Ultimate Guide to Visiting Simatai Great Wall at Night

Among the many sections of the Great Wall, Simatai is the only one that opens to tourists at night, excluding the unattended wild Great Wall sections. It is located by Gubei Water Town in suburban Beijing, about 120 km (75 mi) from the downtown area. Different from others, Simatai well preserves the original appearance of the Ming Dynasty Great Wall, so that you will have a chance to appreciate the most authentic Great Wall here. Do you want to visit Simatai Great Wall at night? Please read this ultimate guide.
 
Simatai Great Wall
Sunset Over Simatai Great Wall

Time Plan: Best Time to Visit Simatai Great Wall at Night


Sunset Time of Beijing for Reference:The best time to start visiting Simatai Great Wall at night is before the sun goes down. Thus, you can enjoy the beautiful sunset on the Great Wall, the rosy sky, and the meandering Simatai Great Wall and the Gubei Water Town at its foot illuminated by colorful lights in one single trip.  


From November to next January in winter, the sun sets before the scenic area opens for night tours, so that you are advised to visit in the other seasons if wishing to enjoy the sunset during the night tour.
 

January: 16:59 ~ 17:32 February: 17:33 ~ 18:05 March: 18:06 ~ 18:37
April: 18:38 ~ 19:08 May: 19:09 ~ 19:37 June: 19:37 ~ 19:47
July: 19:30 ~ 19:47 August: 18:49 ~ 19:29 September: 18:00 ~ 18:47
October: 17:15 ~ 17:58 November: 16:50 ~ 17:13 December: 16:50 ~ 16:59
 

Opening Hours for Night Tour:

Sunday - Thursday Friday - Saturday
May – October 17:30 - 21:10 17:30 - 21:40
November – next April 17:30 - 20:10 17:30 - 20:40
 

You Are Required to Take a Cable Car to Go Up and Down.

Simatai Great Wall Cable Car
Simatai Great Wall Cable Car

Due to the poor light condition at night, all visitors are required to take a cable car to ascend and descend the Great Wall for safety concern. Round trip cable car ride costs CNY 160 for adults, and CNY 80 for children below 1.5 meters (4.9 feet), including infants.

Operating hours of the cable car for night visit is in accordance with the opening hours for night tour listed above. 

Note: As many travelers visit the Simatai Great Wall at night on Friday and Saturday, especially during the peak seasons from May to October, you may need to spend some time in queueing. Please be prepared for that. If you would like to avoid the crowds, it is advised to go there on weekdays.
 

Route for Visiting Simatai Great Wall at Night

Only the section between the East 5th Tower and the East 6th Tower is open for night visit. After ascending the cable car upper station, walk a while to the East 5th Tower. Then you can enjoy the night view. After the visit, walk back to the cable car upper station and take the cable car to go down. There is free shuttle bus between Gubei Water Town and the cable car lower station. 
 

Tips for Visiting Simatai Great Wall at Night

1. Before the scenic area is lit up, the light condition is not that ideal, especially in winter. Therefore, you’d better take a flashlight.
2. As the Simatai Great Wall has not been repaired manually, the trip is a little tough. Watch your steps when walking on the Great Wall for safety concerns.
3. Generally speaking, the temperature on Simatai Great Wall is lower than the downtown area. In summer, the average temperature can be 5℃ (41℉) lower than downtown, and the temperature difference is even bigger at night between the Wall and the downtown area. Therefore, you need to wear more clothes than in downtown. It’s advised to wear a sweater or wind jacket in spring and autumn; a thin jacket in summer; and a down jacket, hat, scarf, and gloves in winter.
4. On the Simatai Great Wall, there is a sightseeing telescope. You can use it for free. During the peak travel season from May to October, you may need to queue up for using it, so it’s advised to take your own.

Simatai Great Wall
Simatai Great Wall Night View
Simatai Great Wall
Visit Simatai Great Wall at Night

Photographic Skills for Shooting the Night Scenes

The night scenes around the Simatai Great Wall are so charming that you may want to shoot some stunning photos of the Great Wall, the starry sky and the Gubei Water Town. Here are some tips for your reference.
 

1. Best Time for Shooting

The best seasons to take the night scenes are summer and autumn. Generally speaking, the best time in one day is at dusk after the sun goes down but there is still light in the sky. At this time, the light effect is ideal and your pictures will give a feeling of peace and harmony.

However, if you want to shoot the starry sky, you should plan more carefully on the travel date, as you need to get rid of the influence of moonlight. The weeks before and after the 15th day on lunar calendar should be avoided. Plus, keep an eye on the weather forecast to choose a sunny day.
 

2. Best Spot for Photography

You can shoot the Simatai Great Wall at close range on the wall itself, take a low-angle shot at Gubei Water Town, or take a high-angle shot at the church on the nearby mountain top, which is the highest point in the neighborhood. The church is also an ideal place to shoot the night scenes of the Gubei Water Town and the starry sky.
 

3. Shooting Equipment

A tripod is necessary in order to keep the camera steady. A shutter release is also an indispensable tool for avoiding the instantaneous vibration caused by pressing the shutter and controlling the required exposure time through B shutter function. In addition, you can use a flashlight as supplementary lighting.
 

4. Composition of Photos

At night, the shapes of Simatai Great Wall and Gubei Water Town are outlined by light. Therefore, light becomes the main object of shooting. Remember not to leave the dark area of the architectures too much on your photo so that the architectures look steadier. Besides, you can use the dim light to blur some unwanted elements.
 

5. Other Skills

Use the manual exposure mode; turn off the anti-shake function of lens; set the aperture between f.11 and f.16; use exposure compensation.
 

Gubei Water Town
Gubei Water Town

Where to Stay after Visiting Simatai Great Wall at Night 

The best place is the Gubei Water Town at its foot. There are over 20 hotels and inns in the town for your choice, but the price is relatively high. Generally speaking, a room costs more than CNY 500 per night. At weekends, the price may rise a little. You’d better book a room in advance if you plan to stay overnight there.

Night scene in the town is very charming. You can wander along the streets, walk into the stores selling unique local products, enjoy the music fountain on Wangjing Street, and watch lanterns flying in the air.
 

Guide to Watching Sunrise over Simatai Great Wall the Next Morning

In the next morning, you can get up early and hike to the church on the nearby mountain top. It’s an excellent place for watching sunrise over the Simatai Great Wall.
 

Sunrise Time of Beijing:

January: 07:25 ~ 07:36 February: 06:49 ~ 07:22 March: 06:00 ~ 06:48
April: 05:16 ~ 05:59 May: 04:48 ~ 05:15 June: 04:45 ~ 04:49
July: 04:49 ~ 05:12 August: 05:12 ~ 05:41 September: 05:42 ~ 06:09
October: 06:10 ~ 06:41 November: 06:42 ~ 07:15 December: 07:16 ~ 07:36
 

Have you decided to visit the Simatai Great Wall at night? If yes, please read the following information:
 

Ticket Booking:

You need to book a ticket at least one day in advance. On the date of travel, you need show the electronic QR code you got after successful booking at the entrance. The independent Simatai Great Wall ticket is not available. You need to buy one of the two kinds of combo tickets:

Ticket Package Adults Children between 1.2 and 1.5 meters (3.9-4.9 feet) Children below 1.2 meters
A: Gubei Water Town + Simatai Great Wall + Round Trip Cable Car CNY 220 CNY 128 Free
B: Simatai Great Wall + Round Trip Cable Car CNY 160  CNY 80 Free

Note: The ticket package B is only available to those having an entrance ticket of Gubei Water Town, which alone costs CNY 110. Therefore, you are advised to buy the ticket package A to have a better bargain.


 

How to Get to Simatai Great Wall & Gubei Water Town

1. Take a tourist bus for Gubei Water Town from Dongzhimenwai Station at 09:00, 12:00, or 15:30. At weekends, there is an extra bus departing at 14:00. The ticket price is CNY 48.
2. Take Subway Line 2 or Line 13 to Dongzhimen Station and then take bus 980 Express from Dongzhimen Transit Hub to Miyun Shaoniangong Station and then transfer to bus Mi 51 to Gubei Water Town (Simatai Great Wall) station. Then walk for about ten minutes to the entrance.

- Last modified on Apr. 15, 2021 -
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