Tips for Visiting the Great Wall of China around Beijing

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Plan your Great Wall Tour? Needless to say, you must visit the Great Wall of China on your first trip to Beijing China. So, when to visit, which sections of Great Wall to visit and how to visit?

The Great Wall of China was built mainly during the three dynasties – Qin Dynasty (221 B.C to 206 B.C), Han Dynasty (206 B.C.– 220 A.D ) and Ming Dynasty (1368 A.D – 1644 A.D). The most powerful Yuan Dynasty and the last Dynasty – Qing Dynasty did nothing about the building of the Wall since they were “barbarians” against whom the Gret Wall of China was supposed to have been built.

Actually the history tells us the Great Wall played no role in preventing the “barbarians”. Never did the Wall stop any invasions, large or small. But the Great Wall did do many things: it proclaimed the frontier, it employed the thousands, it prevented defections, it displayed the mighty of the emperor.

The Great Wall is not an “it” as you think. It is a “them”, walls in the plural, and they do not form a continuous line. They are in bits, built in different dynasties. Those “bits” of the Great Wall snake across the northern China stretching from Shanhaiguan Pass in the east  to Jiayuguan Pass in the west, totaling 21196 km long with the Great Wall built in Ming Dynasty as long as 8851 km.

Beijing is a good place to visit the “sections” of the Great Wall built in Ming Dynasty. Most of the “sections” of the Great Wall open to tourists here are tamed and reconstructed for the safety of travelers. But still there remain many wild ones (original and unrestored) – crumbling, overgrown and barred to walkers, attracting adventure hikers.

Here are some tips for planning ahead your visit to Great Wall of China around Beijing:

Tip # 01: The best time to hike the Great Wall of China
In Beijing, all the sections of the Great Wall are open to tourists all year round. The ideal months for the Great Wall hike fall on spring, early summer, autumn: later March, April, May, June, September, October and early November.

Great Wall Hike in Spring (March 15 to May 15)
Each year, March 15th is the official day of turning off the heating system in Beijing. This special date indicates the dry, harsh cold of Beijing’s winter is coming to an end though Beijingers will still have some chilly days in March.

A warmer spring usually starts early April and ends early May. So a warm springtime in Beijing lasts over one month. Kindly reminder: Wind and dust can be possible in the March. Generally speaking, Beijing is dry and windy in spring.

Spring is a delightful time to visit the Great Wall – mild climate, green trees and flowers. But if you hike the Great Wall, you still feel chilly and a bit cold in March, wearing jackets in the morning and evening due to the big temperature drop between day and night.

Visiting Great Wall in Summer (May 15 to September 15)
If you happen to visit the Wall in summer – later June, July and August, be prepared for heat stroke prevention – sunglasses, sun cream,  sun block, hat, water.  Summer is the rain season in Beijing and bring waterproof in case.

You will expect a long queue, waiting to buy entrance tickets for the Great Wall mainly due to the large number of domestic tourists because of school vacations in July and August.

Hike Great Wall in Autumn (September 05 to November 15)
The foggy and cloudy days in Beijing’s oppressive summer are leaving us, coming with Beijing’s cooling autumn, with a blue sky, comfortable sunshine and the colorful leaves in and around Beijing.

Beijing autumn, specifically the two months from the mid-September to mid-November are the best season to visit Great Wall in a year. It’s always comfortably cool outside.

The best period autumn colors starts from October 15 throughout November 15 in Beijing with many trees changing theirs colors with charming autumn hues. Snap pictures or just take in a feast for the eyes!

Fairly big difference in temperature between early morning and afternoon. Wear a thin  jacket, or a warm coat in the morning, long-sleeve shirts or short T-shirts in the afternoon. So be mindful of the temperature difference in Autumn. comfortable sport shoes, rubber soled shoes for hiking. In afternoon, sometimes the autumn sunlight could be very strong, get ready for sunglasses, sun cream and sun hat.

Visit Great Wall in Winter  (November 15 to March 15)
Winter Great Wall Hike is a bit challenging mainly due to the frozen weather in later December, January and early February each year in Beijing. You are advised to dress warmly – winter hat with ear flap, ear warmers, gloves, scarf, warm jackets and their winter accessories.

The Great Wall hike is impossible to hike only because the road access to sections is blocked due to the heavy snow. If you plan to do the hike in winter, we do suggest you check the weather report.  Check out  How to dress for visiting Great Wall in winter.

Tip # 02: Avoid weekends or public holidays for the Wall
It is better to hike the Wall during the weekdays instead of weekends. Strongly advise you not to visit the Wall during China public holidays ( Especially May 1-3, and October 1-7).

Crowds at Badaling Great Wall

Crowds at Badaling Great Wall

On these special days you will waste much of your valuable time on the way from your hotel to the Wall. On the Wall, you have to take group photos since there are a great number of people on the Wall.

Tip # 03: Select the right bit of the Wall (Great Wall Guide)
There are  8 major sections of the Great Wall around Beijing. 7 of the 8 sections of the Wall are legally open to tourists home and abroad.”legally open” means these sections of the Wall are tamed, repaired and controlled by a local Great Wall administration bureau with facilities like parking lots, guard rails, restaurants, toilets and more.

Within its administration, the entrance fees are collected, a police station is set up and security guides are dotted along Wall. These “legal” sections of the Wall are Juyongguan, Badaling, Mutianyu, Jinshanling, Gubeikou, Huanghuacheng ( certain sections opened) and Simatai. Jiankou is not open to common tourists due to their wildness and treacherousness. Below are the tips for choosing the right bit of the Wall you most like:

1) If you don’t have much time, but you still want to have a glimpse of the Wall, especially on a busy day, choose Juyongguan Great Wall.

Juyongguan Grea tWall

Juyongguan Great Wall

2) If you want to see the most popular and gorgeous restored section of the Wall in Beijing, go to Badaling Great Wall.  Badaling is also wheelchair freindly , accessible by the handicapped.

Badaling Great Wall

Badaling Great Wall

3) If you want to visit the Wall with beautiful green scenery and environment ( travel with kids or seniors), less crowded, then visit Mutianyu Great Wall.

Mutianyu Great Wall

Mutianyu Great Wall

 4) If you want to hike the wild and original sections of the Wall (half restored or unrestored), go to visit Shixiagan Great Wall, Jiankou Great WallJinshanling Great Wall, Gubeikou Great WallHuanghuacheng Great Wall and Simatai Great Wall  or put them together. Check out  Hike from Jinshanling Great Wall to West Simatai Great Wall.


Jinshanling Great Wall

Jinshanling Great Wall

Check out  Hike from Gubeikou Great Wall to Jinshanling Great Wall.

The wild and orignal section of Gubeikou Great Wall

Check out  Hike Huanghuacheng Great Wall

Huanghuacheng Great Wall

Huanghuacheng Great Wall


Check out  Hike across Shixiaguan Great Wall.
Shixiaguan Great Wall

Shixiaguan Great Wall

5) Jiankou Great  Wall is forbidden to hike according to the official rule and regulations concerned. Hikers are responsible for their own safety while hiking Jiankou Great Wall. Check out Walk from Jiankou Great Wall to Mutianyu Great Wall.
Jiankou Great Wall

Jiankou Great Wall

Tip # 04: Choose the right transportation to get to the Great Wall

How to Get to Badaling Great Wall
1)Take Badaling Great Wall Bus No.877 (Bus Fare: RMB 12)

Deshengmen (德胜门)- Badaling (八达岭)
Operating Hours:
06:00-12:30 (Nov.1-Mar.31)

Badaling (八达岭)- Deshengmen (德胜门)
From: Deshengmen Bus Station

Bus 919 has two kinds of bus lines: 919 express (919快) and 919 slow (919慢) with their final destinations being Yanqing County. Bus 919 will stop at the Badaling Great Wall ( the drop-off stop is a bit far from the ticketing office). You are still advised to take 877, the special bus for Badaling Great Wall tourists. By the way, there is a bit chaos around Deshengmen Bus Station with some touts pushing you to take theirs vehicles or group. Just forget it and insist on taking the official Bus 877. Have a good day!

2. Go to Badaling Great Wall by Train
Take the S Train from Beijing North Railway Station to Badaling Great Wall
Check: how to visit Badaling Great Wall by train

Beijing North Railway  Station →  Badaling Great Wall Train Schedule
Train S201: 06:12 – 07:31
Train S203: 07:58 – 09:20
Train S205: 08:34 – 09: 47
Train S207: 09:02 – 10:15
Train S209: 10:57 – 12:13
Train S211: 12:42 – 14:01
Train S213: 13:14 – 14:25
Train S215: 13:35 – 14:50
Train S217: 15:24 – 16:43
Train S219: 17:11 – 18:30
Train S221: 17:41 – 18:51
Train S227: 21:28 – 22:44

Badaling Great Wall →  Beijing North Ralway Station Train Timetable
Train S208: 08:23 – 09:47
Train S210: 10:51 – 12:12
Train S212: 11:19 – 12:40
Train S214: 11:50 – 13:12
Train S216: 13:02 – 14:23
Train S218: 15:19 – 16:43
Train S220: 15:52 – 17:25
Train S222: 16:21 – 17:39
Train S224: 17:33 – 18:54
Train S226: 19:34 – 21:11
Train S228: 20:06 – 21:43
Train S232: 21:33 – 23:03

Take the S Train from Beijing North Railway Station to Badaling

From: Dongzhimen Public Transport Hub (东直门交通枢纽)

To:Mutianyu Great Wall 慕田峪长城

Check out ” How to Get to Mutianyu Great Wall by Public Bus” for more information.

Important Notice: The final destination of the Bus 916 Express is actually Huairou Beidajie (怀柔北大街)in Huairou District, then you have to change for the local bus H23 or 24 (Huairou – Dongtai 怀柔至洞台), continue to take the bus for another 18.6km, pass 8 stops and get off at Mutianyu Great Wall finally.

Bus 916 Express (916快)Fare: RMB 12
Bus H23, or 24 Fare: RMB 5
Bus Operation Time: 6:00-17:00 ( every 20 minutes )
From: Dongzhimen Public Transport Hub (东直门交通枢纽)

Bus No. 980 Express (980快) To: Destination: Jinshanling Great Wall 金山岭长城.
Very Important Notice: Actually the Bus 980 Express stops at Miyun County ( 密云汽车站 ), and then you take a mini bus from the downtown Miyun to Jinshanling.

Bus Fare: RMB 15

Minibus Fare: about RMB 50 ( you have to share a mini-bus for Jinshanling Great Wall)

Take a taxi to the Great Wall
You can also charter a taxi for day trips to the Great Wall. The drive ranges from 1.5 hour to 2.5 hours from the city center according to the different sections of the Great Wall.

Below are the approximate taxi fares to the different sections of the Great Wall with waiting for about 2-3 hours while touring the wall:

Beijing Mutianyu Great Wall: 85km – RMB 600
Beijing Badaling Great Wall: 80km – RMB 500
Beijing Simatai Great Wall: 140km – RMB 700
Beijing Juyongguan Great Wall: 60km – RMB 400
Beijing Jinshanling Great Wall: 160km RMB 800
Beijing Gubeikou Great Wall: 150km – RMB 750
Beijing Jiankou Great Wall: 85km – RMB 650
Beijing Huanghuacheng Great Wall 85km – RMB 600

Tip # 05: Book a Great Wall Bus Tour
Don’t want to make the do-it-yourself route? No worries, you can easily book Great Wall Bus Tour (daily group tours) through your hotel or local tour operators.

Each morning, you will be picked you up from your midtown hotel, then you will go to visit the the Wall together with other tourists.

Groups are kept to about 10 passengers in a comfortable modern 22-seat coach with professional Beijing chauffeurs and English speaking tour guide.

Tip # 06 Stay near the Wall
If you want to stay one night or more near the Wall, below are some of the inns and hotels for your consideration:

Juyongguan Great Wall Hotel
the Cummune by the Great Wall
Huanghuacheng Fuwang Courtyard Farmhouse
the Schoolhouse by the Mutianyu Great Wall
Jinshanling Hote
Simatai Great Wall Courtyard Hotel
the Chateau Changyu AFIP Global Beijing

Tip # 07 Tips for Wheelchair users (Beijing Disability Travel)
Both Badaling Great Wall and Mutianyu Great Wall have accessible ramp paths.  On the Badaling Great Wall, a special flat lane is built for wheelchair users to get to the third watch tower of the Great Wall. Even two elevators are equipped for easy ascending the wall if you book the elevator service in advance.

Badaling Great Wall has the upper hand over Mutianyu Great Wall with its gentle ramp leading to the first watch tower of the Great Wall.

The gentle ramp leads to the Badaling Great Wall.

The gentle ramp leads to the Badaling Great Wall.

Check out “The Most Wheelchair-Friendly Great Wall to Visit” for more tips for accessible Great Wall of China.

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.

The accessible paths in Mutianyu Great wall are too steep, not wheelchair user-friendly!
The accessible lane from the upper cable car station to the platform below the 14th watch tower on Mutianyu Great Wall.

The steep ramp at Mutianyu Great Wall

The steep ramp at Mutianyu Great Wall

The accessible platform for wheelchair users below the 14th watch tower on Mutianyu Great Wall.

Tip # 08 Tips for Experienced Travelers
you may choose half restored or wild sections of the Wall. But you have to be responsible for your own safety.

Travel Notes for wild great wall hiking:
1. Things to take: sports shoes or hiking boots, sticks, cap, sun-glasses, sunscreen, bottles of water, snacks, pocket knife, lip balm and first aid kit.
2. Using toilets at the entrance of the Wall. No toilets on the hiking route. Please always carry toilet paper by yourself.
3. Wearing pants and long-sleeves even in summer to hike through jungles and bushes.
4. You are responsible for your travel insurance for your coverage of injury or accident.
5 Be a green and responsible hiker, taking nothing but photos and leaving nothing but footprint.

Tip # 09 Hassle-free Great Wall Guided Tours
Don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route? No worries, We at Tour Beijing have some options for guided tours to Great wall Tours:

Mutianyu Great Wall Group Day Tour
Mutianyu Great Wall Half  Day Private Tour
Hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall Tour
Hike from Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall Tour
Hike from Jinshanling to Simatai Great Wall West Tour
Badaling Great Wall + Mutianyu Great Wall Day Tour
Badaling Great Wall and Underground Palace Day Tour
Badaling Great Wall + Forbidden City + Tiananmen Square Day Tour

Add on:
Visit Badaling Great Wall by Train
Visit Mutianyu Great Wall by Bus

Any questions, just drop a line.

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213 Responses to “Tips for Visiting the Great Wall of China around Beijing”

  1. Beijing Tour says:

    Hi Ramanan,

    Basically it is impossible to visit the two sections of the Wall using the public transport from Beijing airport and back to the airport within half a day.

    Your request has been sent to our service center. One of our staff members will contact you later today with quotations for private transfer, or plus English speaking guide service.

    Have a good time in Beijing!

  2. Giota says:


    I will have a 19 hour stopover in Beijing on 25 September (Sunday) and I can get a 72 hour visa. I’ll arrive at 5 am and leave at 1 am (26 September). Do you think it is enough time to visit the Great Wall? My budget is limited since I’m a student, so what trAnsport is the best/easiest if I start at airport and what’s the price for it? I want to be back at the airport at 9 pm, so I don’t miss my flight.

    Thank you for your help!

  3. Beijing Tour says:

    Hi Giota,

    You first take the Beijing airport express train and get off at the final station of Dongzhimen ( 东直门), then interchange for subway line 2 and get off at the station of Xizhimen (西直门) and exit from Exit A, then you will see Beijing North Railway Station. You take the S strain from Beijing North Railway Station to Badaling Great Wall. Retrace on the same route when you finish your visit to Badaling Great Wall.

    See the link below to know more information on how to visit Great Wall of China by train:

  4. Kelli says:

    I am a study abroad student at Chongqing University. There is a group of 13 of us (or less) trying to make a trip to the great wall between July 1st and 4th. A few locals have told us not to try it. Can it work?

  5. Daniel says:

    Hi Kelli,

    Welcome to Beijing!

    Why not to try it? Because it is too hot in summer? It is a great fun to hike the Great Wall of China. You are suggested to hike Mutiianyu Great Wall, beautiful view and less crowded.

    1. You can book a local group tour ( no shopping ) listed as below:

    2. Alternatively you can go the do-it-yourself route by taking local public buses ( see below ):

    Have a good time in China!

  6. Jorge says:


    I” have a saturday morning free in beijing, is it possible to see the great wall and be back in beijing at 1400 ?


  7. Daniel says:

    Hi Jorge,

    It depends on the way of how you get to the Great Wall and which section of the Wall you are going to visit.

    1. Hire a private car
    If you are going to hire a car, you can save much time on the route and you can make it. Suggest you visit Mutianyu Great Wall if you are going to rent a car.

    2. If you are going to use public transport, you may choose to visit Badaling Great Wall by S Train or by Bus.

    Get to Badaling Great Wall by S Train

    Get to Badling Great Wall by bus

    If you can catch the first train or bus, you can make it.

    Have a good time in Beijing!

  8. natalie says:

    what is the entrance fee for the great wall?

  9. Daniel says:

    Hi Natalie,

    Basically it costs RMB 45.

  10. Lokesh says:


    I want to take my parents to Great Wall. They need wheelchair and assistance. does your company provide half a day tour to Great Wall Badaling section ? Can you share the price for visit and Wheelchair?

    thank you.

  11. Daniel says:

    Hi Lokesh,

    Thanks for your inquiry! One our staff members will contact for the details. Much appreciated for your patience!

  12. cristine says:

    Hi ,
    can you suggest me for the best transportation to ride from my hotel beijing sicli hotel in 12 Zuo’anmen Inner St, Dongcheng, Beijing, China going to Badaling Great wall with (roundtrip cable car) ?and how much the total cost for roundtrip cable car and entrance fee ?first time to travel in china.thank you so much

  13. Daniel says:

    Hi Cristine,

    Please read the two blogs about how to vist Badaling Great Wall for more information:

    1. How to Visit Great Wall of China by Train – Badaling Great Wall

    2. Badaling Great Wall Bus 877

    How to Visit Great Wall of China by Train – Badaling Great Wall

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