The Great Wall of China was probably at the top of our bucket list and it was one of the first things we did when we arrived in China. You can’t really go to Beijing without going to the Great Wall.
We booked a tour through out hostel, Happy Dragon Saga, which cost around 43 USD. This included transport, entrance ticket and lunch. We thought this was a reasonable price considering it was such a popular tourist site. Our tour took us to Mutianyu which is just a small a section of the wall and located in Huairou.
We left early morning and took the 2 hour journey. We had only been in China for a day or so and we had already learnt that communication here would be difficult. Not many people spoke English so going on tours was sometimes a guessing game of where we were going and what we were doing. Especially when we found out that there were different ways of getting to the wall and walking along it. Sounds stupid but its true.
They gave us different options. One was to climb the mountain to reach tower 10 and then begin your walk from there. We were told the walk was quite a difficult one and would take approximately 1 hour.
Our second option was to take the cable car up to tower 14 and again, walk from there. The cable car takes around 5 minutes and cost 120 Yuan, around $17.
Before we arrived, we were pretty adamant we weren’t going to take the cable car. We thought it was far too pricey and just plain lazy. However, our tour was only 3 hours and 1 hour of that would be wasted climbing the mountain before even getting on to the wall.
For something we had been so excited to do, we thought fuck it. We’ll get to the tower as quickly as possible and walk as far as we can in the time we had. Joe already had this planned out and was trying to psych me up for this trek we were about to do. He said if we were only going to do this once, then we need to get as far as we can. Adding to this, if we got passed tower 22, we would get onto the ‘Old Wall’ and that would be pretty amazing.
Starting that walk…
So off we went. In the blazing heat, the sun coming down on us, we began this walking mission. Obviously Joe was 10 steps ahead of me most of the time while I dragged my feet behind. I wouldn’t have got half as far as we did, if it wasn’t for him. God knows where I found the energy from but we kept going and going climbing steep steps that felt like they would never end. We finally reached the ‘Old Wall’ and we were so chuffed with ourselves, especially as it was only us from our tour that had made it that far. Although this part of the wall wasn’t as renovated as the new part. It has crumbled rocks to climb over, foliage covering pathways and no walls at the side.
So it was definitely a bit tricky walking along.
The views were just incredible. The higher you got the more insane the scenery was and the bigger picture you got of the wall. Looking out to what we had just walked was crazy. There were even locals at each tower selling food and drink who walk that every morning to make their money. They always met you with a smile and were obviously so eager to sell you something.
The time came to turn around and walk back. Our legs were turning to jelly and sweat was dripping from every inch of us, but we made our way back and made the most of this amazing experience.
Dehydrated and starving, we were then provided with the most amazing lunch. We didn’t think it would be much considering you don’t often get good food on tours let alone a lot of it. Wow were we wrong. We were brought over various types of Chinese dishes with copious amounts of rice. We definitely made the most of it and ate the lot!
Was it worth it?
Considering what was included along with the experience, every penny was worth it. We would highly recommend anyone visiting Beijing, to walk along the Great Wall of China. You won’t regret it!