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Great Wall of China

622 bytes added, 05:14, 13 April 2017
Added Jiankou to Mutianyu hike details.
==Do==
* '''Hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu''' If you are interested in a more authentic experience, this hike allows you to experience both the unrestored "wild wall", as it would stand had it not been entirely rebuilt, and the restored wall, as it would look in it's former glory. An extra bonus is it enables you to go down the stairs of the restored section instead of the long arduous climb up some attempt. The hike can take anywhere from 2 to 5 hours. Stay overnight in a hostel at Xi Zha Zi village, or hire someone to drop you off at Jiankou and pick you up at Mutianyu.
This hike starts in Xi Zha Zi village (village fee: ¥20 as of Feb 2014), at the foot of Jiankou Great Wall section. After buying the tickets take the first road left (Yi Dui - there should be staff around, who can confirm, that this is Yi Dui).
Follow the road for a bit, until you see a blue sign to your left, saying "Please help us protect the Great Wall. This section of the Great Wall is not open to the public." Take the path on the right of it, and stay on the worn path. After an hour long walk in uphill medium-rough terrain, a local villager will ask 5¥ to use his ladder to climb onto Jiankou Tower. Head left (East) towards Mutianyu, a hike that will take you about 2-3 hours, the first half on the unrestored area of the wall and the rest on the restored area. Add 1 hour if you choose to climb up the Ox Horn section, a rougher but beautiful section. Be careful coming down, as it is quite slippery when dry. Do not try to do the hike when it's wet, because it has some very steep and slippery parts. While it would be totally possible to do the hike the other way around, transportation back would be much harder to find.
*<do name="HereIsBeijing" alt="" address="[email protected]" " address="[email protected]" directions="" phone="(+86) 15601234491; (+86) 13347123412" url="http://www.hereisbeijing.com" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">John at 'Here is Beijing' provides a very convenient pick-up service for a self-guided hike from JianKou to Mutianyu at a reasonable price. He will drive you 2 hours from Beijing to Jiankou, then himself drive the 1.5 hours to Mutianyu to pick you up and bring you back. He is incredibly helpful, walking you to the starting path and going over a map of the area. He offered to stop to shop for food, provides water, a cellphone for emergencies, and even left us with a little gift. His English is fantastic and he is a keen learner. He truly is there to help travelers, as opposed to strictly for the money. One of the kindest individuals you will meet. Could not recommend his services more. </do>
* '''Hike from Jinshanling to Simatai''' The majority of the Wall east of Jinshanling is also unrestored. The hike from Jinshangling to Simatai is roughly 10 km (6 mi). It is a significant hike in distance but more so in the elevation change, but you will be rewarded with spectacular views and a good day of exercise. Expect to spend anywhere from 2.5 hours to 6 hours on the wall, depending on your fitness level, ambition and frequency of photo ops. When you are half way between the two sections, there are hardly any tourists. In fact, more foreign tourists are seen doing this thorough hike than domestic Chinese tourists. Comfortable shoes and clothes are needed, as you will be hiking on moving bricks sometimes combined with steep climbs. Water and snacks should be in your backpack. But you will find some local vendors selling water and sometimes snacks on the wall. When you descend down from Simatai, there is a zip line available for &yen;40. It's roughly 400m, and is over a river. It will take you down to the other side of the river, and includes a short boat ride back to catch your ground transport. During the middle of this hike, collectors will charge you again because you are entering another part of the Wall. If you are going between sections, there is little you can do about it other than turn back. As of '''July 2015''' it is no longer allowed to go east from Jinshanling to Simatai. A guard is posted two towers east of the Five Window Tower in Jinshanling to turn hikers back should they try.
* '''See the sunset and sunrise in Jinshanling''' Follow the same way than the section above to reach Jinshanling. When you arrive at the service station, you should get offers to find accommodation. Prices seem to go from 50 to 80 rmb per person, don't hesitate to bargain. If not follow the road on the south east side of the station (left of the tunnel), it turns right and passes under the highway. After 5-8mn walk you will find guesthouses. To climb the wall, after 5pm, you should be able to sneak at the East Gate (10mn walk along the road) and avoid the 65rmb fee. You can also ask your host to drive you to the main entrance if you are in a hurry for sunset, he may ask you 20-30rmb to drive and wait, and they still ask for a ticket after 5pm, even when it is supposed to be closed. Take the same way back and go on the East Gate in the morning for sunrise for best views. Ask your host to know how to sneak in. There might be a small path on East of the East gate. If you end up in Hua Lou Gou village, there might be a path on West of the West gate to.
* '''Hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu''' This hikes start in Xi Zha Zi village (village fee: ¥20 as of Feb 2014), at the foot of Jiankou Great Wall section. After buying the tickets take the first road left (Yi Dui - there should be staff around, who can confirm, that this is Yi Dui). Follow the road for a bit, until you see a blue sign to your left, saying this part of the Great Wall is closed. Take the path on the right of it (follow the red arrow! Do not take the left path, even though it is "a narrow dirt path" as mentioned in the Lonely Planet guide-book.) There will be more red arrows and dots along the way, eventually leading you to the Great Wall (Feb. 2014). You walk about a hour in medium-rough terrain where you will encounter some local villagers' ladders which you will have to use in order to climb the wall (¥5, none of those in Feb. 2014). After arriving at the Great Wall, head left (east) towards Mutianyu, a hike that will take you about 2-3 hours. The first 1,5 hours is on the unrestored area of the wall, the rest on the restored area. Add 0,5-1 hour if you choose to walk the Ox Horn, which is a more rough part of the wall (you can also skip it by following the signs). The hike can be done in sneakers, but hiking shoes would be a much better choice. Don't try to do the hike when it's wet, because it has some very (!) steep and slippery parts. While it would be totally possible to do the hike the other way round (from Mutianyu to Jiankou), finding transportation (probably back to Huairou) would be much harder to find.
* '''Visit the Great Wall Museum''' Down the "Badaling Pedestrian Street" and up a hill behind the "Circle Vision Theater" is the under-appreciated Great Wall Museum. The walk-through exhibits provide a good overview of the wall's multi-dynasty history, along with many artifacts from those time periods and photo-worthy models of watchtowers, scaling ladders, etc. The bathrooms are also probably the cleanest you'll find at Badaling (there's even a Western-style toilet). Best of all, admission is free! (closed M, 09:00-16:00). Great wall circle-vision theater (¥40).
* '''Downhill on the toboggan run''' The Mutianyu section offers two chairlift lines which run to different parts of the Great Wall section, a more modern one with bubble cabins and a less modern one with two-seater chairs. If you feel up to it and the weather is clear, the return ticket for the less modern lift is also good for a ride down the toboggan run. Though if you prefer, tickets can easily be purchased separately for the toboggan ride of course - just walk up to the ticket office at the beginning of the ride, then off you go down the wall. Note that the tickets for the lifts cost the same but are not interchangeable. If you can't read Chinese check the picture on the ticket, and if you get wrong one with a picture of the bubble cabins, it's not a problem to immediately get your money back and take it to the other ticket counter.
*<do name="HereIsBeijing" alt="" address="[email protected]" directions="" phone="(+86) 15601234491; (+86) 13347123412" url="http://www.hereisbeijing.com" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">John at 'Here is Beijing' provided a very convenient pick-up service for our hike from JianKou to Mutianyu. He was really helpful and even walked with us for a while in order to make sure we got on the right path. We can really recommend his services!</do>
*<do name="Leo Hostel Secret Great Wall Tour" alt="Ancient-Secret Great Wall Tours" address="" directions="" phone="" url="http://www.leohostel.com/tours/secret-wall-tours.htm" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">Leo Hostel Secret Great Wall Tour has been in existence even longer than Leo Hostel. After many years of running tours to the popular Simatai Great Wall, a lot of tourists asked to see a quieter part of the Wall, without so many tourists. Leo Hostel then invented its very own tour to a Secret Great Wall, which has been running happily for over 10 years now. Leo Hostel has years of experience and is able to obtain discount tickets. </do>
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