Simatai Village

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Simatai Village (司马台村) is situated at the foot of Simatai Great Wall in Miyun County, about 135km northeast of the Beijing’s  city center. The old Simatai Village was originally developed from the Simatai Castle built during the reign of Emperor Wanli ( 1573 -1620 ) in Ming Dynasty ( 1368 – 1644 ).

Simatai Village used to have 8 natural sub-villages. Among the 8 sub villages, 5 natural villages were nestled in the valley below the Simatai Great Wall.

In 2010,  the local government started to carry out the policy of “Building Socialist New Villages”  and decided to move the 5 natural villages down from the mountainous area to join the other three natural villages 1.5km with relatively flat terrains southeast of the original Simatai Great Wall area. The area where the other three natural villages were located had a better environment  with the Simatai River passing by all year round.

Now all the 500 households  with over 1400 villagers in Simatai New Village live in three separate new sub villages along the Simatai River with beautiful views.  Roughly from the west to the east, the three new sub villages are Xiao Ling Village (小岭村), Shaling Village (沙岭村) and Caijiawopu Village (蔡家窝铺村).  Of the three new villages, Shaling Village is the largest where the head office of Simatai Village is located.

The area where the 5 displaced Simatai natural villages has been allocated to the newly built Gubei Water Town with an area of 9 square km,  a huge project with over 3 billion yuan investment. Gubei Water Town is located at the foot of Simatai Great Wall. It is a reproduction of the water town known as Wuzhen in the Yantze River Delta (Jiangnan) and the traditional buildings in the northern China, especially the building style of Shanxi.

With the financial subsidies and compensations from the investment companies behind Gubei Water Town and the local government, all the Simatai villagers now live in new connected buildings –  a kind of two-storey townhouses. The local government encourages the villagers to run homestay service to make money since all the local villagers have lost their lands.

Most of the local households would rent out theirs second floor used as standards rooms for tourists and  they live on the first floor. They also offer catering service and cook the local flavor dishes and food. The urban people, especially the middle class white-collar young people often choose to stay in these kinds of farmhouses to kill their weekends or holidays,  a kind of rewinding themselves in the competitive bustle and hustle world.

Tonight I stay at the Grandma Zhang’s townhouse in Simatai Shaling Village.  She says that they are happy with the opportunity to have moved to this new house though they are a bit nostalgic of the old farm house on the mountain by Simatai Great Wall, where they could grow vegetables and do more farm activities. Now she and her husband live in this 165 square meters two-storey townhouse with the 4 rooms on the second floor for rental. Their living conditions are improved and incomes increased.

Simatai New Village is a good choice for your weekend trip to get away from the busy Beijing. Chatting with the local villagers, savoring the local farm food, taking the fresh air and enjoying the natural views – a kind of slow life.

How to go to Simatai New Village

1. Self-driving: Drive along  the Jingcheng Express and get off at the exit of Taishitun (太师屯), then follow the signboard for another 15km and you see an Archwayy Gate to Simatai Village.

2. Take the public bus no.98 express and get off the stop of Gulou (Drum Tower) at Miyun County, then connect local bus No.51 or 38 to Simatai Village.

Below are some of the photos of Simatai Village taken on my recent trip to give you a clear picture of the ancient new village.

The Archway Gate to Simatai Village

Driving through the archway, the first village you will see is Xiaoling Village. Rows and rows of newly built grey brick townshouses are neatly arrayed along the Simatai New Village.

Rows and rows of newly built grey brick townshouses are neatly arrayed along the Simatai Village.

Rows and rows of newly built grey brick townhouses are neatly arrayed along the Simatai Village.

Driving further from Xiaoling Village is the largest village in Simatai known as Shaoling Village.

The last village of the three villages in Simatai Village is Caijiawopu Village, the closest village to Simatai Great Wall and Gubei Water Town.

I stay at Grandma Zhang’s Townhouse at 59-4 in Shaling Village in Simatai Village.

Grandma Zhang cooks very good local food, especially jiaozi ( dumplings ). She cooks in a small kitchen on the first floor.

Grandma Zhang cooks very good local food, especially jiaozi ( dumplings ). She cooks in a small kitchen on the first floor.

Grandma Zhang cooks very good local food, especially jiaozi ( dumplings ). She cooks in a small kitchen on the first floor.

A table of local farm household dishes prepared by Grandma Zhang seldom tasted in the downtown Beijing.

This is my room with wireless internet and ground heating. It has clean bed cover, quilts and a table lamp and desk for your work.

This is my room with wirelee internet and ground heating. It has clean bed cover, quilts and a table lamp and desk for your work.

This is my room with wireless internet and ground heating. It has clean bed cover, quilts and a table lamp and desk for your work.

 

I have the honor to take a picture with Grandma Zhang and her husband after dinner. We have a very good chat on everyday life.

I have the honor to take a picture with Grandma Zhang and her husband after dinner. We have a very good chat on everyday life.

to experience the local folk life.  I’m  definitely sure you will never be disappointed! You will come back touched and changed.

Hello Simatai Village, We’ll come back!

Hello Simatai Village, We'll come back!

Hello Simatai Village, We’ll come back!

Tip:  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 guided tours to Beijing:

Simatai Great Wall & Gubei Water Town Day Tour from US7$85 p/p
Jinshanling & Simatai Great West Day Tour from US$5 p/p

Mutianyu Great Wall Half Day Tour from US$55 p/p8
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

Beijing Dinner & Night Boat Tour. from US$ 59P/P

Beijing by Night Illuminations Tour  from US$33 p/p

Beijing Hutong Highlight One Day Tour  from US$59 p/p

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)

Further Readings


How to visit Mutianyu Great Wall by bus.
Tips for Visiting Great Wall around Beijing
How to Visit Beijing in Winter
Visiting Great Wall by Train
Go to Badaling Great Wall by Bus
Great Wall Tour
Top 10 Markets in Beijing

Any questions, just drop a line.

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