Rural Beijing is in Beijing and consists of the administrative districts Yanqing County (延庆县; Yánqìngxiàn), Huairou District (怀柔区; Huáiróuqū), Miyun County (密云县; Mìyúnxiàn) and Pinggu District (平谷区; Pínggǔqū).
- Hongluo Temple (红螺寺; Hóngluósì), Hongluo Street, Huairou District (怀柔区红螺路; Huáiróuqū Hóngluólù) (Take bus 936 from Dongzhimen Station). This is the largest buddhist temple in northern China and was built in 378. The temple has been quite important for centuries and has functioned both as temple and monestary. It is beautifully located next to the Hongluo Mountains, which you can climb or reach by cable car. ¥30.
- Badaling Wild Park (八达岭野生动物园; Bādálǐng Yěshēngdòngwùyuán), South of Badaling Great Wall, Yanging County (延庆县八达岭长城南; Yánqìngxiàn Bādálǐngchángchéngnán) (Bus 919 from Deshenmen east of Jishuitan Metro Station (line 2), or train S2 from Xizhimen Train Station), ☎ +86 10 6912 2591 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +86 10 5856 1360), . Summer 8AM-5PM; winter 10AM-3PM. Large wild animals like tigers, lions, bears and wolfs can be seen in this park from own car or park buses. Here is much better chance of seeing natural animal behaviour than in the zoo. ¥90.
Climb the Great Wall
See Great Wall for general information on the Great Wall
- Badaling Great Wall (八达岭 Bādálǐng). Give yourself about 2 hours to climb up the wall if you're a slow climber, an hour or less if you're speedier. The least expensive way of getting there is to take the Bus #919 Express (#919直快, zhíkuài) from Déshèngmén (德胜门) (take Metro Line 2 to Jishuitan stop, walk past a huge number of different buses until you get to an outdoor station with a large number of 919 buses). Make sure you arrive early in the morning. The journey lasts at least one hour depending on traffic, and costs ¥12. Please note: there is more than one #919 line, and only one goes to Badaling. Also be careful about unofficial tour buses that will put a cardboard sign on their dashboard/windshield saying #919 but charge ¥50 and not even go to Badaling. Apart from the public bus, there are the official tourist buses that leave from Dongzhimen, Qianmen, and Beijing Railway Station. Tour companies charge ¥150 and usually stop at a jade factory, and one or two other stops. They do provide an English speaking guide and lunch which may be convenient. Thanks to the opening of the Beijing Suburban Railway Line S2 in 2008 it is much more convenient to reach Badaling by train. There are 16 trains per day in each direction from Beijing North Station to Badaling Station (1hr15min, Y13). The trains are brand-new and offer spacious aircraft-style seating and an on-board bar and as the line is still being developed with only 3 intermediate stations open to the public the train is always half-empty! However as the line is developed more intermediate stations are being opened resulting in more passengers and longer journey times. Once you arrive at Badaling Station, ignore the minibus drivers offering to drive you to the wall, turn left and walk about 500m to reach the main ticket office. The final option would be to hire a taxi for the day. It's common to have a 4-hour package from a taxi running somewhere around ¥600-800 (the driver should pay the tolls). Be sure to get the driver's cell phone number. Your best bet is to hire a driver using a trusted tour guide company, such as those found in the major hotels. Be sure to collect a taxi receipt as well. Near the entrance of the wall it may feel a little like you have entered a ski town, with some gift shops and coffee to warm you up to during the cold winter months. Tickets to climb the wall are around ¥40, with discounts available for the young and the disabled..
- Mutianyu Great Wall (慕田峪 Mùtiányù), . Summer: 6:30AM to 6:30PM, Winter: 7:30AM to 5PM. Less congested than Badaling, and a good place for a three hour hike. Visitors can take the #916 bus from Dongzhimen Long Distance Bus Station to Huairou (¥12). The #916 buses run every few minutes from 5:50AM to 8:30PM. From Huairou, hikers can catch a cab to the Mutianyu stretch of the Great Wall (around ¥30). Visitors can also take a cab from Beijing (¥200-300). There is also a toboggan ride (¥55) and cablecars (¥35 single, ¥50 return). The website has more information on tours and activities around the area. ¥41 for entrance to the wall.
- Simatai (司马台 Sīmǎtái), . A great spot for walking the Great Wall. You can walk for hours here, and the wall has not been much restored. A three to four hour drive from central Beijing. Some hotels and youth hostels in Beijing offer organized trips for a trek from Jinshanlin (金山岭) to Simatai, for around 350-360 RMB, including bus, breakfast (the bus usually leaves very early) and lunch on the spot. Be careful with the company responsible for these trips, some of them leave you at the foot of the Great Wall and will pick you up at the other end of the trek, with no guide nor information whatsoever. If you start from Jinshanlin, most probably you will be accosted by locals trying to sell you T-shirts, books, postcards and the like. Most can speak English. Some portions of the Great Wall are hard to climb, either because it's very steep, stairs are too high or boh. Some locals may offer to show you an easier path to get to Simatai. Do not listen or follow them, they will lead you astray and often blackmail you before showing you the real path to the end of the route.
- Goose'N'Duck Ranch (怀柔县怀柔北宅; éhéyāzhuāng), 怀柔县怀柔北宅; Huáiróuxiàn Huáiróuběizhái, ☎ +86 10 5928 3045 (email@example.com), . Ranch with activities including go-kart racing, horseback riding, archery, paintball, both outdoor and indoor swimming pool, bowling, table tennis and party games. One day package including food, bevarage and internal transporting ¥260; Two day package including food, bevarage, internal transportation and accommodation ¥600.
- Caribbean Lagoon Waterpark (加勒比海浪水上乐园; Jiālèbǐhǎilàng Shuǐshànglèyuán), 118 Quanshuitou, Yanxi Town, Huairou District (怀柔区雁栖镇泉水头118号; Huáiróuqū Yànqīzhèn Quánshuǐtóu) (Take the train from Beijing North Railway Station next to Xizhimen Metro Station, get off at Huairou North Station and take an unofficial taxi the last couple of km), ☎ +86 10 5867 9210 / +86 10 8528 8966 / +86 10 6066 1638 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +86 10 8529 8879), . 10AM-4PM. Large Caribbean themed water theme park with waterslides, wave pool, lazy river pool and island. Mediocre Chinese restaurants available but good picnic areas if you bring your own food. ¥120.
- International Shooting Range, ☎ +86 10 69771368 ext 3103 (Chinese only), . Shoot Chinese automatic guns and other crazy military grade weapons at the International Shooting Range north of Beijing.
- The Roadhouse at Mutianyu, 12 Mutianyu Village, Huairou District (one hour from downtown Beijing), ☎ +86 10 6162 6506, . Open March-November, Weekends and Holidays 11AM-3PM and by prior appointment. A revamp of one of the earliest restaurants to be established in the Mutianyu Great Wall area. Surrounded by orchards and country farmland, The Roadhouse is oriented to provide sweeping views of the Great Wall as it stretches along the mountain ridgelines to the North and East. Fresh country-style Chinese food and trout netted from the pond with an unrivaled view of the Great Wall.
- Xiaolumian, Yingbeigou Village, Huairou District (one hour from downtown Beijing), ☎ +86 10 6162 6506, . Open March-November, Weekends and Holidays 11AM-3PM and by prior appointment. A rustic farmhouse tucked into a valley next to the Great Wall. Xiaolumian is really a trip back in time and a taste of village life. Serving only local handmade noodles, soups and sauces from locally grown materials, the menu is as authentic as the setting itself. Eat lunch in a private room while sitting on the Kang surrounded by antique furniture and textiles, or enjoy special roasted barley tea on the slate terrace in the small orchard.
- The Schoolhouse at Mutianyu, 12 Mutianyu Village, Huairou District (one hour from downtown Beijing), ☎ +86 10 6162 6506, . Open 10AM-6PM. Closed Wednesdays. Located in a renovated schoolhouse at the base of the Great Wall. The Schoolhouse hosts a Western restaurant, an art glass studio and an art room. Part of a sustainable tourism effort, The Schoolhouse is staffed by local workers, and has a charming simple atmosphere. The food is Western homemade style based on fresh and local organic ingredients where possible. Menu items are sometimes simple, sometimes gourmet. Lunch, coffee, homemade ice cream, and a spectacular view make The Schoolhouse worth a visit if you find yourself in Huairou.
- Village View Resort (北京乡景度假村; Běijīng Xiāngjǐng Dùjiàcūn), East of Quanshuitou Village, Yanqi Town, Huairou District (怀柔区雁栖镇泉水头村东; Huáiróuqū Yànqīzhèn Quánshuǐtóucūn Dōng) (Take the train from Beijing North Railway Station next to Xizhimen Metro Station, get off at Huairou North Station () and take an unofficial taxi the last couple of km), ☎ +86 10 6066 1166 (email@example.com, fax: +86 10 6066 1188), . Beautifully located hotel close to lakes and mountains. The rooms are not very large and has internet access against surcharge. Business centre, disco, karaoke, children's playground, billiard, tanæe tennins, tennis and basketball available. Chinese and Western restaurants as well as coffee shop, bar and room service. Listed rates for doubles from ¥770, discounted from ¥508, breakfast ¥38-180.
- China Countryside Hotels (The Schoolhouse Rental Homes), ☎ 6162-6506 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Eleven guest houses in a real working village under Mutianyu Great Wall. Each house originated as a peasant dwelling and has its own special story and features. All guest houses offer a quiet retreat from the city with fresh air and breathtaking views combined with modern amenities. 3 Green Stars from Eco Hotels of the World. ¥1800-5000.
- Commune by the Great Wall Kempinski Beijing, . 11 villas designed by top Asian architects and design firms, all of which have butlers. For those with money to splurge!