Archive for the ‘Great Wall Tours Review’ Category

How to Visit the Great Wall of China around Beijing?

Thursday, February 21st, 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 the Great Wall around Beijing. If anybody having used the piece finds necessary updates, please leave a message or feedback. Thanks!
__________________________________________________________________

Plan your Great Wall Tour? Needless to say, you will 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 Great Wall of China was supposed to have been built.

Actually the history tells us the Great Wall played no effective role in preventing the “barbarians”. Rarely 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 and provided numerous frontier areas for trades.

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 being  the longest –  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, but 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  officially administered 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, and 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: There are possibly dust storms in March. But things are getting better with the efforts put into the local environment management. 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 especially 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 ready for heat stroke prevention – sunglasses, sun cream,  sun block, hat, and water.  Summer is the rain season in Beijing and just bring waterproof in case. The weather in July and August is a bit muggy, so be well ready for your hiking in summer.

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 is impossible to hike only because the roads leading to the  sections of the Great Wall are blocked due to the heavy snow or other extreme weather. 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 during holidays.

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 due to 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 well-managed facilities like parking lots, guard rails, restaurants, toilets and more.

Within the officially managed sections of the Great Wall, the entrance fees are collected, police stations are set up and security guides are dotted along the 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, literally “Juyong Pass”(居庸关), is situated in a valley named “Guangou” as long 20 kilometers, which is within Changping District, about 50 kilometers north of downtown Beijing. It is one of the three most famous passes of Great Wall in China。

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 friendly , 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 Jiankou Great Wall to Mutinayu Great Wall.
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.

Jiankou Great Wall

Check out Hike from Gubeikou Great Wall to Jinshanling GreatWall.
Today’ Gubeikou Great Wall is only composed of two parts – Panlongshan Great Wall and Wohushan Great Wall. “Panlongshan” literally means “Coiled Dragon Mountain” while “Wohushan” literally means “Crouching Tiger Mountain”.

The two mountains faces each other with a valley in between from south to north, a strategic passage in the ancient times linking Inner Mongolia and Beijing. Now the valley has been turned into a fast developing Gubeikou Township under Miyun County of Beijing City.

Gubeikou Great Wall


Check out Simatai Great Wall.

There are totally 16 watch towers distributed on the Simatai Great Wall snaking the ridge of the steep mountain. The 13th-16th towers are forbidden to hike due to their steepness and treacherousness.

Simatai Great Wall


Check out Hike Across Shixiaguan GreatWall.

Shixiaguan Great Wall ( literally means “Stone Gorge Pass Great Wall”) is officially known as Ruined Badaling Great Wall. It is 5km southwest of the restored Badaling Great Wall,a western gate of the Badaling Defense Works.

Shixiaguan Great Wall


Check out Huanghuacheng Great Wall.

Huanghuacheng (literally meaning “Yellow Flower City”) Great Wall (黄花城), about 65 km north of downtown Beijing, is one of the most ruined sections of the wall in Beijing.

It has become popular with hikers in recent years. This section of the great wall is about 1000 meters long and connecting Juyongguan Pass Great Wall and Badaling Great Wall in the west and Jiankou Great Wall and Mutianuyu Great Wall in the east. Now it is a quite challenge to climb the wall since it is overgrown and treacherous.

Huanghuacheng Great Wall


Check out Jinshanling Great Wall

Jinshanling Great Wall (金山岭长城) is located about 130 km in the northeast of the downtown Beijing. To its east stands the Simatai Great Wall and the west stands Gubeikou Great Wall. Jinshangling Great Wall was named after the mountain called Jinshan Mountains. The Jinshanling Great Wall was first constructed built in the Ming Dynasty.

The famous general, Xu Da, of the early Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) supervised and directed the construction of the Great Wall. Later, Qi Jiguang led a number of defense works while guarding the north area in 1567.

Jinshanling 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:
06:00-12:00(Apr.1-Oct.31)
06:00-12:30 (Nov.1-Mar.31)

Return:
Badaling (八达岭)- Deshengmen (德胜门)
10:30-17:00(Apr.1-Oct.31)
11:00-16:30(Nov.1-Mar.31)
From: Deshengmen Bus Station

Note:
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

Badaling Great Wall Train Schedule
The S2 Train Timetable below is just for your reference and subject to possible changes. Note: The 7:58 train out of Beijing is quite crowded. One has to run to get a good seat.The return trip at 11:50 is mostly empty. In tourist high season, the trains fill up quite fast and once it is full, you will have to wait for the next train.

(A)Beijing Huangtudian Railway Station → Badaling Great Wall Train Schedule
(4 Daily Trains, 3 trains on Tue, Wed and Thu) and  4 trains on Fri, Sat and Sun )

Train S201: 06:30 – 07:37 ( Daily)
Train S205: 08:40 – 09:05 ( Tue, Wed and Thu )
Train S207: 09:06 – 10:15  ( Fri, Sat and Sun )
Train S209: 11:06– 12:13  ( Daily )
Train S211: 12:38– 14:01  ( Tue, Wed and Thu )
Train S213: 13:20 – 14:25 ( Fri, Sat and Sun )
Train S215: 13:44 – 14:50 ( Fri, Sat and Sun )
Train S217: 15:34 – 16:43 ( Daily )
Train S219: 17:09 – 18:30 ( Tue, Wed and Thu )
Train S221: 17:50 – 18:57 ( Fri, Sat and Sun )
Train S227 21:30 – 22:38 ( Tue, Wed and Thu )

(B)Badaling Great Wall → Beijing Huangtudian Ralway Station Train Timetable
(4 Daily Trains, 3 trains on Tue, Wed and Thu) and  4 trains on Fri, Sat and Sun )

Train S208: 08:26 – 09:41 ( Daily)
Train S210: 10:35 – 12:03 ( Tue, Wed and Thu )
Train S214: 11:38 – 13:10  ( Fri, Sat and Sun )
Train S216: 13:20 – 14:53  ( Daily)
Train S218: 14:45 – 16:31  ( Tue, Wed and Thu )
Train S220: 15:30 – 17:04 ( Fri, Sat and Sun )
Train S222: 16:05 – 17:40 ( Fri, Sat and Sun )
Train S224: 17:17 – 18:54 ( Daily)
Train S226: 19:18 – 20:47 ( Tue, Wed and Thu )
Train S228: 19:42 – 21:22 ( Fri, Sat and Sun )
Train S232: 21:18– 23:01 ( Daily)

Take the S Train from Beijing Huangtudian 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.  Check out Beijing Group Tour for more information.

Each morning, you will be picked you up from your midtown hotel, then you will go to visit 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 Great 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

Further Readings


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.

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

Wednesday, February 20th, 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 Badaling Great Wall by train. If anybody having used the piece finds necessary updates, please leave a message or feedback. Thanks!


Beijing North Railway Station has been closed for a three-year reconstruction program –  part of the overall construction of Beijing Zhangjiakou High Speed Railway in preparation for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games.

Now all the S2 trains ( going to Badaling Great Wall ), originally handled by Beijing North Railway Station,  have been moved to the newly renovated Huangtudian Railway Station (黄土店站) for the three-year transition.

So if you want to go to Badaling Great Wall by train, you should head to Huangtudian Railway Station which is located in Changping District, about 20 km north of Beijing’s city center.

How to get to Huangtudian Railway Station (黄土店站) ?
You can take Subway Line 13 or Subway Line 8 and get off at Huoying Station ( 霍营站) and exit from Exit G4.  The Exit G4 is only 110 meters to the northwest of Huangtudian Railway Station (黄土店站).  Enquiry Phone Number for Huangtudi Railway Station: 51869412.

Huoying Station ( 霍营站) is an interchange station on Line 8 and Line 13 of the Beijing Subway. You can easily take either subway line 13 or 8 from towntown Beijing ( or interchange from other subway lines ) to Huoying Station ( 霍营站) which is just next to Huangtudian Railway Station (黄土店站). The Exit G4 is only 110 meters to the northwest of Huangtudian Railway Station (黄土店站).

How to get from Beijing South Railway Station to Huangtudian Railway Station (黄土店站) ?
First you take the subway line 4 directly from within Beijing South Railway Station to the north direction and get off at the 9th station of Xizhimen (西直门) and then interchange for Subway Line 2 to the east direction, and get off at the second station of Guloudajie (鼓楼大街), then again interchange for subway line 8 to the north and get off at the 11th station of Huoying Station ( 霍营站) and exit from Exit G4. The Exit G4 is only 110 meters to the northwest of Huangtudian Railway Station (黄土店站).

How to get from Beijing Capital International Airport to Huangtudian Railway Station (黄土店站) ?
Come out of the exit hall at Beijing Capital Airport ( T 3 or T2 ), then take the airport express train (starting from the connected hall attached to the airport).  Buy your train ticket on the sport at the ticketing booth in the hall ( 25 yuan ).

You get off at the final station of Dongzhimen (东直门), then interchange for the subway line 13 going to the north ( buy your train ticket on the spot: 5 yuan ) and get off at the 7th station of Huoying ( 霍营). and exit from Exit G4.

See the Beijing Subway Map to hone your skill for facilitating your Beijing subway trip.

The trip report below sent by Nana who has successfully made it from the airport to the Badaling great wall on a 13 hr layover:

5:30 AM land at BCIA
5:40 enter 24 hr visa line
6:30 leave visa line, change money, walk to airport transfer express subway
6:55 subway arrives, 25 yuan
7:35 arrive at dongzhimen station, walk to line 13, buy ticket for 5 yuan
7:40 start new subway to huoying station
8:20 arrive, walk to exit g4, turn right and huangtudian railway is 150 ft away, just follow the signs for badaling
8:25-30 buy ticket for 7 yuan, board train, sit on the same side as the door you entered for best views
8:43 leave
9:55 arrived at the great wall badaling station
10:10 arrived at great wall, bought ticket for 35 yuan
11:50 made it to tower twelve
12:30 PM walked back by the street, arrived at train station
1:19 train leaves
2:50 arrived at huoying station
2:55 board subway to dongzhimen
3:20 stop in dongzhimen to eat dinner
4 board airport tram
4:35 arrive at airport
4:47 tram arrives at immigration
5:05 through security
6:55 flight leaves

Total cost 109 yuan for public transportation during low season.


S2 Trains:
These are suburban trains running from Beijing Huangtudian Railway Station to Badaling (Great Wall )八达岭 and Yanqing ( 延庆), known as “S2 Trains”. Train Tickets: RMB 6 per ride; if using “Yikatong” Transportation Card, RMB 5 per ticket.All the S2 train tickets are free seating.Like public buses, no advance train tickets booking.Just line up and buy the train tickets on the spot.In tourist high season,  the trains fill up quite fast.Once it is full, you have to wait for the next train.One way ticket only, if you want to buy a return ticket, you have to buy it from other side.”Yikatong” Transportation Card is definitely a smart way to pay for the train ride. Just swipe and go, and no need for lining up for buying your ticket!

Kindly Reminder:
You are advised to purchase a “Yikatong” Transportation Card ( One Pass for All Card), similar to Hong Kong’s Octopus card, Singapore’s EZ-Link, or the Oyster Card used by TfL in London in United Kingdom.”Yikatong” Transportation Card can be also used to pay for Beijing taxi, Beijing public buses, Beijing subway as well as S2 trains to Badaling Great Wall.

More about “Yikatong” card: People cannot share a Yikatong card. For a short stay in Beijing,  you may put 50 yuan ( including 20 yuan deposit ) into your Yikatong card. You may keep Yikatong as a souvenir or reimburse it at a ticketing booth when you leave Beijing.

If you don’t have enough time for returning your Yikatong, you may keep it for future use which basically will be never outdated. It is a transportation card without your identification. If you lose it, then it’s hard for you to reclaim it. Keep it well!

In tourist season, there is a limit to the daily ticket selling, but there is more leniency to transportation card holders – Just swipe and go !!

Beijing S2 Trains going between Huangtudian Railway Station and Badaling Railway Station.

Beijing S2 Trains

Inside the cars of the S 2 train.

Inside a car of the S train.

Inside a car of the S2 train.

Badaling Great Wall Train Schedule ( Subject to Change in winter season without Notice )
The S2 Train Timetable below is the one effective from April, 2018. If you find a newest one, please leave us a message for updating for the convenience of the new visitors.Enquiry land phone number for  Huangtudi Railway Station (Starting Station): 51869412.
Enquiry land phone number for Yanqing Railway Station ( Arriving Station): 51869221

Timetable 1

 

Timetable 2

—————————————————————————————

On the way, you can enjoy the total view of the Guan Valley Scenic Area, pass by Juyongguan Great Wall, and especially immersing yourself in the hundred-year-old Beijing-Zhangjiakou railway, first designed by Mr. Zhan Tianyou (1861 – 1919), the famous Chinese designer of the railway.

How to get from Badaling Train Station to the Ticketing Office at Badaling
After getting off the train at Badaling Station, just follow the throng and get out of the train station. Free shuttle buses just across the road are waiting for you, taking you to the ticketing offices at Badaling Great Wall.

Important Notice:
Badaling Railway Station to Badaling Great Wall: First Shuttle at 6:00 am and last at 4:00 pm
Badaling Great Wall to Badaling Railway Station: First Shuttle at 6:15 am and last at 4:15 pm

Getting off at Badaling Train Station

Getting off at Badaling Train Station

Free shuttle buses are waiting outside the train station just across the road, taking you to the ticketing offices.

Free shuttle buses are waiting outside the train station

Free shuttle buses are waiting outside the train station

 The free shuttle buses have two stops:
Stop 01:  Get off at the first stop and walk up the Badaling Great Wall at its No.01 Tower. If you want to avoid the crowds and like to hike up the Wall, you may stop at the Stop 01.

Stop 02:  Get off at the second stop near the Cable Car Station to buy cable ticket ( entrance fee as well ) and get up to the Tower No.07. Then walk down to No.01 Tower or No.12 Tower. Basically no need for a return cable car.

One of the most gorgeous and magnificent parts of the Great Wall around Beijing, Badaling Great Wall (八达岭长城) is the well preserved Ming Dynasty Great Wall with original appearance.

Now it is divided into two sections – north and south, which start at the Badaling Pass and Gate. Most tourists prefer to climb the north section where the highest watch tower (Tower No.08) is located.

Also the cableway is available on the north section. Many people choose to climb up the north section of the Great Wall, then take the cable car down or vice versa.

The cable car goes up to somewhere below between Tower No.08 and No.09. So when you take cable car up, you will see large crowds of people. So we recommend you hike from Tower 01 and back instead of taking cable car.

Badaling Great Wall

Badaling Great Wall

To hike up the north section of the Badaling Great Wall, you have two starting points – either from the Badaling Pass or the Badaling Bear Park.

Why two starting points? Actually the north Badaling Great Wall ( totally 12 towers on the wall ) has two parallel sections meeting at the most northern tip – the 8th Watch Tower ( a curve ) of the Badaling Great Wall.

There are totally 12 towers on the northern Badaling Great Wall. So you ether start at Tower No.01 starting from Badaling Pass or Tower No.12 from Badaling Bear Park.

Badaling Great Wall

Badaling Great Wall

We often call the two north parallel sections “front mountain” and “back mountain” respectively. The “front mountain” ( from Tower No.01 to Tower No.08 ) is to the north of the “back mountain” ( from Tower No.08 to Tower No.12 ).

If you want to climb up the north “front mountain” Badaling Great Wall, you start from the Badaling Pass; if you climb up the north “back mountain” Badaling Great Wall, you start from the Badaling Bear Park.

Most passengers prefer to hike the northern slope of Badaling Great Wall simple because the north part is more scenic and convenient with cable car and slide services in between. But still some people like to hike the southern slope to avoid the crowds for better photo opportunities. If you hike the southern slope, you have to backtrack.

Ticket Price: RMB40 (Nov. 1 to Mar. 31); RMB 45 (Apr. 1 to Oct. 31)
Cable Car: RMB80 (single trip); RMB100 (round trip)
Toboggan: RMB30 (single trip);
Opening Hours:06:30-19:00 (in summer); 07:00-18:00 (in winter)
Hiking Time: Two Hours
Bus Route: Take Bus No.877 or No. 919 at Deshengmen, RMB12 for ticket.
S Train: Take S train from Beijing North Railway Station and get off at the station of Badaling.

Travel Tips:
1. No advance ticket booking service for this train route. You have to buy tickets on the spot. No need for ID for ticket purchasing.

2. For coming back, get to the station and get in the “queue” early. When the train arrives, there’s an almighty (but highly amusing) stampede through the double doors to get out onto the platform and onto the train (which instantly fills up).

3. You can use Beijing Transportation smart card for travelling S2 train from Beijing Huangtudian Railway station to Badaling great wall. So If you have a transportation card, you don’t have to wait in line for buying a ticket. Just put your card on a reader and go. The S Train is unnumbered, free seating.

4. Alternatively, you can also take Badaling Bus 877  at Deshengmen to Badaling Great Wall, then take train back to Beijing. To get to the Badaling Bus 877, you are advised to take the subway and get off at Jishuitan Stop (积水潭). Then you walk all the way to Deshengmen (德胜门),  which is a whole block east of the  Jishuitan Subway Exit A (over 15-minute walk in the east direction).

5. And don’t forget to haggle if buying a souvenir at the shops near the wall’s entrance (those 180Yuan tshirts are happily sold for far less than their displayed price).

6. Kindly reminder: there may be allegedly “official tourist information volunteers” with red badges on, who will try to drive tourists to get on their minibuses with all sorts of excuses to lure you on. Just don’t go for it. Otherwise, you will be on a nightmare trip.

7. Hassle-free Badaling 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 Badaling Great wall.

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

Further Readings


Badaling Great Wall Tourist Map
Tips for Visiting the Great Wall of China around Beijing
How to Visit Mutianyu Great Wall by Bus
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 line.

How to Visit Jiankou Great Wall

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019
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When you are planning Beijing Tour, an excursion to one of the sections of the Great Wall will be definitely on your agenda. Mutianyu Great Wall is listed as the No.01 attraction in Beijing according to the recommendations by Beijing Tripadvisor Community. But nowadays the temptation is increasing to visit its west neighboring section of the Great Wall known as Jiankou Great Wall due to its wildness, originality and its state of unrestoredness.

Jiankou Great Wall is about 20km long starting from the 23rd Tower of Mutianyu Great Wall to Beijing Knot, the most northwestern tower of Jiankou Great Wall. There are some interesting names given to some dangerous or unique sites along  Jiankou Great Wall.

From its east to west, we just name some of these interesting places on the Wall – Ox Horn Edge,  Jiankou (Arrow Nock ), Sky Ladder, Upward Flying Eagle Tower, Beijing Knot and 9-Eye Tower. We’ll explain all these intriguing names later.

The 20km long Jiankou Great Wall runs generally in a form of “W”, like a bow fully stretched, and the lowest point is know as Arrow Nock ( “Jiankou” in Chinese), hence the name of Jiankou Great Wall. So when we are talking about Jiankou Great Wall, we either refer to the wall itself or the particularly low point of the Wall where it is often used as the starting point for the wall hiking.

Then, how to get to Jiankou Great Wall? How to visit Jiankou Great Wall? What’s the hiking level and am I fit for the hike? Questions like these are often tantalizing people. Lets’ go step by step to answer all these questions.

1. How to Get to Jiankou Great Wall
Generally there are three most used ways of getting up to the Wall: 1) Hiking up from Xizhazi Village (西栅子村) on the north hillside of the Wall 2) Scrambling up from Wofo Mountain Villa (卧佛山庄) on the south  hillside of the Wall 3) Walking from the 23rd Tower on the west of the Mutianyu Great Wall.

So you have three starting points – Xizhazi Village, Wofo Mountain Villa and Mutianyu Great Wall. Which starting point to choose? If you are in a process of Mutianyu Great Wall hike, and at the same time you’d like to have a glimpse of Jiankou Great Wall,  you may choose to walk from the western tip ( the 23rd tower) of Mutianyu Great Wall and then walk on the wild apart of Jiankou Great Wall; if you want to save your energy on the hillside climbing and put your energy on the wall hike itself, you’d better choose to start from Xizhazi Village since the walk from Xizhazi Village to the Arrow Nock (Jiankou) only takes about half hour while scrambling up from Wofo Mountain Villa takes 1.5 – 2 hours.

Look at the Jiankou Tourist Map  below for a clear picture of the Wall.

Jiankou Great Wall

Jiankou Great Wall

Though the mountain climbing from Wofo Mountain Villa up to the Arrow Nock (Jiankou) – the lower part of Jiankou Great Wall, there

are still many travelers use this passage to reach Jiankou Great Wall either because Wofo Mountain Villa has better food service and accommodation facilities since it is a holiday resort and also because hiring a van from Huairou District to Wofo Mountain Village is cheaper than to Xizhazi Village. Wofo Mountain Villa is not far from the entrance to Mutianyu Great Wall,and can be reached by hiring a van from the downtown Huairou District ( about 30 yuan per person).

We recommend you go to Xizhazi Village to start your one day or 2 day Jiankou Great Walk hike.

2. How to Get to Xizhazi Village (西栅子村)
Xizhazi Village is located on the foot of the north hillside of Jiankou Great Wall. The village is administrated by Badaohe Township, 30km northwest of Huairou District and Huairou District is about 70 km north of Beijing city center.

To enter the village, you need to purchase an entry ticket of 20 yuan, and the ticket is not for visiting the village nor Jiankou Great Wall since Jiankou Great Wall is free of charge as it is a wild section. The 20 yuan entrance fee is paid for Heituoshan Scenic Area which is situated in the village. Heituoshan is the second highest peak in Huairou District, just 4 km north of Xizhazi Village facing Jiankou Great Wall to its south.

Xizhazi Village has become a base for Jiankou Great Wall enthusiasts. They eat and stay here. One family in the village with the surname of “Zhao” (赵) is most popular with hikers and photographers who amiably nickname their farm courtyard as “A Photographers’ Home”. They kindly call the host of the family as “Lao Zhao” ( old Zhao ). If you are going to have a 2-day Jiankou hike tour,  you may stay here in Zhao’s home by calling him in advance – 61611762.

Zhao’s Home in Xizhazi Village

Zhao’s Home in Xizhazi Village

That said,  how to get to the village? Early in the morning at 7:00 am, you take the bus 919 or 936 from Dongzhimen Transportation Hub to downtown Huairou District where you share a van ( 40 – 60 yuan per person ) for Xizhazi Village ( or Heituoshan Scenic Area ) – 西栅子村(黑坨山风景区).

3. How to Visit Jiankou Great Wall in One Day
Jiankou Great Wall, especially the west 10 km part of the Wall is dangerous and treacherous. For many international tourists,  not well prepared with hiking gear, we only suggest to hike the east part of the wall, comparatively mild and secure.  The current Jiankou – Mutianyu Great Wall hike day tour is most sought after and very popular among international travelers.

Xizhazi Village has 6 natural sub-villages (or Teams).  If you are going to walk from Jiankou Great Wall to Mutianyu Great Wall, you will start from the No.02 Team  also known as Nanjili Village. Let your driver drop you off at the Nanjili Village of Xizhazi Village (西栅子村南吉利).

The most difficult part of the hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu is the scramble from the No.02 Team of Xizhazi Village (615m sea level) up to Zhengbeilou Tower ( 975m sea level). This one hour uphill climb is done along steep bushy mountain path in a beautiful pine forest. Very often you have to have your hands on rocks, roots, and bushes for balance.

Zhengbeilou Tower ( 975m sea level)

Zhengbeilou Tower ( 975m sea level)

Zhengbeilou Tower is most visited by Jiankou hikers, a starting point for the walk eastwards Mutianyu. Standing on Zhengbei Tower, have a look at the Upward Flying Eagle Tower, Sky Ladder on the west. On the northeast, you will clearly see the Upturn “U” Wall – the Ox Horn Edge Wall. If you don’t have strong legs,  you may take a short cut to circumvent it.

It is a scenic walk from Zhengbeilou to the 23th tower of Mutianyu Great Wall. Steep slopes with loose bricks and stones also add the difficulty of your climbing the Ox Horn Edge Wall up and down. So just skip the the Ox Horn Edge Wall by walking a short cut along a dirt path below the wall instead of hiking uphill along the crumbling steep brickwork.

The rest of the hike is relatviely manageable though you still have to walk through the crumbling brickwork with many soil-grown obstacles, the totally unrestored section of the Wall. Walking up and down, wists and turns. In 2 hours, you will reach the 23th watch tower, the final restored tower on Mutianyu Great Wall.

Mutianyu Great Wall is a restored wall with 23 watch towers snaking along the ridge from the first watch tower in the east up to the final tower (23th tower) in the west,which is linked to Jiankou Great Wall on its west.

If you feel tired after walking directly from Zhengbeilou Tower, you may take a cable car down to the hill from the cable car station below the 14th Watch Tower at Mutianyu Great Wall. If you have strong legs, you may walk downhill from the 10 or 8th watch tower, or you may walk to the 6th tower where you are able either to take a cable car or toboggan downhill. Cable car: RMB60. At the time of my writing, no need to buy the entrance ticket for Mutianyu Great Wall if you walk from Jiankou Great Wall.

4. How to Visit Jiankou Great Wall in 2 Days
Two-day Jiankou Great Wall hikers are either seasoned travelers or adventure-takers. They both come here, well prepared or fully armed, for the most dangerous part of the wall – the 10 km Beijing Knot to Arrow Nock (Jiankou) part of Jiankou Great Wall. Many of them would choose to stay overnight at Zhao’s home ( Tel:61611762;Host: Mr. Zhao Fuqing) in the Team 5 ( or Jiushuikeng Sub-Village ) of Xizhaizi Village ( 西栅子村旧水坑).

Day One: Xizhazi Village  – Jiankou (Arrow Nock) – Sky Ladder – Upward Flying Eagle Tower – Xizhazi Village

Get up early and take the bus 919 to Hairou where share a van for Xizhazi Village. Ask your driver to drop you off at Team 5 ( or Jiushuikeng ) of Zizhazi Village. Take a short break at Zhao’s Family Home, and start your first day hike to Jiankou.

Up to the Upward Flying Eagle Tower

Up to the Upward Flying Eagle Tower

First have a less than one hour’s walk from Zhao’s home to the low part of the wall – Jiankou ( Arrow Nock), then start the hike from Jiankou (Arrow Nock ) west to the Sky Ladder ( See the map above). The Sky Ladder is difficult to climb, narrow just for one person to pass with a slope of 70-80 degrees.

Climb over the Sky Ladder,  you continue west and you will conquer the most difficult part – the Upward Flying Eagle Tower. As the name suggests, the tower is the highest point along Jiankou Great Wall, even hard for an eagle to fly over. Take great care since the tower is built on the tip of the mountaintop,  crumbling and treacherous, you need to take great care! .  After climbing over the tower, choose a short cut back to Xizhazi Village.

the Sky Ladder

the Sky Ladder

Day Two: Xizhazi Village – Beijing Knot – Xizhazi Village

Today you will start up for Beijing Know from Xizhazi Village. Beijing Knot is the most northwest tower along Jiankou Great Wall, high above the mountain. Actually three sections of the wall intersect here at the tower, hence the name of Beijing Knot – one goes to the 9-Eye Tower of the Great Wall running further to the north; the second going west to Huanghuacheng Great Wall and Jiankou itself on the east.

Beijing Knot

Beijing Knot

Alternatively, today you may choose to hike from Jiankou Great Wall to Mutianyu Great Wall.

5. Personal Equipment
1. Good shoe wear and thick socks
2. Sticks
3. Cap, sun-glasses, sunscreen
4. Bottles of water, snacks, pocket knife
5. Lip balm and first aid kit
6. Mobile
7. Carry bottles of water in your travel bags.
8. Wear pants and long-sleeves even in summer to hike through jungles and bushes.
9. Toilet paper.

6. Important Tips and Notice
1. Leave nothing but prints, take nothing but photos
2. Avoid bad or extrem weathers: rain, storm, lightening and foggy days.
3. Use a local tour guide or a local villager as your guide. Don’t recommend solo travel.
4. Take great care since some walls are crumbling and treacherous.

Add on
Jiankou Great Wall Map
Jiankou Great Wall
Hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall

06611Tip:  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:

Hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall Day Tour from US$ 75

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


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.