Archive for the ‘Great Wall of China’ Category

How to visit Huangyaguan Great Wall

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012
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Huangyaguan ( Huangya Pass ) Great Wall is located 130km to the east of Beijing and 30km in the north of Ji County ( or Jixian County) in Tianjin. Huangyaguan Great Wall is a restored section of the Great Wall of China including a military fortress. It is is a by-product of the massive rebuilding and revamping of the Great Wall of China in 1980s.

This section of Huangyaguan Great Wall used to be 54km in length with 52 guide-towers and 14 beacon-owers connected to Jiangjunguan Pass Great Wall (now in Beijing region) in the east and to Malanguan Pass Great Wall, extended to Panjiakou Pass Great Wall(Tangshan Hebei Provicne) in the west. It was originally built in 556 in Northern Qi Dynasty (550-577).

It was rebuilt with bricks and towers by Qi Jiguang (November 12, 1528 – January 5, 1588), the commander in chief Qizhen Garrison, one of the nine garrisons responsible for the frontier defence and the building of the Great Wall from Beijing to Shanhaiguan. Hiking westward from Huangyaguan Great Wall, you’ll get to Badaling Great Wall and eastward to Shanhaiguan Pass.

From Sept, 1984 to Sept, 1987, the repair work of Huangyanguan Great Wall was carried out. As a result, a total 3025m section of the Wall was restored and rebuilt with a completion of 20 watch towers and one fortress, one of the longest restored section of the Great Wall of China.

Huangyaguan Great Wall Contact Information

Tel: 022-22718080
Fax: 022-22718106
Add: Huangyaguan Village, Xiaying Town of Ji County in Tianjin
Entrance Fee: RMB 50 per person
How to get there from Beijing:
1) Self-drive: Drive along Jingping Express and turn left at Wangzhuangqiao, then drive directly to Huangyaguan Great Wall, 131km totally.
2) Long-distance bus: take the bus from Beijing Sihui Long Distance Bus station to Jixian County. Operated every ten minutes from 06:30 to 19:30. While in Jixian County, you are supposed to take a taxi or van to the Huangyanguan Great Wall at the cost of about RMB50.

When reaching the main entrance to Huangyaguan Great Wall, we are told that there are two sections of the restored great wall with the pass or the castle in the middle nestled in an valley flanked by Banlagang Mountain (Half a Clinder Mountain) in the west and Wangmaoding Mountain in the east. We are further advised to hike the east section since the west section is very easy for hiking with only 3 or 4 towers, suitable for kids and senior hikers. Ok, we prefer the east section for exploring Huangyaguan Great Wall.

The east section of Huangyaguan Great Wall is also known as Taipingzhai Great Wall, 2152m long with its east linked to the steep ridge of Banlagang Mountain and its west connected down to Huangyaguan Pass, or the castle in the valley. So to climb the east section, we have to drive up to the fortress of Taipingzhai Great Wall with a sea-level of 900m , then hike about 2152m down to the pass.

One and half hour 2150m hike from Taiping Zhai to Huangya Pass (also known Bagua Labyrinth Castle).

Our hike starts with the fortress of Taipingzhai (900m sea-level). Our Buick Van driver Zhou takes us to the parking lot below Taipingzhai Fortress along a zigzag mountain cement road.

Our hike starts with the fortress of Taipingzhai (900m sea-level)

 

Our one and half hour climb covers a 2150m long wall winding up and down the ridges with a final destination at the castle – Bagua Labyrinth.

We hike westward. While to our east direction, the wall winds up and meets the steep top of Banlagang Mountain serving as a natural barrier.

the steep top of Banlagang Mountain serving as a natural barrier

Unlike the wild and unrestored sections at Panjiakou, Xifengkou, Baiyangyu, Xuliukou, Liujiakou, Chengziyu, Xiaohekou and Zhuizishan, this section of the Wall is new. Hiking along the restored wall doesn’t give you a sense of history, or you cannot feel and touch the history behind the wall. It is more like doing a hiking exercises than hiking a Great wall of China. 

this section of the Wall is new

Taipingzhai Great Wall stretches along the mountain ridges up and down

Taipingzhai Great Wall stretches along the mountain ridges up and down

This flight of stairs is treacherous. Even a moden day repair section is not easy, let along the its original construction 1400 years ago.

This flight of stairs is treacherous.

Huangyaguan Great Wall, though lack of originality due to its recent restoration, remains a haven for family outing, a safe and interesting place.

Huangyaguan Great wall remains a haven for family outing,

This is a Saw-tooth Great Wall, steep, 85 degree!

This is a Saw-tooth Great Wall, steep, 85 degree

After the saw-tooth wall, we continue to hike to a round and yellow tower.

we continue to hike to a round and yellow tower

We hike past the yellow tower built of loose slate.

We hike past the yellow tower built of loose slate

Before we hike down to the castle, we still have two towers to conquer. This section of the wall was built on the ancient wall constructed with slabs in Northern Qi Dyasty (550-577).

This section of the wall was built on the ancient wall constructed with slabs in Northern Qi Dyasty

This tower is known as Widow Tower, hand-built by 12 widows from Henan Province with the consolation money given by Qi Jiguan. All the widows’ husbands had given their lives fo the building of Huangyaguan Great Wall.

This tower is known as Widow Tower

We have just conquered the last two towers of Taipingzhai Great Wall and I look back with a satisfied heart.

We have just conquered the last two towers of Taipingzhai Great Wall

The east section of Huangyaguan Great Wall ends up at a steep mountain ridge which makes a wall unnecessary. Here we can clearly view the west section of Huangyaguan Great Wall with its castle down in the valley.

a steep mountain ridge which makes a wall unnecessary

We leave the wall and turn right on a make-shift mountain road down to the castle. Here we can have a clear picture of the castle or the fort of Huangyaguan Pass Great Wall. The castle is a city like Bagua Labyrinth with its east part as a five-arch water pass great wall.

a clear picture of the castle or the fort of Huangyaguan Pass Great Wall

On the way to the castle in the valley, we meet a great wall warden, picking litter and rubbish on the great wall.

we meet a great wall warden

Have a close look at the five arch water gate wall linked to the castle in the east. The castle has a circumference of 890 m in a shape of irregular nife.

a close look at the five arch water gate wall

Now we are on the water gate wall leading to the castle with the west section of Huangyanguan Great Wall looming overhead in a distance.

We walk down to the castle and take a pciture of the grand pass tower of Huangyaguan Pass.

the grand pass tower of Huangyaguan Pass

Any questions, just drop a line.

Xifengkou Great Wall

Thursday, April 19th, 2012
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At 5:30 am we’ve luckily caught the rising sun over Panjiakou Great Wall, and we are back to our farmhouse at the foot of Panjiakou Great Wall. The distant water area on the right side of the farmhouse, you are still able to see the wall submerged in water, the underwater great wall pass (Panjiakou Great Wall Pass ) which are viewed much clearly during the dry season.

Not far from and to the east of Panjiakou Great Wall Pass is another famous great wall pass, Xifengkou Great Wall Pass which is also submerged in the reservoir. After breakfast, we’ll explore Xifengkou Great Wall.

you are still able to see the wall submerged in water

On the right side of the farmhouse, you are still able to see the wall submerged in water

Now before breakfast, I walk around the small penisular since when we came her yeaterday night, it was quite dark and had no time to appreciate the views. This is the boat-turned restaurant which also has several rooms for travelers to stay overnight.

Last night we had dinner on the boat house and will have breakfast soon on the same place.

This is the boat-turned restaurant.

This is the boat-turned restaurant

The farmhouse host – Mr.Liu, an early riser, now he is tugging his speedboat to the shore. The underwater great wall pass is behind him, constituting a beautiful scene.

The underwater great wall pass is behind him

A cute dog and chickens live peacefully here at the foot of Panjiakou Great Wall.

The cute dog and chickens live peacefully here at the foot of Panjiakou Great Wall

Our simple breakfast include millet porridge, millet bread, tofu, steamed buns and salty eggs.

Our simple breakfast

After breakfast, we’ll take the speedboat to Xifengkou Great Wall. 

After breakfast, we’ll take the speedboat to Xifengkou Great Wall

Now we are saying goodbye to our hostess and her family member. They are very helpful and hospitable during our short stay.

Now we are saying goodbye to our hostess and her family member

We are leaving Panjiakou Great Wall and the farmhouse. With the speedboat going faster, the mountain and great wall become smaller.

We are leaving Panjiakou Great Wall and the farmhouse

This section of Xifengkou Great Wall was orginally built in the early years in Ming Dynaty (1368 – 1644) under the command of by General Xuda. Xinfengkou Great Pass was one of the 32 strategically imortant passes built on the Yanshan Mountain Ranges. It was successively repaired and rebuilt due to the numerous flights and battles in different dynasties.

Between March 09 and April 13, 1933, the Kuomintang’s 29th Army led by Song Zheyuan fought successfully against the Japanese invaders in and around Xifengkou Great Wall Pass. A few years again, the famous film maker and actor – Jiangwen shot a film titled “The Japanese Invaders are coming” and one of the scenes were selected here around Xifengkou Great Wall.

In 10 minutes, our speeboat takes us close to Xifungkou Great Wall with its pass city submerged under the reservoir. Xifengkou Great Wall is sectioned into two parts – north part (north of the pass city) and southeast part (south of the pass city). It is said that Xifengkou Pass was impregnable with a pass city built of three pass doors.

Xifengkou Great Wall with its pass city submerged under the reservoir. Now we are approaching a makeshift quay and clearly see a “Japanese” blockhouse high on a hillside with a huge placard written with the film name “The Japanese invaders are coming.” So the blockhouse is a used stage property, which has been well preserved as a magnet attracting domestic tourists.

a “Japanese” blockhouse high on a hillside

a Japanese blockhouse high on a hillside

Jumping from from our speedbaoat taking up a berth at a make-shift quay, we walk along a path leading up to the Xifengkou Great Wall. The courtyards and rooms are used stage properties by the film named “The Japanese Invaders are coming”.

The courtyards and rooms are used stage properties

We trudge up the hill and walk along a trodden path by the wall.

We trudge up the hill and walk along a trodden path by the wall.

We are on the wall starting from the third watch tower of its south section of Xifengkou Great Wall. From this angle, we clearly see the submerged pass city in the reservoir with its north and south (on our side) sections of Xifengkou Great Wall.

we clearly see the submerged pass city

we clearly see the submerged pass city

We walk past the third fort and turn back taking a picture of the tower sitting on an overgrown and crumbling wall winding up on the hillside.

taking a picture of the tower sitting on an overgrown and crumbling wall winding up on the hillside

 

On our left side below, we spot our speedboat docking at the simple pier at a bay and Panjiakou Reservoir looks a huge lake surrounded by mountains by all sides.

we spot our speedboat docking at the simple pier at a bay

We continue to walk on the trodden path teemed with bushes and sapplings on the wall top down to the second watch tower.

walk on the trodden path teemed with bushes and sapplings

Pass through the dilapidated fort and move on to the first tower on the south section of Xifengkou Great Wall. This fort is still preserved in a better shape than the previous two towers we have just walked through.

We are insidet the first tower on the south section of Xifengkou Great Wall.

We are insidet the first tower on the south section of Xifengkou Great Wall.

Again we walk through the first tower and step down to the most northern tip of the south section of Xifengkou Great Wall where it was once linked to the great wall pass city, but submerged in the reservoir.

step down to the most northern tip of the south section of Xifengkou Great Wall

The wall is disappearing into the water of Panjiakou Reservoir.
Again we are back to our speedboat and asks Mr.Liu our boat driver to come closer to the north section of Xifengkou Great Wall which is also disappearing into the water of Panjiakou Reservoir.

come closer to the north section of Xifengkou Great Wall

Now we are returning to Panjiakou Dam where our Buick Van is parked and finish our fam trip to Panjiakou Great Wall and Xifengkou Great Wall.

Now we are returning to Panjiakou Dam where our Buick Van is parked

Any questions, just drop a line.

Panjiakou Great Wall

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012
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After visting Baiyangyu Great Wall, we head to Panjiakou Great Wall, about 100km to the northeast of Baiyangyu Great Wall. We first take a 50km drive westward to Santunying Town, where we get off the New Sanwu Road and continue to drive 50km north towards Panjiakou Reservoir where the famous Panajiakou Underwater Great Wall is located.
 
Historically Sanyingtun was once the general garrison and commanding center of the important military Jizhen Town led by Qi Jiguang. Sanyingtun is only about 30km south of both Panjiakou Pass Great Wall and Xifengkou Pass Great Wall. In 1568, General Qi Jiguang stationed at Sanyingguan and commanded the safeguiding of the border are and the reinforcement of the Great Wall from Shanhaiguan Pass to Badaling Great Wall and Juyongguan Great Wall.
At sunset we reach the principal dam of Panjiakou Reservoir, the largest of this kind in Hebei Province. The dam is located in Qianxi County of Tangshan City in Hebei. The dam is 107.5m high and 1040m long. Panjiakou Reservoir has a capacity of 2,930,000,000 m3 and surface area of 67 km2. The main purpose of the reservoir is to provide water for the cities of Tianjin and Tangshan. The dam is also capable of flood control and its power plant has a capacity of 420 MW.

At sunset we reach the principal dam of Panjiakou Reservoir

 
The first stage construction of Panjiakou Reservoir started in 1971 and finishd in 1985. Then the second stage began in the same year of 1985 and completed in 1993. The Panjiakou Reservoir has submerged the town of Panjiakou and some sections of the Great Wall. The submerged sections of the wall went throught the pass and the part of the Wall on the low hills are also submerged. If during the drought season and the reservoir has less water, you will see the underwater Great Wall, which has become a tourist scene, attracting a great number of tourists and photographers.

Panjiakou Dam, 107.5m high and 1040m long

 
To snap the pictures of the Panjiakou Great Wall at sunrise, we decide to rent a speedboat to ferry us to the farmhouse at the foot of Panjiakou Great Wall for an overnight stay. An ex-farmer, Mr. Liu now owns a speedboat living on tourism centered on Panjikou Resevoir and Panjiaklou Great Wall.
 
Here comes the speedboat, we have to walk down a steep and long flight of steps to be on board. 

Here comes the speedboat

 
Mr.Liu says it only takes a few minutes to get to the farmhouse. He continues to say the total length of the watercourse of Panjiakou Reservoir is 70km! But only 10% of the watercourse is located within his county -Qianxi County in Tangshan City and the rest belongs to Chengde City in the same province – Hebei Province. Panjiakou Great Wall ( the section which we are going to visit ) is the dividing line between Qianxi County of Tangshan City and Chengde city.
 
Mr.Liu says it only takes a few minutes to get to the farmhouse. 

Mr.Liu says it only takes a few minutes to get to the farmhouse.

 
Before we put up in the farmhouse on a hill, we first have a local farm dinner in the boat turned restaurant by the shore.

we first have a local farmer dinner

 
The room is quite basic, but acceptable 

The room is quite basic, but acceptable

 
We set the alarm clock at 5:00 am and the sun is supposed to appear at 5:30am. A bad sleep with several wake-ups. At 5:0am we leave our bedroom and enter the coutyard outside. To our pleasant surprise, a round and bright moon hanging high in the sky over the mountains and reservoir.  

a round and bright moon hanging high in the sky over the mountains

 
We climb on the north section of Panjiakou Great Wall and the wall is dilapidated and overgrown. Standing on the first fort, I look at the farmhouse below. The Panjiankou Great Wall Pass is almost totally submerged. There are two farmhouses on the small peninsula protruding from the hill and the Great Wall at our feet. Some sections of the Wall are underwater.
 
The Panjiankou Great Wall Pass is almost totally submerged. 

The Panjiankou pass is alomost totally submerged

 
To get a better of the sunrise over the Panjiakou Great Wall, we continue to hike and stop at the third watch tower.
 
The rising sun is about to appear and it first lights up a large cloud in the sky.

The rising sun is about to appear and it first lights up a large cloud in the sky.

 
I zoom in for a close look at the rising sun half over the mountain line in the distance.

the rising sun half over the mountain line in the distance

 
Now the rising sun is above the skyline in the distance. 

The sun is just above the skyline.

 
The rising sun is becoming brighter and rising higher, like a fire ball over the mountain. 

The rising sun is becoming righter and rising higher

 
The fire ball is turning bigger and dazzling. 

The fire ball is turning bigger and dazzling.

 
The fire ball is disppearing, turning the sky golden and white and the morning is in!

The fire ball is disppearing, turning the sky white and the morning is in

 
The reservoir and the Great Wall turns golden and bright under the fresh sunshine. 

The reservoir and the Great Wall turns golden under the fresh sunshine.

 
Turn back and look at the Great Wall coated with golden sunlight, lonely and silently lying on the mountain.

Great Wall coated with golden sunlight

 
Satisfied with the mesmerising view of the sunrise over the reservoir and the Wall, we hike back to our farmhouse below.

we hike back to our farmhouse below

 
Any questions, just drop a line.