a single trip and CNY 15 for a round-trip.
How to Get there from Capital International Airport
How to Get there from Beijing West Railway Station
How to Get there from Beijing South Railway Station
How to Get there from Beijing Railway Station
Where to Eat
They are the two most visited sections in consideration of the scenery, equipment, and transportation. If you plan a visit on normal days, both of them are okay, but Badaling is more magnificent. When you plan a visit during peak travel season, Mutianyu is recommended, for Badaling may be overcrowded on some big holidays and you probably cannot enjoy the scenery to the full.
Mutianyu Great Wall Travel Review