How to Get to Mutianyu Great Wall by Bus

May 21st, 2019
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Dear Travelers

We’d like to have the following travel guide to be always updated for the benefit of new visitors coming to Mutianyu Great Wall by bus.

If anybody having used the piece finds necessary updates, please leave a message or feedback. Thanks!
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tips-1

Latest Update
Apart from the regular 916 Express Bus operated all year round from Dongzhimen Transportation Hub to Huairou District where you connect Bus H23 or taxi for Mutianyu Great Wall Scenic Area, there is one daily return direct shuttle bus starting from Beijing Dongzhimen Wai Bus Station to Mutianyu Great Wall Scenic Area.

Dongzhimen Wai Bus Station — Mutianyu Great Wall Shuttle Schedule
Starting & Time:
Leaving at 8:30 am from Dongzhimen Wai Bus Station ( 东直门外公交车站)
Returning & time

Leaving at 4:00 pm at Parking No.01 at Mutianyu (景区P1停车场)
Bus Fare: 30 yuan ( One Way) Dont’ Accept transportation cards
How to buy tickets: On board the bus

The Mutianyu Shuttle Bus Stop inside Dongzhimen Wai Bus Compound

Mutianyu Shuttle Bus Stop Placard

Note: It is a bit tricky to find Dongzhimen Wai Bus Station. So how to get to Dongzhimen Wai Bus Station Compound ( 东直门外车站)?

The open-air Dongzhimen Wai Bus Station  Compound is about 800 meters away to the northeast of Dongzhimen Transport Hub. It is also a 10-minute’s walk ( 800 meters)from Exit E of Dongzhimen Subway Station.  You exit from Exit E of  Subway Line 2 at Dongzhimen, walk along Dongzhimen Wai Dajie (东直门外大街), then turn left and walk along Dongzhimen Wai Xiejie (东直门外斜街),  soon you will find the open-air bus station compound on your left side, the same bus station going for Jinshanling Great Wall and Gubei Water Town.

If you miss or your travel time doesn’t fit into the daily one time shuttle bus mentioned above, you can use the regular 916 Express Bus from Dongzhimen Transport Hub to Huairou where you change for Bus H23 or taxi going to Mutianyu.

Below is the detailed travel guide for getting from Beijing Dongzhimen to Mutianyu Great Wall by regular 916 Express Bus Bus.

1. Get to Dongzhimen Transport Hub early in the morning

The Sign “Exit C ” at Dongzhimen Subway Station ( Subway Line 2 and 13 ) leading to the bus transfer hall.

Dongzhimen Public Transport Hub (东直门交通枢纽) is mainly composed of three forms of public transport –Dongzhimen Bus Station ( or officially called Bus Transfer Hall) where you take Bus 916 Express ( 916快) for the direction of Mutianyu Great Wall), Dongzhimen Subway Station ( Subway Line 2 and 13 ) and Dongzhimen Airport Express ( for Beijing Capital Airport Express Train).

These three forms of public transport are connected underground as a whole in a massive building.

Try to get to Dongzhimen Transport Hub early in the morning either by subway or taxi. For subway, you may take the subway line 2 or 13 and exit from Exit C leading to the massive transport hub.

916 Express Bus has to be taken from inside of the building of the Dongzhimen Public Transport Hub.

When you leave the subway there are a lot of stops at your right side and you have to get into the building and will see the signs since your bus is inside the transfer hub hall.

The Bus Transfer Hall on the ground floor is mainly composed of two parts – North Platform and South Platform.

Your Mutianyu-bound Bus 916 Express ( 916快 / 怀柔方向) is on the northern platform. There are signs overhead to guide you in the direction to the 916 Express Bus Stop.

Overhead Chinese Sign " 916 快“ ( 916 Express )

Overhead Chinese Sign ” 916 快“ ( 916 Express )

Chinese and English Sign for Bus 916 Express Overhead

Chinese and English Sign for Bus 916 Express Overhead

Wait in line for Bus 916 Express

Wait in line for Bus 916 Express

Wait in line for the Bus 916 Express and the bus fare at 12 yuan.  In the 916 bus you have to pay the exact amount. In the bus entrance door, at your left, there is a small box where you have to put the exact amount. You get ready for the small money and often they don’t have the change.

Below is updated by Chris Nguyen relative to the payment for Express Bus 919:
The 916 express bus accepts transportation cards (tap when you hop on and tap when you hop off) and also accepts cash. We paid 12 RMB each based off of your suggestions but it seems as though the bus works off of the honor system as there is no one checking if you put the correct amount into the collection box. On the outside of the bus, there is a sign that says “self ticketing”.

2. Taking Bus 916 Express and Get off at the 15th stop of Huai Rou Bei Da Jie in Huairou District
( 62km – One Hour Drive)

916 Express Operating Hours: 5:50 – 19:50 ( Dongzhimen Transport Hub to Huairou )
04:50 – 18:50 (Huairou to Dongzhimen Transport Hub)

The 916 buses are clean and air-conditioned.

The 916 buses are clean and air-conditioned.

916 Express buses are clean and air-conditioned.

There are totally 20 stops for Public Bus 916 Express and you get off at the 15th stop of  Huai Rou Bei Da Jjie (怀柔北大街 ) in Huairou District. Then connect a local taxi ( about 50 yuan per taxi ) or further connect the local public Bus H23,( 5 yuan ).

The H23 buses are few and far between, so taking a taxi from Beidajie (Huai Rou Bei Da Jie ) is a good option. Taxi drivers are nice and aren’t trying to scam passengers.

Below is the current bus stop plan (bus line 916 express) submitted by Franziska  from Berlin):

The current bus stop plan (bus line 916 express) and you get off at the 15th stop of Hairou Bei Da Jie 怀柔北大街 from right to left and vice versa if you go back .

The 916 express runs every couple of minutes, so there is no much waiting.  A lot of people get off at Huai Rou Bei Da Jie ( 怀柔北大街),  so even if you don’t speak Chinese, you’ll know when to get off.

Basically, the bus makes a couple stops in Beijing after leaving Dongzhimen, then doesn’t make any stops for a long time, until it gets to Huai Rou District, where it makes stops every couple of minutes. After a handful of those stops, you’ll be at Huai Rou Bei Da Jie ( 怀柔北大街).

For each stop, Bus 916 Express will announce the name of the bus stop both  in English and Chinese. But only the Chinese stops will be shown on the electronic screen on the front of your bus, and make sure you get off at the 15th stop of Huai Rou Bei Da Jie ( 怀柔北大街).

The following bus interior photo shows the Chinese name of the bus station “Huai Rou Bei Da Jie” ( 怀柔北大街) where you should get off. The photo was provided by Franziska  from Berlin.

The electric bus stop screen shows the stop is Huairou Bei Da Jie (怀柔北大街)

After you get off, you will see there is an official bus stop sign for Huai Rou Bei Da jie ( 怀柔北大街)  now as shown in the picture below:

The picture of Huairou Bei Da Jjie Stop taken by Roxanne & Maartje

Huai Rou Bei Da jie ( 怀柔北大街) Station is located by the sidewalk in front of the large governmental building (Beijing Huai Rou Department of Civil Affairs) 民政局.

You get off the 15th stop pf Beidajie ( North Street ) by the side of the large governmental building.

You get off the 15th stop of Huairou Bei Da Jie by the side road in front of  the massive governmental building (Beijing Huairou Department of Civil Affairs) 民政局

Google maps location of where you need to get off at Huairou Bei Da Jie at Bus 916 express in front of the large governmental building (Beijing Huairou Department of Civil Affairs) 民政局

Google maps location of where you need to get off the 916 express.

Note:
1) The bus fare is 12 yuan. Be ready for the small amount of money to pay for the bus fare. You get ready for the small money and often they don’t have the change. If you have a transportation card, you just swipe, and you are entitled to half price.
2) Try to get to the 916 Express bus stop as early as possible to beat the crowds on the Great Wall. The first bus leaves at 5:50 am.
3) You should get off at the 15th stop of Huai Rou Bei Da Jie ( 怀柔北大街)  There is a bus stop sign for Huai Rou Bei Da Jie ( 怀柔北大街)

3.  Connecting Bus H23 for Mutianyu ( 18 km – 50 Minutes Drive)
Once you get off 916 express Bus, you have two options for next transport to your destination – Mutianyu Great Wall: Connect the local bus H23 ; or take a local taxi for Mutianyu.

Below is the way how to connect the local buses for Mutianyu:

You can continue to take Bus H23 for Mutianyu Great Wall. The Bus Stop for Bus H23 is just across where you get off Bus 916 express at Huai Rou Bei Da Jie ( 怀柔北大街). Important notice:  This Bus Stop for Bus H23 is the same bus stop area for 916 Express back to Beijing.

By the way, on your 916 Express back to Beijing, there are two kinds of 916 buses here, the express and the normal one. Take the express one! The express 916 bus is recognizable because it has 2 Chinese characters after the number. The return 916 bus leave you in a different place. After leaving the bus you have to continue and turn right and you will be in the Dongzhimen entrance where you started.

For easy memory,  the location of the bus stop H23 is just in front of the China Mobile Building ( Keep in mind that this is the same bus stop for 916 Express back to Beijing).

Kindly reminder:  basically you need to wait for quite some time before you can get on Bus h23.

The picture is taken by Roxanne & Maartje

Cost 3 yuan paid to ticket lady on the bus. The Bus  h23 is green and there is a blue cardboard sign in the window next to the driver saying h23. The sign on the bus H23 are very small.

You should pay attention to the place – Mutianyu Roundabout (慕田峪环岛) where you get off.  The easier way to identify Mutianyu Roundabout stop is a big aqueduct bridge over it.

Google maps location of where you need to get off h23:

There are totally 41 stops for Bus H23, keep in mind that you will alight at the 17th stop of Mutianyu Roundabout (慕田峪环岛)

Mutianyu Roundabout is recognizable because of the big aqueduct bridge overhead.

The Bus H23 runs the route between Yujiayuan ( 于家园) and Tiekuangyu (铁矿峪)
passing by Beidajie ( Huairou ) and Mutianyu Roundabout.

You may show your bus driver the Chinese characters “我要去慕田峪长城” ( I want to go to Mutianyu Great Wall) and the driver will remind you of the stop when the bus arrives at Mutianyu Roundabout (慕田峪环岛).

A photo of the Mutianyu Roundabout, it is recognizable because of the big aqueduct bridge overhead.

You can see both sides of the H23 bus stop. The right side is the arriving stop and the left one, where the people is standing, is the returning one.

Basically you need to walk about 310 meters to get to the ticketing office of Mutianyu Great Wall Scenic Area.

The Picture below shows the bus station of Bus H23 at Mutianyu Roundabout:

Bus H23 at Mutianyu Roundabout ( Photo by Franziska  from Berlin )

4. Transfer to Mutianyu by Taking a Local Taxi ( 18km – Half Hour Drive)
When getting off Bus 916 express at Beidajie ( North Street ), alternatively you can choose to take a local taxi directly bringing you to the ticketing box offices at Mutianyu.

The fact is that the moment you get off Bus 916, you will be approached by “black taxi drivers”.  We suggest you use the official metered taxis. Most of the official taxi drivers would stay inside their taxis and wait for customers ( maybe they don’t want to have any conflicts with black drivers).

Most of the Huairou official taxis are waiting by the side of the governmental building known as Beijing Huairou Department of Civil Affairs) 民政局. They use meters and the taxi ride costs about 42 yuan per taxi.

Huairou Local Taxi

Huairou Local Taxi

Taxi transfer is fast and comfortable.

Taxi transfer is fast and comfortable.

Taxi transfer is fast and comfortable.

When you arrive at Mutianyu, you should ask for a printed receipt which shows the taxi fare, distance and timing.

Printed Taxi Bill ( Receipt ).

Printed Taxi Bill ( Receipt ).

If you cannot find any official taxis by the governmental building,  just wait for a while and they will definitely will come back after their business.

Black taxi drivers will charge you about 50 yuan for the ride plus 20 yuan for so-called parking fee at Mutianyu. Actually, Mutianyu official parking lot offers free parking within 20 minutes.

Huairou Taxi Hotline: 69651168
Huairou Taxi Complaint: 60697889

5. Buying Your Tickets at Tourist Service Building
The large tourist service center mainly consists of ticketing offices, toilets, a Great Wall exhibition hall and a large tourist information hall where you can use ATM machine.

Mutianyu Tourist Service Building

Mutianyu Tourist Service Building

Price Information:
Entrance Fee Adults: 45 yuan ( 25yuan if you have valid student card)
Children between 1.2 meters and 1.4 meters in height: 25 yuan
Children less than 1.2 meters in height are free of charge
Cable Car:100 yuan(single way ); 120 yuan ( return )
Chairlift + toboggan : 100 yuan(single way ); 120 yuan ( return )
Cable car up + toboggan down: 100 +100 = 200 yuan.
Ferry Shuttle Bus: 15 yuan ( shuttle from the ticketing office to the starting point of the 600-meter long ramp up to the chair-lift station, cable car station and the walking starting point up to the Wall.

Opening Hours:
April to October: 8:00 -17:00
November to March: 8:30-16:30

Important Notice:
Cable car up and down is operated by one company; while chair-lift up and down ( or toboggan down) are operated by another company. They sell their tickets separately through the same ticketing window. This is a tricky part in Mutianyu Great Wall.

A return ticket is cheaper. But if you are going to take cable car up and the toboggan down ( so you are using two different companies), you have to buy two single tickets. If you take the chair-lift up and the toboggan down, you are able to buy a return ticket. This is a tricky part in Mutianyu Great Wall.

Cable car brings you up to the place below the 14th Watch Tower;
Chair-lift takes you up to the place below the 6th Watch Tower;
Walking up along the stone steps (like a mountain hike – 30 minute hike ) – to the 10th or 8th Watch Tower.

Note: After you get off the shuttle from the ticketing office, you still need to walk up a 600-meter long ramp leading to the cable car station. But on the way up, you will first come across the chair-lift ( toboggan ) station. They are different companies with separate accounts.

So it is up to you to decide whether you use cable car up and down, or chair-lift up and toboggan down, or cable up and toboggan down, or lastly just walk up to the summit for the Wall.

So once inside the wall area,  you have four choices with three prices:

1.Cable Car:100 yuan(single way ); 120 yuan ( return )
2.Chairlift + toboggan: 100 yuan(single way ); 120 yuan ( return )
3. Cable car up + toboggan down: 100 +100 = 200 yuan.
4. Walk up: free of Charge

Ferry Shuttle Bus: 15 yuan

Click the Map of Mutianyu Great Wall for more information.

There are 23 towers on the Mutianyu Great Wall snaking the ridge for about 3000 meters. The watch towers at the Mutianyu Great Wall are distributed at short intervals. The 23 watch towers are numbered from right (east) to left (west). The or 23rd tower is highest point of the Mutianyu Great Wall.

Wait in line at Ticketing Box Offices

Wait in line at Ticketing Box Offices

Note: Two different companies operate cable car and chairlift (toboggan) separately. You either choose cable or chairlift (toboggan).  The ticketing staff will ask you which you prefer, cable car or chairlift ( or toboggan down )?

If you have strong legs and prefer to hike up to the Great Wall, you can do the hiking without using the service of cable car or chairlift.

On the right side of the Tourist Service Building is the Exhibition Hall for Great Wall Culture, a brief introduction to the Great Wall of China and Mutianyu Great Wall in particular.

 Exhibitional Hall for Great Wall Culture

Exhibition Hall for Great Wall Culture

The large service center building where you can use ATM machine.

The large service center building where you can use ATM machine

The large service center building where you can use ATM machine

Clean and modern toilet.

Clean and modern toilet

Clean and modern toilet

6. Taking a ferry Shuttle Bus  ( 2.5km ) to the Starting Points for the Mutianyu Great Wall
At the ticketing box office, you are required to buy a 15 yuan ferry shuttle bus. From the tourist service center, you till need to walk about 200 meters to get to the shuttle bus terminal.

The road leading to the Shuttle Bus Terminal is lined with restaurants and vendor stalls.

The road leading to the Shuttle Bus Terminal is lined with restaurants and vendor stalls.

The 200-meter road leading to the shuttle bus terminal is lined with restaurants on the left side and vendors on the right side.

You have the choices of King Burger, Pizza, and Chinese food and more. Bottled water on the vendor stalls here is much cheaper ( 3 yuan per bottle ) than that sold up on the Wall ( 15 yuan per bottle ).

The 5-minute free shuttle ride brings you to the area close to the starting points for Visiting Mutianyu Great Wall.

Ferry Shuttle Bus

Ferry Shuttle Bus

7. Three Ways to Go up to Mutianyu Great Wall
When you get off the ferry shuttle bus, you need to walk along an accessible stone path (600 meters long ) leading up first to the entrance area for chairlift ( or toboggan down ), second to the walking path up to the Wall and last to the area for cable car up to the Wall respectively.

The Cable Car Station is at the end of the 600-meter stone slope. That said, there are three ways to go up to Mutianyu Great Wall.

The Cable Car Station

The Cable Car Station

1) Taking a chairlift to the Great Wall – to the 6th Watch Tower ( or take a toboggan down).
2) Walking up the Great Wall along the stone steps (like a mountain hike – 30 minute hike ) – to the 10th or 8th Watch Tower
3) Taking a cable car up to the Great Wall – to the 14th Watch Tower
Click the Map of Mutianyu Great Wall for more information.

Note:
1) There are 23 towers on the Mutianyu Great Wall snaking the ridge for about 3000 meters. The watch towers at the Mutianyu Great Wall are distributed at short intervals.

2) The 23 watch towers are numbered from right (east) to left (west). The 23rd tower is highest point of the Mutianyu Great Wall.

Mutianyu Great Wall in summer

Mutianyu Great wall in summer

Mutianyu Great wall in summer

Basically it is more convenient to use its smooth and gentle ramp leading up Badaling Great Wall. You don’t need to  use the cable car. The area for the upper cable station is not wheelchair-friendly and teem with domestic tourists.

On the Mutianyu Great Wall, wheelchair users may take a cable car up and then use the accessible lane leading to the platform below the 14th watch tower for a good view of Mutianyu Great Wall.

8. The accessible paths in Mutianyu Great wall are too steep, not so wheelchair user-friendly!
4293-20011On the Mutianyu Great Wall, wheelchair users may take a cable car up and then use the accessible lane leading to the platform below the 14th watch tower for a good view of Mutianyu Great Wall.

The steep accessible ramp at Mutianyu Great Wall

The steep accessible ramp at Mutianyu Great Wall

But unfortunately, the accessible ramp leading from the upper cable station to the platform below the 14th watch tower is too steep, very much challenging for wheelchair users.

Note:
Badaling Great Wall is more wheelchair user-friendly. Basically it is more convenient to use its smooth and gentle ramp leading up Badaling Great Wall. You don’t need to  use the cable car. Click: The Most Wheelchair-Friendly Great Wall to Visit.

9. Going Back to Beijing
At the end of your Mutianyu visit, just retrace on the same travel route.  Alternatively you can make use of the daily 4 pm departure fixed direct shuttle bus going from Mutianyu directly back to Beijing. The Mutianyu Direct Shuttle Bus starts from P1 ( Parking No.01 ) at the parking area of Mutianyu Great Wall Scenic Area.

Mutianyu Great Wall Shuttle Schedule
Leaving at 4:00 pm at Parking No.01 at Mutianyu (景区P1停车场)
Bus Fare: 30 yuan ( One Way) Dont’ Accept transportation cards
How to buy tickets: On board the bus
Note: Ticket selling starts half hour before departure. Full and go. You have to get there earlier to secure a seat.

If you miss the bus or your travel time doesn’t fit into the shuttle schedule,
you may  have the following options for your transfer from Mutianyu to the 916 express bus stop at Huairou.

1) Walk from Mutianyu Great Wall Service Area to the Mutianyu Roundabout and take the h23 back as well. Stops opposite to where you drops off. You can flag it down if you are not  sure if it would have stopped.

2) Take an official taxi from the parking lot of Mutianyu Great Wall Service Area to 916 express bus stop at Huairou. But , it is not easy to find an official taxi back to Beidajie Huairou since it seems that the official taxis are outnumbered by black taxis. In addition, most of the black taxi drivers are local people. Basically people are not willing to offend them. You just wait until you see someone drops off and hail the same taxi back.

3) If you have to take a black taxi back ( not recommended ), you should bargain with them. Take a “black taxi” at the parking lot bringing you back to 916 express bus stop at Huairou ( a choice of no choice).

By the way, when back to the Express Bus 916,  there are two kinds of 916 buses, the express and the normal one. Take the express one! The express 916 bus is recognizable because it have 2 Chinese characters after the number. The return 916 bus leave you in a different place. After leaving the bus you have to continue and turn right and you will be in the Dongzhimen entrance where you started.

Newest Updated:
The blue taxi cabs are not allowed to wait and collect passengers at Mutianyu. Not sure what happened, but didn’t find a single cab while returning from Mutianyu and the office closed. There were several people asking me to board their taxi or minibus. I walked to the public bus stop and i waved down a passing blue cab. He was worried that someone might notice my getting into his cab.

10. Possible Tourist Scams at Dongzhimen Public Transport Hub and fake bus staffers on Bus 916
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A fake official bus station employee (‘friendly lady”- don’t trust her) told us to take the Bus 980 because it would be a shorter ride and that we should get off at the 4th stop. At the 4th stop, there was an older man waiting with a “black taxi”. It was all planned. He was just waiting for us so we were pretty sure that the lady and him were working together.

We ended up taking the bus back to Beijing. He was not gonna get our money, that’s for sure.
So we lost a couple of hours there, unfortunately.

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Hi, your instructions are great – followed them and got to Mutianyu and back without any problems. I can confirm, that a few stops before Beidajie Stop a man in a uniform very similar to public transportation uniform entered the bus and said, that those, who was going to the Great Wall should leave here.

There was lot’s of black taxis on that stop as well. I didn’t leave the bus and continued to go, and get off at  Beidajie Stop where I took a metered taxi without any problem.

On the way back two metered taxis were waiting right on the roundabout. But I also found out, that now it’s possible to get DiDi app in English, so if there is no taxi, but one has mobile internet – the one can be ordered by DiDi without any problem.

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11. Hassle-free Mutianyu Great Wall Guided Tours
06611If you don’t want to go the seemingly daunting do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Mutianyu Great wall.

Mutianyu Great Wall Group Day Tour ( No shopping )
Mutianyu Great Wall Half  Day Private Tour ( No Shopping )

Further Readings


How to Get to Badaling Great Wall by Bus
How to visit Great Wall of China around Beijing

Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

Top 10 Markets in Beijing
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing
Beijing Shopping

Wangfujing Night Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions, just drop a line.

Tips for Visiting the Temple of Heaven

May 19th, 2019
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Map of the Temple of Heaven from www.willgoto.com

Plan your Beijing tour? Temple of Heaven is a big draw in Beijing. The name of the Temple of Heaven is a little misleading. It is more than just a temple, it is a huge park as well.

Inside the huge park, there is a lovely temple complex, which is composed of three main parts – Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, the Imperial Vault of Heaven and Circular Mound Altar sitting along an axis from south to north.

Temple of Heaven is called “Tiantan Park” in Chinese, literally meaning “Temple of Heaven Park”. It was first constructed in 1420, the 18th year of the reign of Ming emperor Yongle. It was the place where the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties would worship the god of heaven and pray for good harvest.

Tip # 01: Get up early to see and feel the locals in the park
Though everyday the temple and historical buildings within the park are open to the public from 8:00 till 17:00, the park itself opens at 6:00 till 22:00. Many local people have yearly tickets for easy access to the park. Get there about 7:00 or 7:30am, especially on a Sunday morning.

You will see local people, most of them are middle-aged or older people doing various kinds of light physical activity you can imagine, like singing, dancing, playing instruments, playing chess, practicing kung fu, tai chi… After 9:30 a.m. it will be slammed with group tourists and is barely worth the subway trip.

Practicing Sword, in Temple of Heaven Park,

Practicing Sword, in Temple of Heaven Park,

 
Tip # 02: Acquaint yourself with the historical buildings in the park
Be prepared for a guidebook or hire a Beijing Tour Guide for your life long trip to the temple complex in the park.Three historical buildings are not missed from north to south, namely the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, the Imperial Vault of Heaven and Circular Mound Altar.

The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests
:
where the emperors sacrificed animals and burned incense sticks to pray for good weather for the crops

the Hall of Pray for Harvest above the Wall

the Hall of Pray for Harvest above the Wall

The Red Stairway Bridge:
The historical buildings are connected by a 360 metre long raised walk called the Red Step Bridge (Danbiqiao), are arranged in a line forming a north south axis 1,200 meters long, and flanked by century-old cypresses in a spacious area.

The Imperial Vault of Heaven: A single gabled circular building, built on a single level of marble stone base. It is located south of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest. Inside the compound, a circular wall, an echo wall. where you can whisper something from one end and the voice will transmit to the other end.

Imperial Vault of Heaven under the sunset glow

Imperial Vault of Heaven under the sunset glow

Circular Mound Altar: Used to worship Heaven at the winter solstice where the principal construction is a large round marble terrace named the Circular Mound.

The distant view of the Circular Mound Altar under the sunset glow

The distant view of the Circular Mound Altar under the sunset glow

Tip # 03: Don’t miss the Cypress Grove
Always keep in mind that here is a huge park, a huge garden. Old cypress trees are worth having a close look.

Some of the cypresses are more than 600 years old. Dr Henry Kissinger, when he visited the temple, stated that while the USA could recreate the Temple of Heaven if it desired, it could not create the trees!

the Cypress Grove

the Cypress Grove

Tip # 04: Choose the right entrance
Originally the Temple of Heaven had only one main gate, which faced west, but after it was made a public park in 1949, entrances were also opened on the northern, southern and eastern sides.
So now it mainly has four gates – East, South, West and North. Both East Gate and South Gate are highly recommended.

East Gate: If you want to see the local people engaged in all kinds of morning activities, you are advised to enter the east gate since most of the morning activities are carried out around the east gate area.The East Gate entrance is also close to the subway line 05.If you enter the east gate, then your walking itinerary would be east gate – long corridor – The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest – The Imperial Vault of Heaven – Circular Mound Altar – South Gate.

After your north – south tour of the temple, you may turn back and go out of the east gate and head to the Hongqiao Market across the road.

South Gate: Start your tour by entering the south gate, then walk along Danbiqiao raised way to visit Circular Mound Altar – The Imperial Vault of Heaven, The Hall of Prayer for Harvest – Long Corridor – East Gate – Hongqiao Market.

Tip # 05: How to get to the Temple of Heaven
If you visit the Temple of Heaven through the east gate, you take subway line 5 to Tiantan Dongmen Station and take exit A. The East Gate entrance is right there. For the public buses to the east gate, you may try bus 6, 35, 36, 39, 41, 43…

If you use south gate, you take a taxi or take bus 36, 120, 122, 800, 803, 958

Tip # 06: Aware of the daily opening time both for the historical buildings and the park itself

The park opens at 6am and closes at 8pm.
The historical buildings opens 8am and closes around 5:00pm like The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, The Imperial Vault of Heaven and the Circular Mound Altar. For the exact opening time in different seasons are listed below:

Gate:6:00-22:00
The main buildings inside the park
From March 1 to June 30: 8:00 – 17:30
From July 1 to October 31: 8:- 18:00
From November 1 to February 28: 8:00 – 17:00
Kindly reminder: Through tickets selling is stopped at 16:00

Tip #07 Two kinds of entrance tickets at Temple of Heaven
There are two kinds of entrance tickets – Entrance ticket for the park and through tickets for entering the park as well the three main historical buildings within the park.

Entrance Ticket:  An entrance ticket charges RMB 15 (April – November) and RMB 10 (December – March). With the ticket, you to get into the park, see local people do morning exercises.

Through Ticket: The ticket charges RMB 35 (April – November) and RMB 30 (December – March). With a through ticket, you can enter the park and go to visit the three areas in the park – Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, The Imperial Vault of Heaven and the Circular Mound Altar.

Ticket Type Prices
  Entrance Ticket RMB 10 (December to March), RMB 15 ( April  to November)
   Half Price Ticket RMB 5 (December to March), RMB 8 ( April  to November) (students and seniors over 70)
Through Ticket RMB 30 (December to March), RMB 35 ( April  to November)(including the entries to the three areas – Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, The Imperial Vault of Heaven and the Circular Mound Altar)
 Kids under 1.2 meters high  Free of Charge
Tip # 08: Dress for the Hot Weather
Though there are many trees in the park. all the trees are lined on the both sides of the north-south axis. So no single tree on your axis trip – Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, the Imperial Vault of Heaven and the Circular Mound.

For summer time, be ready to bring an umbrella for sun protection, bottles of water, and comfy walking shoes. Check Beijing Climate for more information.Tip # 9 Wear Comfortable Shoes
The park is so huge.  You are advised to wear your most comfortable shoes. It’s a long walk!

Tip # 10  Hassle-free Beijing Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for Beijing guided tours:

Beijing Highlight Day Tour from US$59 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Mutianyu Great Wall)
Beijing Classic City Tour from US$65 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Temple of Heaven + Summer Palace)
Beijing Excursion Tour from US$59 P/P
(Mutianyu Great Wall + Ming Tomb)
Beijing Hutong Highlight Tour from US$59 P/P
( Hutong + Rickshaw)

Mutianyu Great Wall Half Day Tour from US$55 p/p
Hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall Day Tour from US$69 p/p

Mutianyu Great Wall Layover Tour from US$65 p/p
Beijing Highlight Layover Tour from US$75 p/p

Further Readings


Tips for Visiting Tiananmen Square
Tips for visiting Summer Palace
Forbidden City Travel Tips – The Palace Museum Travel Tips

How to Visit Longji Rice Terraces by Bus from Guilin

May 15th, 2019
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Dear Travelers,

We’d like to have the following quick guide to be always updated for the benefit of new visitors visiting Longji Rice Terraces from Guilin. If anybody having used the piece finds necessary updates, please leave a message or feedback. Thanks!
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Plan your Guilin tour? Longji Rice Terrace (龙脊梯田), literally “Dragon’s Backbone Terraced Paddy Fields”,  is a large scenic area with their ticketing office building located about 1km to the south of Heping Town (和平乡),  about 14 km to the southeast of Longsheng County (龙胜),  76km to the north of Guilin city proper (桂林) and 146km to the northwest of Yangshuo (阳朔).

Longji Rice Terrace Scenic Area encompasses five natural villages – Dazhai Village (大寨) & Tiantouzhai Village (田头寨) (both Yao minority villages), Ping’An Zhuang Minority Village (平安寨), the Ancient Zhuang Minority Village (龙脊古壮寨)and Huangluohong Yao Minority Village (黄洛红瑶寨).

Longji Rice Terrrace Scenic Area mainly refers to the rice terraces in the three forest-fringed villages –  Ping’An Village (平安寨),  Dazhai Village (大寨) and Tiantouzhai Village ( 田头寨).

Ping’An Village is 18km to the northeast of the Longji Rice Terrace Ticketing Office Building ( Also the Bus Station and Parking Lot for Longji).

Dazhai Village and Tiantouzhai Village are 24 km to the northeast of the Longji Ticketing Office Building. Tiantouzhai is located on the hillsides above Dazhai Village. Both the two villages are roughly in the same area.

How to get to Longji Rice Terraces?
When we ask “How to get to Longji Rice Terraces?”,  actually we mean two questions –  How to get to the Longji Ticketing Office Building (the Tourist Service Center) and how to get from the ticketing office to the actual areas for viewing Longji rice terraces which mainly include the terraced paddy fields around Ping’An Village, Dazhai Village and Tiantouzhai Village.

You either visit Ping’An Village ( a separate ticket ) or Dazhai Village and Tiantouzhai Village ( another separate ticket ), or you can buy two tickets to cover the two areas.

To get to Ping’An Village, Dazhai Village and Tiantouzhai Village from the ticket building, you also need to purchase the shuttle bus tickets at the ticketing office.

How to get to the Longji Rice Terrace Ticketing Office Building by Bus from Guilin? 
The Longji Ticketing Office Building is in the service complex designed for Longji Rice Terrace Scenic Area which includes the ticketing office, bus station, toilets and other facilities.

The ticket office at the tourist center sell all-through tickets ( one ticket for all ) for Ping’An Village, Dazhai Village and Tiantouzhai Village. Each village has its own ticket check points.

There are daily buses directly getting to the Longji Ticketing Office Building from Guilin Qintan Bus Station and Guilin North Bus Station(76km)

There are three main bus stations in Guilin:
1) Guilin Qintan Bus Station 桂林琴谭汽车站
Add: 31 Cuizhu Road, Guilin 翠竹路31号
Tel: (0773)3832703
Departures ( to Longji ): 7:00-19:00 (every 15 minutes ); 25 yuan

2)Guilin North Bus Station 桂林汽车北站
Add: 76 Beichen  Road, Guilin北辰路76号
Departures (to Longji ): only 4 daily 8:25/11:40/13:40/17:20

3)Guilin South Bus Station 桂林汽车南站
No departure for Longji
Add: West of Kaifeng Road, Guilin 凯风路西侧

The Ticketing Office ( The Tourist Center ) at Longji

The Ticketing Office ( The Tourist Center ) at Longji

How to get to Ping’An Village,  Dazhai Village and Tiantouzhai Village from the Ticketing Office?
If you take a public bus from Guilin to the ticketing office in Longji,  you need to change for a local public bus to go further to each of the villages after you purchase your entry ticket.

If you take a car or van ( less than 9 seats ) to get to Longji Terrace, you can directly drive to each village. But you still need to purchase your ticket at the center before you go to each village.

At present, the official shuttle buses in Longji Rice Terrace Scenic Area are only designed for tourist groups instead of individual tourists. For those who come here organised by a travel agent need to purchase a 40-yuan bus ticket for the shuttle service shuttling from the ticketing office to Ping’An, Daizhai and Tiantouzhai.

It seems Longji Rice Terrace is not an individual tourist-friendly place where as an independent traveler, you are not allowed to use the shuttle service starting from the ticketing office. Instead, you have to take the local public buses outside the ticketing office to Ping’An (18km), or further to Dazhai and Tiantouzhai (24km).

It is an hourly bus ride with the bus fare at 40 yuan, a return ticket and valid for multidays. So keep your bus ticket for a return trip from the villages back to the ticketing office.

All the local public buses come from Longsheng, on to Heping Town and the ticketing office, so your bus ticket is also valid between the villages and Heping Town, or Longsheng. That means you are able to take bus to the villages directly from Heping Town or Longsheng as well as the Longji Ticketing Office.

Visit Ping’An Village, or Dazhai Village and Tiantouzhai Village?
For a day tripper from Guilin or Yangshuo, people don’t have enough time to cover the three villages and have to make a choice between Ping’An Village, and Dazhai & Tiantouzhai villages due to the limited time since each village involves 2-3 hour hiking. Ping’An Village is about 19km away from Dazhai Village & Tiantouzhai Village.

So choose Ping’An Village, or its competitors Dazhai Village and Tiantouzhai Village? Ping’An Rice Terrace area often represents Longji Rice Terraces since Ping’An Village was the first village in the scenic area developing rice terrace sightseeing tourism while Dazhai and Tiantouzhai are newcomers, beautiful competitors in a less touristy area.

Personally I highly recommend visiting Dazhai & Tiantouzhai since they have a much larger area put together of terraced paddy fields with more photogenic views. The upside is that they have a long cable car lifting you to the top of the mountain for a panoramic view of the terraced fields if you don’t have strong legs for hiking.

How to Visit Dazhai (大寨)& Tiantouzhai (田头寨)?
There is the same parking area and entrance to the two village with Tiantouzhai Village perched on the hillsides and Dazhai Village at the foot of the hills. There are three high viewing platforms in the area – Platform No. 1, No 2 and No. 3.  You may hike from Dazhai to No.02 Platform in Tiantouzhai and up to the No.01 Platform on the summit. The Platform No.03 can be reached by the cable car service starting from the parking lot and by the entrance. Cable car: 70 yuan single and 120 return tickets.

For a fast glimpse of the massive terrace rice fields, you may take the cable car up to the Viewing Platform No.03.  For hiking lovers, you may hike up from Dazhai Village along the trails with English signposts. The time hiking up to No.01 and No.2, then back to the entrance takes about 4-5 hours. The last return bus from Dazhai to the ticketing office or Longsheng leaves at 5:30 pm. So carefully schedule your travel time for a day trip to Longji.

The Parking Area by the entrance to Dazhai Village and the Cable Car Station.

The Parking Area at Dazhai Village Longji

The Parking Area at Dazhai Village Longji

Take the cable car up the Viewing Platform for a bird’s-eye’s view of the magnificent terraced paddy fields.

Take the cable car at Longji Terraced Paddy Fields

Take the cable car at Longji Terraced Paddy Fields

The Dazhai Village and the surrounding rice terraces viewed from the Platform No.03.

The Dazhai Village and the surrounding rice terraces

The Dazhai Village and the surrounding rice terraces

A close-up view of the rice terraces.

close-up view of the rice terraces

close-up view of the rice terraces

The Panorama House Hotel and the Viewing Platform No.01 on its left side with the red flag.

Panorama House Hotel and the Viewing Platform No.01

Panorama House Hotel and the Viewing Platform No.01

The Viewing platform No.01 is the best place in Longji to see the sunrise.

The Sunrise at Longji

The Sunrise at Longji

The terraced rice fields viewed from the Platform No.01.

Longji Rice Terraces Viewed from Platform No.01

Longji Rice Terraces Viewed from Platform No.01

Snapping pictures of the rice terraces below.

Snapping pictures of the rice terraces

Snapping pictures of the rice terraces

The terraced paddy fields known as “Seven Star flying to the Moon”.

Seven Stard flying to the Moon

Seven Stars flying to the Moon

The  “the Thousand Terraces of the rice fields ” viewed from the Platform No.02

the Thousand Terraces of the rice fields

the Thousand Terraces of the rice fields

Recommended Hotels
1) Dragon’Den Hostel (大寨青年旅社):  Tel: 0773 – 7585780  Located in Dazhai Village
2) Meijing Lou (美景楼): Tel: 0773 7585678  Located in Tiantouzhai Village
Panorama House Hotel (全景楼大酒店):  On the summit of the mountain Tel: 0773 – 7585688

How to Visit Ping’An (平安)?
Many individual trippers favor Ping’An Village simply because it is closer to the ticketing office, saving time and another factor is Ping’An is more developed with better catering service and it is learned that even some foreigners run a bar restaurant there.

There are two Viewing Platforms – from the No.01 Platform you can catch the stunning view of the so-called “Nine Dragons and Five Tigers”, a metaphor vividly depicting the terraced paddy fields resembling dragons and tigers; from the No.02 Platform you ‘ll see ” Seven Stars Accompany the Moon” that refers the seven high terraced platform and the watered platform that resembles the Moon, a fantastic view.

The view of “Nine Dragons and Five Tigers ” at Ping’An Village

Nine Dragons and Five Tigers

Nine Dragons and Five Tigers

The Seven Stars Accompanying the Moon at Ping’An

The Seven Stars Accompanying the Moon

The Seven Stars Accompanying the Moon

The Ping’ An Village

Ping'An Village

The Ping’ An Village

Recommended Hotels
1) Longji Holiday Hotel (龙脊酒店): Tel: 0773 7583545
2) Liqing Hote (丽晴饭店) Tel: 0773 13878352092

Hassle-free Guide Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for your Guilin guided tours:

Guilin City Tour from US$69 p/p
Guilin Li River Cruising Tour from US$95 p/p
Guilin Longsheng Guilin Day Tour from US$109 p/p

Guilin Yangshuo 3 Day Tour from US$229 p/p
Guilin Yangshuo Daxu Town 4 Day Tour from US$305 p/p
Guilin Longji Rice Terraces Yangshuo 4 Day Tour from US$369 p/p

Guilin City Bus Tour RMB 470 p/p
Guilin City Half Day Bus Tour RMB 350 p/p

Guilin Li River Yangshuo Cruising Bus Tour RMB 480 p/p
Guilin Longji Terrace Bus Tour RMB 490 p/p

Further Readings


Top 10 Things to do Guilin
How to Visit Chengyang Wind & Rain Bridge
Li River Cruise
Daxu Ancient Town

Visit Huangyao Ancient Town from Yangshuo or Guilin
How to Visit Xingping
Impression Liu Sanjie Mega Performance in Yangshuo
Biking through Shili Scenery Gallery in Yangshuo

Any questions, just drop a line.