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GW07: One Day Simatai Great Wall Hiking and Gubei Water Town

  • Itinerary
Our guide and driver will pick you up at the lobby of your hotel and drive you to Simatai Great Wall. It has always been popular among all the sections of Great Wall for its steepness and queerness. The newly built Gubei Water Town (Beijing Wtown) at the foot of the mountain adds some elegance and softness to the wall. Our guide will escort you walk through the open area from Tower 1 to Tower 10 along the east section. Keep in mind that walking along the wall requires quite some physical effort, especially in some very steep parts! In the afternoon, you can have a leisure time in the Water Town, where you may have a simple meal on your own. After that, we will drive back to your hotel.

Meals: not included, but our guide will offer some suggestions.

Prices (US$ Per Person)
  • 1 person
  • 2 persons
  • 3 persons
  • 4 persons
  • 5 persons
  • 6 persons
  • 7 persons
  • 8 persons
  • 9 persons
  • 10+

Simatai Map (Click to Enlarge)

If you would like to take all arrangements on your own, we are pleased to offer the following independent hiking information on Simatai Great Wall and Gubei Water Town.

Hiking duration: 5 - 7 hours
Direction: East Watchtower 1 - Watchtower 10 of Simatai – Gubei Water Town
Difficulty: ★★★☆☆
Best Time to Visit: April to June; September to October

This is a full day trip, so we suggest that you get up early in the morning. Have a big breakfast and take some snacks and water. Take bus 980 or 980 (express) from Dongzhimen Wai to Miyun Xi Da Qiao, and change to bus 38 or 51 or any bus that runs from Miyun to Simatai. Get off at Simatai Village and walk to Gubei Water Town.

The ticket of Gubei Water Town is CNY150 per person and Simatai Great Wall is CNY40 per person. Follow the direction boards and walk across the town to reach the foot of Simatai. As the renovation to the wall is not completed, only ten watchtowers along the east section are open to visitors. We are going to hike the ten watch towers today. Simatai has always been known for its steepness and the original appearance of the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644). Some broken watchtowers are reinforced with steel bars. Some parts of the wall only has handrail on one side, while some has no handrail on either side. So always watch your steps and a stick will be very useful.

The Wall stretch along the mountain range

Hikers love Simatai for the wild wall

The path lead to the first two towers is long but gentle, and is comparatively easy to reach. But after that, the wall gradually rises and the stairs become steep and rugged. Sometimes you need to climb with your hands. The strong wind makes your way up even more difficult. As you climb up, the path gets steeper. But when reached the tenth tower, you will find all the sweat, fear and thrill are worth it. Looking back, you will see the wall stretching along the mountain ranges and extends into distance, just like a huge dragon. The rugged stairs and broken towers stand firmly against strong wind, telling stories of the eventful past of this country. Mountains and rivers are under your feet, and you cannot help to think of the famous words said by Caesar, “I came, I saw, I conquered,” and that is the essence of hiking. The wall after the tenth watchtower is not open to visitors as it is too dangerous and some renovation work is going on.

Summer is the best time to visit

The path is rugged on the Wall

To get down the mountain from the wall, you can either walk back on the same way or take a cable car. The cable car costs CNY 90 per person one way and CNY 160 for a round trip. A round trip to the wall takes 2 - 4 hours. You can have your lunch at one of the restaurants in the water town or just have some snacks.

The holes on the Wall were used
to watch and shoot enemy

Some bricks were carved with
the renovation time of the Wall

After a short rest, you can take a leisurely stroll in the town. With the water from Simatai Reservoir flowing by, this town, in the shadows of the Simatai Great Wall, is built in the style of ancient Ming and Qing dynasty houses. Here you can find exhibitions of folk arts, wine shops, dye house, restaurants and guest houses. It is a time to indulge yourself in the past and to learn the life of hundreds of years ago in China. If you are tired, you can also take a small sightseeing boat to wander around the town. It costs CNY120 per person.

To get back to the city, you can take a bus to Miyun Da Xi Qiao, there to catch bus 980 or 980 (express). If you have more time, you can stay overnight in the town.

Travelers fly down the mountain by rope way

The iron chain bridge connects Jinshanling

1. Opening Hours: 09:00 – 18:00 (May - October); 09:00 – 17:00 (November - April)
2. Sun-glasses and sun cream are very necessary in summer; remember to take a wind-proof coat if you go hiking in spring, autumn and winter and the wind on Simatai is very strong.
3. The wall is still under renovation. Visitors should not go to the unopened sections which are really dangerous.
4. The entrance of the scenic area is about 1.8 miles (3 km) from the entrance to the wall, so you need to walk through the town to get to the wall. Electric cars are available and cost CNY 10 per person for the single way.

Gubei Water Town (Beijing Wtown) is
located at the foot of the Moutain

Southern China style houses
with white wall and grey tiled roof

5. If you are not interested in the Gubei Water Town, you can visit only Simatai Great Wall. The ticket for the great wall is CNY40, but you need to make a reservation at least one day before your visit. Reservation can be made on the website of Gubei Water Town (Beijing Wtown), but the website only has Chinese version and you need to provide a mobile phone number to receive the confirming message from the website. With the message you can get your ticket at the entrance, and they will arrange you to take a shuttle bus to the entrance of the wall. Visitors only visiting the wall will be allowed to enter in three groups at 10:00, 12:00 and 14:00, respectively.

Userful Simatai Links:  Simatai Photos
More Great Wall Hiking Routes:
Badaling Hiking: itinerary and tips to Badaling
Mutianyu Hiking: Travel to one of the most beautiful section, Mutianyu
Juyongguan Appreciation: itinerary to Juyongguan Pass
Shanhaiguan with Laolongtou: hiking to Laolongtou, Shanhaiguan and Jiaoshan

More Beijing Independent Itineraries:
Forbidden City: Four different routes to explore the imperial palace
Beijing Day Trip: One day in Beijing
Bus Tour: Travel around the city by bus
Questions & Answers
Asked by Pip from AUSTRALIA | Apr. 19, 2018 22:59Reply
How much to stay in the water town overnight?
We want to go from Beijing on the 4th and hike the wall and then see the wall at night and then stay in gubei water town and return to beijing on the 5th...how much will it be for 3 persons...in a 4 star hotel?
Kind regards
Answers (1)
Answered by Luke | Apr. 20, 2018 03:16

So far as I know, there is no 4-star hotel in Gubei Water Town, maybe you can choose a hotel constructed based on the 5 star standard. I would like to recommend Water Town Hotel and Beijing Wtown Hotspring Resort. The room rate for star hotels is above CNY1000 per room.

And there are also some other nice boutique hotels or guesthouses for your choice, such as William Edgar Boutique Hotel, Wuzhenhui Boutique Hotel, Beijing Water Town Guesthouse, etc. You may contact the hotel to get the exact price. Hope the information is helpful.
Asked by Jack from USA | Feb. 20, 2018 16:58Reply
Simatai cable car
Is it possible to book a one way cable car ride DOWN the wall, at either Tower 5 or 8, while you are up on the wall ?
Or do I need to purchase a one way ticket DOWN while I am at the ticket office before I head UP to the wall?
Answers (1)
Answered by Shirley | Feb. 23, 2018 02:15

Yes. You can purchase the one way cable car ticket on the Great Wall. The tickets can be bought at the East Tower 5-6 or East Tower 8.
Asked by Martin from UNITED KINGDOM | Jan. 03, 2018 09:05Reply
London to Myanmar via Beijing
Hi there in April I am planning to fly 06 Apr LHR - PEK - arrive am 7th April then PEK - RGN 11th April. 28th April. RGN - PEK ( 24 hour layover off airport in hotel downtown ) 29th April PEK - LHR. I'm assuming that I can now do this trip without getting a Chinese visa beforehand ? Many thanks martin
Answers (1)
Answered by Nancy from AUSTRALIA | Jan. 03, 2018 21:58

Don’t worry! No visa is needed. You can enjoy a 144h visa free transit and 24h visa free transit.
Asked by Dani | Jul. 18, 2017 13:02Reply
Alternative to hike Jinshanling to Simatai?
Hi there,
I spent lot of time to decide what section of the Great Wall to hike and unluckily I chose Jinshanling to Simatai, which looks like it will be closed in August second week.
So what is the alternative for me which I would like to do it in one day leaving and coming back to Beijing using public transport? Assuming I am well fit and can hike for some hours and love onrestored wild section like Jinshanling.
Thanks a lot.
Answers (1)
Answered by Lisa from CANADA | Jul. 18, 2017 20:50

Well, you can hike Jiankou Great Wall instead, and you are advised to follow the route: Jiankou Spot – Ox Horn Edge Wall. This section is relatively steep, so you may make the full prepare before your trip.

Generally, if you start at Jiankou Spot, you may arrive at Wofo Mountain Villa first, which is the start point of your hiking. You should get to Dongzhimen Station by subway line 2 or line 13, and then take bus 936 at Dongzhimen Wai Station. Get off at Yujiayuan Station, and then transfer bus H36 to Xinying Station. Afterwards, you can walk north to the mountain villa.
Asked by andrew goh from SINGAPORE | Jun. 27, 2017 04:33Reply
Vist in Dec to Beijing? safe and advisable?
I plan to visit Great wall and Beijing on Dec 10 to 15, would there a best and safe to hike ?
Answers (1)
Answered by Douglas | Jun. 27, 2017 20:27

The weather in December in Beijing is quite chilly with an average temperature of -2C (28F). It is fine to climb the Great Wall at that time but you are advised to do it on a sunny day. Simatai Great Wall has been partially opened. It is safe to hike as long as you visit the tourist area.
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