Simatai Great Wall
Simatai Great Wall has been partially restored and opened. The tourist area is limited to its east section, so the hiking from west Simatai to Jinshanling is not allowed. The Great Wall at Simatai is also the only section opened for a night tour. As one needs to go through the Gubei Water Town to reach Simatai, a reservation is required if you only plan to visit the Great Wall itself.
Why Visit Simatai Rather Than Others
Distinct from other developed sections like Badaling and Mutianyu, renovations here have focused only on essential reinforcement work. Its original appearance is still preserved to let you feel the truly historic atmosphere.
It was ranked first in the list of the 'World's Top 25 Scenic Spots' by the Times newspaper in 2012.
A Simatai Great Wall night tour can be undertaken, which will offer you a different viewing experience.
A cable car is available allowing visitors to save energy, making it possible for everyone to ascend it, even seniors and little kids.
Mandarin Duck Lake lies at the foot of the wall, with a water town (Gubei Water Town) by the lake. Travelers can experience at the same time the beauty of the water town as well as the grand Great Wall.
Basic Facts of Simatai Great Wall
This section was constructed under the supervision of Qi Jiguang, a famous general in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).
It stretches 5.4 kilometers (3.4 miles), and is separated into eastern part and western part by Mandarin Duck Lake.
This section has 34 beacon towers, with 18 of them in the western part and 16 in the east. They are relatively close to each other, with the average distance apart about 140 meters (460 feet).
Presently, only the eastern part from No. 1 Tower to No. 10 Tower has been restored and officially opened.
Simatai Great Wall displays various patterns of construction. Here, you can not only view the conventional appearance of the Great Wall, with battlements on each side of the track, but also see on steep cliffs the half-wall style, with battlements built only on the outer side. The slope and width also change dramatically depending on the different terrain. Some segments along the gentle slopes are so wide and mild that even horses can walk on them. At other narrow points, only one person at a time is able to pass.
Another feature of Simatai is the diverse architectural styles of the beacon towers; there are two-storey or three-storey towers, and towers of square shape, oval shape, or hexagonal. The number of arrow holes on each tower also varies, and includes two, three, four, and even 24 holes. Of the towers, the most distinctive are the Fairy Maiden Tower (No. 15 East Tower) and Wangjing Tower (No. 16 East Tower). The former is the narrowest tower of this section, while the latter occupies the highest point of the whole scenic area. There is an almost vertical stairway with large steps leading to the Fairy Maiden Tower. Built over the sheer cliff, it makes the tower very hard to reach.
How to Tour Simatai Great Wall
The steps in the opened part are in sound condition and not very steep. The rest of this part may not be safe and not recommended to visit. This includes the Fairy Maiden Tower and Wangjing Tower. However, it's still worthwhile to admire these two towers from No. 10 East Tower. Standing at the top of the lofty mountains, they look magnificent even from a distance.
If one insists on hiking the unopened eastern part, be well prepared with professional hiking equipment.
Since the western part is closed, hiking from Simatai to Jinshanling is not allowed.
The wall was built along steep ridges. So, more energy is needed for ascent. Generally, it takes around two and a half hours hiking to reach the East No. 10 Tower, and around an hour for descend.
If you feel it too difficult to go the whole way walking, a cable car is available to save your energy. After reaching the cable car upper terminal, there are two footpaths leading to the East No. 5 Tower and East No. 8 Tower respectively.
Only the segment between No. 5 East Tower and No. 6 East Tower is opened for the night tour. Visitors are required to take the round-trip cable car.
Better Make a Reservation in Advance
Because of the damage in some parts, in order to let visitors have a safe and pleasant tour, tourist number is limited in each time interval. To guarantee a visit upon arrival, you'd better make a reservation in advance.
If you intend to climb Simatai Great Wall only, you should make an online reservation one to ten days in advance at www.wtown.com, using a valid ID certificate like passport. After booking, you will get a confirmation message. Upon arrival, buy the entry ticket at the visitor center square using the reservation confirmation message and your ID certificate. From the square, you will be guided to the shuttle bus to the Great Wall. The ticketing service is only available at 10:00, 12:00, and 14:00, so, you should arrange your itinerary well.
Visitors who have not made a reservation in advance are not guaranteed a ticket when they arrive. They will only be given a ticket if the number of tourists with reservations doesn't reach the limit.
When is the Best Time for a Simatai Great Wall Tour?
The best time for a visit is April, May, September, or October. In April, May, and September, the warm weather is very comfortable for visitors. With lush plants covering the mountain, the winding wall looks like a dragon lying on a green sea. In October, red leaves cover the ridge, offering you another wonderful scene.
In one day, morning time or at night is are the best period, because there are little of visitors on the Wall and the Simatai Great Wall at night is particularly beautiful.
|Entrance Fee||CNY 40; |
CNY 20 for children between 1.2 - 1.5m (3.9 - 4.9 feet);
Free for children under 1.2m.
|Cable Car Ticket||one-way: CNY 90; round-trip: CNY 160|
|Combo Ticket||Great Wall + Gubei Water Town: CNY 170 |
Great Wall + one-way cable car: CNY 110
Great Wall + round-trip cable car: CNY 180
|Opening Hours||Daytime||Apr. - Oct.: 8:00 - 18:00 |
Nov.: - Mar.: 8:00 - 17:30
Note: Site-cleared at 16:30
|Night||Apr. - Oct.: 18:00 - 22:00 |
Nov.: - Mar.: 17:30 - 21:00 (Mon. - Fri.), 17:30 - 21:30 (Weekends)
Apr. - Oct.: 18:00 – 21:30
Nov. - Mar.: 17:30 – 20:10 (Mon. - Fri.), 17:30 - 20:40 (Weekends)
How to get to Simatai Great Wall from Downtown Beijing
Take subway line 2 or line 13 to Dongzhimen Station.
1. Take a tourist bus from Dongzhimen to Gubei Water Town directly, which takes about 2 hours and costs CNY 48 for a single trip. The buses depart at 8:00, 9:00, 12:00, and 15:30, and one more bus at 14:00 in during weekends and holidays. The returning buses depart at 13:00, 17:00 and 21:00, and one more bus at 19:00 during weekends and holidays.
2. Take Bus 980/ 980 Express from Dongzhimen to Miyun Xidaqiao and then change to Miyun Bus 51 to Gubei Shuizhen (Gubei Water Town).
Where to Eat
Although there are food stalls on the wall, they are not cheap; it is recommended you bring some snacks and bottled water with you.
If you also buy a ticket for Gubei Water Town, you can have a meal in the town after your visit to the Great Wall. The water town is also a great place to stay overnight.
If you don't plan to visit the water town, you can go to the Simatai Folk Culture Village for dining and accommodation. It is about 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from Gubei Water Town. You can get there by bus Mi 51. Get off at Shalingzi Station and you will find the village.
Here the sunsets at about 17:30 so as we will already be on the Great Wall during the daytime, will we need to pay another tickets for the night time because opening hours for night time starts at 17:30?
My plan is to go up to the great wall about 3pm (after visiting Gubei Water Town) by cable car, slowly walk around and wait to see sunset (hopefully clear day!) and the night view, then get down by cable car around 6:30pm. Understand sunset is around 4:30pm in Dec.
Based on Tyler's reply, my undertanding is that I just need one ticket for both day and night. However, your article mentions about "Site-cleared at 4:30pm". What does this mean?
Additionally, is there a combo ticket for Gubei Town + Simatai Great Wall + Cable Car round trip?
I am trying to make a ticket reservation but it asks me for a phone number, when writing the international number with the Spanish prefix +34, it tells me that it does not apply. How can i do it?
Besides the tourists bus, you can also take bus no.980 Express from Dongzhimen to Miyun Xidaqiao. Then take bus no.Miyun 51 to Guibei Water Town. After arriving, just walk to the Great Wall directly.