Archive for the ‘Great Wall Tours Review’ Category

Wangquanyu Great Wall

Wednesday, August 1st, 2018
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Wangquanyu Great Wall lies to the west of Beijing Knot at Jiankou Great Wall and east of  Lvanling Great Wall.  Wangquanyu Great Wall is named after the the village with the same name – Wangquanyu Village at the Wangquanyu Valley.

Wangquan Village is situated about 90km to the north of downtown Beijing. To get  to Wangquan Village, you first drive along Jingcheng Expressway and get off at Huairou District. Then continue to drive along the mountain path between Mutianyu Great Wall and Ming Tombs.  Seeing a signboard pointing to Wangquanyu (旺泉峪) or Xiangshuihu(响水湖), turn right to the north direction, and soon you will reach Wangquanyu Village.

Wangquanyu Great Wall is a wild and unrestored, not long, only 2 km with 8 watchtowers: 6 towers in the east of Wangquanyu valley and 2 towers in the west.  So the wall is divided into two sectons – East Section (6 towers) and West Section (2 towers ).  You may hike the wall from Beijing Knot  (Jiankou Great Wall) , or you may hike up directly from Wangquanyu Village.  Hiking up Wangquanyu Great Wall from the valley could be very tiring and challenging due to its big drop of 390m.

Wangquanyu Great Wall was built intermittently for 176 years from 1404 (Yongle 2rd Year) to 1580 (Wanli 8th Year) in Ming Dynasty.  This unrestored wall looks exteriorly fresh and well preserved, but once you are on the wall, you will see bushes, saplings, overgrown and ruined. It goes in and out of the dense bushes.

Jiankou Great Wall impresses us for its grandeur and vastness; Wangquanyu Great Wall, grace and elegance.  Plan your Great Wall tour? Wangquanyu Great Wall is an interesting section of the Wall around Beijing.

The wall makes two sharp turns near the valley

The wall makes two sharp turns near the valley

 

Not easy to hike the wall due to its drop of 390m

Not easy to hike the wall due to its drop of 390m

 

Bushes, saplings an overgrown on the wall

Bushes, saplings an overgrown on the wall

 

Well-preserved with high battlements

Well-preserved with high battlements

 

Wangquanmen is green and colorful

Wangquanmen is green and colorful

 

Graceful and elegant

Graceful and elegant

 

Hike up and take care

Hike up and take care

 

A low watchtower, Beijing

A low watchtower, Beijing

 

Viewed from wangquanyu

Viewed from wangquanyu

 

Wangquanmen is green and colorful 1

Wangquanmen is green and colorful 1

Hike up and take care 1

Hike up and take care 1

Tip : 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.

Simatai Great Wall Travel Tips

Saturday, July 28th, 2018
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 Plan your Simatai Great Wall tour? Simatai Great Wall was reopened from October 01, 2014 after a few years’ closure.

Its sudden shutdown on June 17, 2010 was mainly subject to the construction of Gubei Water Town (古北水镇)below Simatai Great Wall, an over 4 billion yuan investment project – a replica of the Wuzhen Water Town in the Southern China.

Gubei Water Town is formally known as Beijing Miyun Gubei Water Town (Simatai) International Tourism Resort (北京密云·古北水镇(司马台长城)国际旅游度假区). Gubei Water Town is constructed and administrated by Beijing Gubei Water Town Tourism Co.,Ltd.which is collectively invested by China CYTS Tours Holding Co.,Ltd., Wuzhen Tourism Development Co.,Ltd., Beijing Energy Investment Holding Co.,Ltd.and Strategic Investor.

Your Feedback is Much Appreciated
 Simatai Great Wall has drawn some criticism – some pro and other con. If you have visited the revamped Simatai Great Wall area, your review is much appreciated!

On April 28, 2014 Feedback from Morgane:
I did the hiking from Jinshanling to Simatai in 2010 (in January), also went twice to Simatai that year (February and April). I got really disappointed with the new Simatai scenic area, the fake Ming village, the huge car parking and the crowds of tourists. I have wonderful memories of the first time I got there, alone on the Wall with my family.

How to buy entrance tickets to Simatai Great Wall

1. If you are going to buy a through ticket both for Gubei Water Town and Simatai Great Wall, you don’t need to book your tickets in advance. You just go directly to the Gubei Water Town Tourist Center to buy your tickets.

2. If you are not interested in the artificial water town and prefer to buy the ticket for Simatai separately, then you have to book your tickets one day in advance. You may book your tickets valid for next 10 days.  You also go to the Gubei Water Town Tourist Center to collect your Simatai tickets, then start for your hike escorted by a tour guide from Gubei Water Town tourist center on foot or take a golf cart to the starting point for Simatai Great Wall hike.

For Simaitai Great Wall only tourists, they are arranged to visit Simatai Great Wall in four departures per day – 09:00, 10:00, 13:00,14:00.

Booking hotline: 010 – 81009999 ( 09:00 – 17:00 ).

Simatai Great Wall Entrance Fee: RMB 40 from Jan 01 t0 Sept; Gubei Water Town Entrance fee: RMB 80 from Jan 01 t0 Sept 30. Opening Hours: 8:00- 17:00 (  ticket  selling till 16:30).

How to get to Simatai Great Wall

Self-driving: Driving along Jingcheng Expressway and get off at the 24th Exit of Simatai. Then drive according to the roadside direction signboard for 2-5 minute.

Public Transportation: Take public bus No.980 from Dongzhimen Transportation Hub and get off the stop of Gulou (Drum Tower) at Miyun County, then connect local bus  No.51 or 38 to Simatai Village.  Then walk to Gubei Water Town (1.5km).

How to Hike Simatai Great Wall

1. At the time of my writing, people are only allowed to hike the East Section from Tower 1 to 10. The West Section is still unopened.

2. The cross hike from Jinshanling to Simatai Great Wall is still not allowed ( mainly due to the closure of Simatai West Section ).

3. If you have strong legs, you may first walk about 30 minutes from the tourist center to the first tower of the Wall, then hike all the way up to the 10th tower. You may hike down or take the cable car down the hill ( RMB 80 single way ).

4. If you don’t have strong legs, but still want to experience the length of Simatai Great Wall, you may first take the cable car up ( RMB 80 ) to the 8th tower, then walk down the wall. You still need to take great care when you hike down since some parts are very steep!

5. If you just want to have a look at the Wall and don’t want to climb the Wall, you may take the cable car up and down ( RMB 160). The cable station above is located on the hillside leading either to the 5th Tower and 8th Tower.

Where to dine and stay in Simatai area

After your hike at Simatai, you may dine at Gubei Water Town ( suggest you go to the public area in Minguo Street – a not paid area inside the town).  Or you may go to the Simatai Village for home lunch or dinner, 1.5km west of the Gubei Water Town.

If you want to stay overnight in the Simatai area, you may stay inside the Gubei Water Town or Simatai Village. Gubei Water Town have 2 5-star hotels, 6 boutique hotels, and more guesthouses and B$B. For budget accommodation, you may choose to stay in a household in Simatai Village.

Travel Tips on what dress for seasonal hike

April, October, and earlier November: long shorts, overcoat; May, June, July and August: Summer dress – many T-shirts shorts; December, January and early February: winter hat with ear flap, ear warmers, gloves, scarf, warm jackets and the winter accessories.

Travel Tips for the attractions near Simatai Great Wall

Simatai Great Wall is located in Miyun County, 140km northeast of Beijing’s city center.  In Miyun County, you may also visit Changyu Chateau Beijing, Yumenshan Great Wall , Gubeikou Great Wall as well as Jinshanling Great Wall.

About the Hike from Jinshanling to Simatai Great Wall

The scenic hike from Jinshanling to the west section of Simatai Great Wall  is favored by many Great Wall hikers. Unfortunately, now the stretch from Jinshanling to Simatai is still unopened mainly due to the closure of the west section of Simatai Great Wall.  You have three options to substitute the missing hike.

1. You may hike  the 18 towers of the east section Jinshanling Great Wall to the beginning tower of the west section of Simatai.  You can arrange your driver to wait for you by the roadside of the short-cut to the last tower of the east section of Jinshanling.

The east section of Jinshanling Great Wall

The east section of Jinshanling Great Wall

2. You may hike from Gubeikou Great Wall to Jinshanling Great Wall, the most challenging and photogenic hike attracting many Great Wall hiking lovers.

Gubeikou Great Wall, like a Coiled Dragon.

Gubeikou Great Wall, like a Coiled Dragon.

3. You can walk from Jiankou Great Wall to Mutianyu Great Wall, the most impressive and photogenic hike around Beijing.

The scenic and photogenic Jiankou Great Wall

The scenic and photogenic Jiankou Great Wall

Some Simatai Great Wall Photos

There are 16 towers on the east section and 12 towers on the west section.  The west sections is still unopened while for the east section, people are only allowed to climb up to the 10th tower.

The West Section of Simatai Great Wall viewed from a high point on the East Section of Simatai Great Wall

The West Section of Simatai Great Wall

The West Section of Simatai Great Wall

Trudge up to the 6th and 7th tower on the East Section of Simatai Great Wall

Trudge up to the 6th and 7th tower

Trudge up to the 6th and 7th tower

Walking up to the 8th, 9th and 10th tower on the east section.  The 8th Tower is also known as White Cloud Tower. You may find a big hole on the tower. It is said the hole was blasted by the Japanese invaders during the second world war when they bombed the Great Wall.

I was standing by the 12th Tower with the backdrop of the forbidden section of Simatai Great Wall.

I was standing by the 12th Tower with the backdrop of the forbbiden section of Simatai Great Wall

I was standing by the 12th Tower with the backdrop of the forbidden section of Simatai Great Wall

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/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

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.

How to dress for visiting Great Wall in winter

Friday, July 27th, 2018
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Planning your Great Wall Tour  in winter? You may have been told that winter is not the right season for visiting Great Wall, but for whatever the reasons, you happen to hike the Great Wall of China during the cold season, so you are now a bit on the fence about visiting the Great Wall.

Well, everything has its two sides. The so-called best seasons often see the Great Wall mobbed by the numerous tourist groups and you may waste much of your valuable time on the way from your hotel to the Wall (traffic jam). On the Wall, you have to take group photos since there are a great number of people on the Wall.

Walking from Jiankou Great Wall to Mutianyu Great Wall  in winter.

Jiankou to Mutuanyu

Jiankou to Mutianyu Winter Hike

Great Wall winter hike has its advantages – the tourist crowds are gone so you can walk along the Great Wall hassle free. The prices are lower for Great Wall transportation and admission.

Of course, hiking the Great Wall is a bit daunting if you are unlucky to visit the Wall on a cold and blusterous day. If well dressed for the winter Wall hikes, visiting the Great Wall in winter is still not a bad idea. We’re going to share with you some ideas on how to dress for Great Wall winter hikes. Dressing for the season and having the right clothing items for colder temperature on the Wall.

1. Check historical climate data and weather forecast
Before leaving for Beijing,  you’d better check Beijing’s historical climate data ( day by day temperature ) to get a general assessment of the weather condition on your real hiking date.

Beijing’s winter normally starts from mid-November through mid-March. Check out the following Beijing’s historical climate data on the winter months in Beijing:

How to Visit Beijing in November                       How to Visit Beijing in December
How to Visit Beijing in January                            How to Visit Beijing in February
How to Visit Beijing in March

In winter Beijing has short days, dark 4-5 pm. The ticket selling for major attractions is closed after 4.30pm. The sights stay open all year round. When you arrive, don’t forget to check the current weather in Beijing and choose your better day for visiting Great Wall in the cold month. You may also check out the following realtime weather photos to get a general idea of how the current weather looks like and how local people are dressed:

Beijing November Realtime Weather Photos   Beijing December Realtime Weather Photos
Beijing January Realtime Weather Photos        Beijing February Realtime Weather Photos
Beijing March Realtime Weather Photos

2. Dressing in Layers
A heavy coat gives you little opportunity to act or adjust in weather conditions. For the better hiking  and comfort, you need to dress in layers.

Base Layer
The purpose of wearing the first body layer is to make  your skin dry by removing moisture possibly produced by perspiring. Kindly remind you not to wear cotton base layer for it keeps the moisture,  leaving you disagreeably moist, sticky if you are sweating.  You’d better choose the shirts made from light merino wool or synthetic fibers.

Middle Layer
This middle layer is the insulation layer,  important for keeping your body warm.  For the same reason trying to avoid the cotton which dries slowly and select  sweaters, vests and jackets which are made of polyester fleece, warm and quick to dry.

Jacket Outer Layer
You need to have a waterproof or water-resistant outer layover to keep you from snow, rain, and wind. Try to have a warm jacket lightweight with good breathability. A warm jacket with zippers and vents is important for you to regulate your body temperature.

3. Feet Protection
Footwear
Basically it is unnecessary to wear a pair of heavy hiking boots since most of the time you will walk on the stone steps on the wall. Avoid leather shoes which can freeze.

Looking for the shoes made from a mix of plastic and rubber. Basically sport shoes are ok for Great Wall hiking in winter. If you are going to hike the unrestored wild sections of the Wall, a pair of gaiters can add a measure of protection against the shrubs and bushes on the way.

Socks
Your feet also need layering too. It is essential to put on a pair of thin and tight-fitting socks that keep your feet dry and warm. Your outer layer socks should be also made from merino wool or synthetic material. Your outer layer socks should not be too thick otherwise they will reduce the circulation in your shoes.

4. Hands Protection
To keep your hands from become cracked, rough, or sore, you definitely need to have a pair of gloves to reduce  the risk of frostbite and chapping to your hands. Basically people prefer gloves than mittens, not having to expose your hands.

5. Head and Face Protection
It is a common knowledge that we lose our body heat through our heads, so we need to have a warm hat. It is essential to wear a hat with ear flaps, a ushanka, a Russian fur cap with ear flaps that can be tied up to the crown of the cap, keeping your ears from the cold. In addition, ready for a scarf to protect your face.

5. Where to buy the winter clothes?
For those who live in a warm climate, winter clothes are a bit hard to get from their home country. No worry about that. Hats, gloves, winter jackets and the list could be much longer, can be easily bought in Beijing. Going to Silk Market is a good choice to arm yourself for the winter tour in Beijing ( Top 10 Beijing Markets including Silk Market).

 

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:

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

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.