Archive for the ‘Beijing Travel Review’ Category

Morning Stroll in Temple of Heaven

Sunday, September 2nd, 2018
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Plan your Beijing tour? For most first-time visitors, Temple of Heaven (Tiantan Park) is one of the must-see attractions in Beijing. It is an ancient sacrificial altar where the emperors in Ming and Qing dynasties (1368 – 16440 prayed for good harvest.

Its impressive ancient architectures and profound cultures have captured people’s imagination. They are also the valuable heritage of ancient culture of China.

In addition, if you could visit Temple of Heaven in the early morning, you will be pleasant to find the real and vivid morning activities. Most of them are retired citizens, playing card games, a bunch of activities like dancing, Tai Chi, singing and badminton and generally just enjoying life.

Just follow me to stroll around the big park of Temple of Heaven and have a view of local social life in the park as well.

Temple of Heaven is open at 6:30am. You may take the subway line 5 and get off at the station of Tiantan Dongmen ( Temple of Heaven East Gate) and exit from the Exit C. Then cross the north-south Tiantan Donglu ( East Temple of Heaven Road), you will see the east gate to the Temple of Heaven.

Entering the east gate to Temple of Heaven ( Entrance fee: RMB15), you will see the park is well treed and groomed with rows of pine trees and manicured bushes.

you will see the park seting is well treed and groomed

you will see the park seting is well treed and groomed

Soon, on your right hand, you will come to a playground that is equipped with a number of exercise facilities where the people are doing various exercises. Most of them are retired citizens with yearly park passes and come to the park nearly everyday.

Horizontal Bar

 

Horizontal Bar

Horizontal Bar

People standing in a circle playing qigong
People standing in a circle playing qigong

People standing in a circle playing qigong

The Temple of Heaven Long Corridor leading to the Hall of Prayer in the park.
The Temple of Heaven Long Corridor leading to the Hall of Prayer in the park.

The Temple of Heaven Long Corridor leading to the Hall of Prayer in the park.

Some retired citizens are playing cards, singing or playing instruments inside the long corridor.
Old cypress trees are worth having a close look. Some of the cypresses are more than 600 years.
Some of the cypresses are more than 600 years

Some of the cypresses are more than 600 years

The main attraction inside the park is the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest that is open at 8:00am. Before its opening time, you may have a look at its impressive dome from outside the wall that circles the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest.
the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest

the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest

Along the axis, walk to the south and soon you will see the Imperial Vault of Heaven with a lovely roof, where the emperors sacrificed animals and burned incense sticks to pray for good weather for the crops.

You will see more social life in the park with cool shades, meadows and neatly arranged pine trees where people are doing morning exercises.

more social life in the park

more social life in the park

Doing Tai Chi
Doing Tai Chi

Doing Tai Chi

Circular Mound Altar: Used to worship Heaven at the winter solstice where the principal construction is a large round marble terrace named the Circular Mound.
Circular Mound Altar

Circular Mound Altar

An old man writing Chinese calligraphy with a big brush dipped in water
An old man writing chinese calligraphy with a big brush dipped in water

An old man writing Chinese calligraphy with a big brush dipped in water

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:

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)

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


How to Visit Grand Canal in Hangzhou.
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

For any questions, just drop a line.

How to Visit Ditan Park

Wednesday, August 8th, 2018
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Beijing has five royal altars left from Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368 – 1911) including Tiantan ( the Altar for the Heaven, also knowns as the Temple of Heaven), Ditan ( the Altar for the Earth, also known as the Temple of Earth), Ritan ( the Altar for the Sun, also known as the Temple of Sun), Yuetan (the Altar for the Moon, also known as the Temple of Moon) and Xiannongtan ( the Altar for Agriculture, also known as Temple of Agriculture).

Now four of the original altars have been extended and turned into public parks known as Tiantan Park (the Temple of Heaven), Ditan Park (the Temple of Earth), Ritan Park (the Temple of Sun), Yuetan Park (the Temple of Moon).

Ditan, or the Altar for the Earth and the Temple of Earth, was built in 1530 during Ming Dynasty. It was the place where the emperors in Ming and Qing Dynasties who would attend the annual summer solstice ritual of sacrifices to the earth. In 1925, the Temple of Earth was built into a park open to the public. Later the park was destroyed and discarded due to the successive wars. The park was repened to the public in April, in 1957.

Ditan Park is open 24 hours a day all year around with a small entrance of 2 Yuan. But the entrance to the inner site of the Altar costs you another 5 Yuan. Each year during the Chinese Spring Festival ( Chinese new year), a grand temple fair will be held inside Ditan Park with added up entrance fee of 10 Yuan.

Ditan Park has four entrances – South, North, East and West. Its south gate is easily reached by taking the Subway line 2 and you get off at the station of Lama Temple and exit from Exit A and walk to the north for about 300m, you will get to the southern gate to Ditan Park. We recommend that you make a circular tour of the park from the south gate, to East Gate, North Gate and exit from West Gate, or back to the southern gate.

A morning stroll around Ditan Park is very much rewarding, seeing people ( most of them are seniors ) doing all kinds of morning exercises, dancing and singing. Ditan Park is also one of the best places to view autumn leaves in the downtown Beijing when the Ginkgo trees are all yellow, blanketing the major roads in the park.

Another important occasion to come to Ditan Park is Chinese Spring Festival when a large temple fair will be held here annually, attracting huge crowds of visitors. There will a plenty of vendors selling all kinds of stuff, food, entertainment, and games.

Morning Stroll around Ditan Park
First, follow me for a relaxing stroll around Ditan Park in the morning. This time I enter Ditan Park through its west gate instead of its south gate. What allures you is the grand pailou outside the west gate. Pailou, also known as Paifang, is a traditional Chinese architectural form like an archway.

Pailou ( Paifang ) is a traditional Chinese architectural form like an archway.

Pailou is a traditional Chinese architectural form like an archway.

Pailou is a traditional Chinese architectural form like an archway.

 Then walk from the decorated pailou to the west entrance, a 200m some walking with its pathway covered by the dense trees. Actually there are two west gates – one 3-arch gate and another one arch gate both with green glazed tiles and re-colored wall. The ticking office is set by the inner west gate, a one-arch gate.

After entering the west gate, walk to the north, soon you will see a square red wall which houses the Palace Fasting where emperors would fast before they went to the Altar for sacrificial ritual.

the Palace Fasting where emperors would fast

the Palace Fasting where emperors would fast

To the north of the Palace for Fasting are the Devine Horse Stable and Bell Tower.
the Devine Horse Stable

the Devine Horse Stable

The Bell Tower in Ditan Park
The Bell Tower in Ditan Park

The Bell Tower in Ditan Park


Each morning many local residents, especially senior people come to Ditan Park or the Temple of Earth for doing all kinds of exercises. This group of people are Tibetan dancing fans, dancing in front of the open space by the west gate to the Palace for Fasting.
This group of people are Tibetan dancing fans

This group of people are Tibetan dancing fans

Move on to the east from the Tibetan dancing group, I see another group of people learning Tai Chi.
I see another group of people learning Tai Chi.

I see another group of people learning Tai Chi.

Soon, I reach the wide paved road running from north to south leading to the North Gate. Many people are doing morning exercises on the road covered with high Ginkgo trees.
Many people are doing morning exercises on the road covered with high Ginkgo trees.

Many people are doing morning exercises on the road covered with high Ginkgo trees.

This is the northern gate to Ditan Park.
This is the northern gate to Ditan Park.

This is the northern gate to Ditan Park.

Let’s go on to make a loop tour of the park and move on to the east side of the north-south main road. Here you may find even more people doing Tai Chi, doing plentiful morning exercises.
Here you may find even more people doing Tai Chi

Here you may find even more people doing Tai Chi

A veteran of martial art is practicing in order to attract new students for commercial purposes.
A veteran of martial art is practicing in order to attract new students for commercial purposes.

A veteran of martial art is practicing in order to attract new students for commercial purposes.

Relying on apparatus to do exercises. Some just go to the extreme. 
Relying on apparatus to do exercises. Some just go to the extreme.

Relying on apparatus to do exercises. Some just go to the extreme.

This is the Chinese Traditional Medicine Health Cultivation Garden telling people how to keep fit and self-cultivation. The garden is located at the East gate to Ditan Park.
This is the Chinese Traditional Medicine Health Cultivation Garden

This is the Chinese Traditional Medicine Health Cultivation Garden

It is a beautiful garden immersing people into a mesmerizing environment while learning the basics of Chinese traditional medicine.

Well. let’s walk to the middle of the park – the Altar in a square pond (Fangzetan) circled by red-colored wall with yellow glazed tiles.

 Fangze Tan ( The square and moated terrace), popularly known as “the Altar” was the place where the emperors in Ming and Qing Dynasty offered sacrifices to the God of the Earth. It is locked in the early morning, so I have to peep through the wooden gate and take a picture of the Altar from a distance.

peep through the wooden gate and take a picture of the Altar from a distance.

peep through the wooden gate and take a picture of the Altar from a distance.

Old pine trees and green lawn by the Altar. I happen to take a candid photo of a cute baby escorted by his grandpa.
happen to take a candid photo of a cute baby escorted by his grandpa.

happen to take a candid photo of a cute baby escorted by his grandpa.

Now I come to the southern gate, the most popular gate of the four gates in the park. In front of the gate is the House for worshipping the Earth God. The house is also surrounded by the red-colored wall with yellow glazed tiles.
the House for Worshipping the Earth God

the House for Worshipping the Earth God

This is the exterior of the Southern Gate to Ditan Park.
This is the exterior of the Southern Gate to Ditan Park.

This is the exterior of the Southern Gate to Ditan Park.

Just outside the southern gate, you can find one of the popular Cantonese restaurants in Beijing known as Jindingxuan Restaurant. You may have a bite of the Cantonese food.
the popular Cantonese restaurants in Beijing known as Jindingxuan Restaurant.

the popular Cantonese restaurants in Beijing known as Jindingxuan Restaurant.

Fall Foliage at Ditan Park.
Beijing is at its best in autumn with blue sky, comfy sunshine and colourful leaves. The best time to see the foliage in Beijing spans about one month ranging from October 15 to November 15.

There are many places to view fall foliage in Beijing including the mountainous areas (all sections of the Great Wall) and downtown parks. Among them, Fragrant Hill is unanimously considered as the most famous place to see autumn leaves in Beijing.

If you are scared of the huge crowds of visitors at Fragrant Hill or don’t want to go to the mountains or the Great Wall outside Beijing, and would rather have a leisure time in viewing the autumn leaves in downtown Beijing, Ditan Park ( The Temple of Earth ) is definitely your best option. 

Autumn Ditan 1

Ditan 1

Ditan 1

Autumn Ditan 2
Ditan 2

Ditan 2

Autumn Ditan 3
Autumn Ditan 3

Autumn Ditan 3

Autumn Ditan 4
Autumn Ditan 4

Autumn Ditan 4

Ditan Temple Fair during the Chinese spring festival
As a foreign visitor, if you are in Beijing during the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year),  visiting a temple fair is definitely a good choice to experience the traditional  Beijing custom and Chinese culture.

Like elsewhere in the world, temple fairs (Miao Hui)originated and developed as groups of vendors did business near temples when many pilgrims came to pay tribute to the gods during traditional festivals.

Now there are over 10 major temple fairs held each year in Beijing during Chinese New Year. Most of them are in the parks, wide streets and other non-temple areas.

Though some commercialization is greatly reinventing the essence of the Beijing’s temple fairs, and old Beijing culture is becoming a smaller part of the fairs, going to a temple fair is still one of the opportunities to know something about our Spring Festival traditions: eating, shopping and entertaining.

Eating and drinking at Ditan Temple fair. Shopping at Ditan Temple Fair

Shopping at Ditan Temple Fair

Shopping at Ditan Temple Fair

Entertaining at Ditan Temple Fair
Entertaining at Ditan Temple Fair

Entertaining at Ditan Temple Fair

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:

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)

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

For any questions, just drop a line.

Top 8 Sections of the Great Wall around Beijing

Monday, July 9th, 2018
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If you visit Beijing for the first time, definitely you want to leave some footprints on the Great Wall of China. When you do some preparation research online regarding the Great Wall around Beijing, you will surprisingly know that there are so many Great Walls” – Mutianyu, Badaling, Juyongguan, Simatai and Jinshanling – just name some of them.

You may wonder totally how many sections of the Great Wall around Beijing and which part of the Great Wall to visit. Having hiked the major bits of the Great Wall around Beijing, I try to present you my version of Top List of the sections of the Great Wall in Beijing in terms of their landscapes and hiking level. Hopefully my post will help you a little bit in choosing your favorites on your Great Wall Tour.

1. Jinshanling Great Wall ( For Experienced Travelers)
Of all the parts of the Great Wall around Beijing, Jinshanling Great Wall has always been my biggest favorite option. Strictly speaking, Jinshanling Great Wall doesn’t belong to the administrative control of Beijing (Chengde City instead), but the proud Beijing people show no hesitation to place Jinshanling Great Wall into their own bag.

Jinshanling Great Wall is located on the border area between Miyun County in Beijing and Luanping County in Chengde, around 130km to the northeast of Beijing city center.

Jinshanling Great Wall is extended to Simatai Great Wall on its east. In the past people could hike from Jinshanling Great Wall to Simatai Great. But today people have to stop in the mid-way, then either get off the wall or retrace to the starting point due to the closure of the Wall on Simatai side.

Jinshanling Great Wall

Jinshanling Great Wall

Unlike the restored and revamped Mutianyu Great Wall and the totally wide and deserted Jiankou Great Wall, Jinshanling Great Wall is half original and half restored with stunning views!

You’d better off arranging your own transport, or hook up with other travelers to split the cost of the drive since the public bus system is not easy to handle.

How to get to Jinshanling from Beijing city center by bus:
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)

2. Gubeikou Great Wall ( For Experienced Travelers )
Gubeikou Great Wall is located in Miyun County, 140 kilometers away from downtown Beijing. Gubeikou Great Wall is extended east to be connected to Jinshanling Great Wall. Gubeikou Great Wall itself is 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.

Wohushan Great Wall is now still completely wild and unrestored, not officially opened to the public while Panlongshan Great Wall is partly opened by the local government. So when people talk about Gubeikou Great Wall, very often it refers to Panlongshan Great Wall. This section of the Great Wall is not reconstructed and unrestored with fantastic landscape.

There are two parallel sections of the Great Wall on the Panlong Mountain running shoulder to shoulder. One section was built during the Northern Qi Dynasty (550 – 557) and other section was constructed in the early Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644). The last watch tower of Gubeikou Great Wall is a 24-window tower, also the end of the accessible Panlongshan Great Wall.

The further section to the east is the Wall is forbidden for hiking because it is within the military zone. People can make a detour bypassing the forbidden wall, and go down to a deep valley and walk towards Jinshanling Great Wall.

Gubeikou Great Wall

Gubeikou Great Wall

You may have a 2-3 hour hike along the wide original Gubeikou Great Wall, or you may hike further across the Gubeikou Great Wall and get to Jinshanling Great Wall, an estimated 5-hour 10 km hike.

3. Simatai Great Wall ( For Leisure & business Travelers )
The Simatai section of the Great Wall is located in the northeast of Miyun County, about 140 kilometers from downtown Beijing. It was first built in the early Hongwu years (1368-1398) of the Ming Dynasty. The Simatai Great Wall is cut into two parts by the Simatai Reservoir, over which there is a chain bridge running through east to west.

The Simatai Great Wall is 5 km long with all together 28 watchtowers ( East 16 and West 12 ). Constructed by the Ming Dynasty general Qi Ji Guang, it is one of the few stretches of the Wall that still preserve the original look of that period. It not only features unique points from other Great Wall sections, but also shows some features found nowhere. To the west there 12 watchtowers snaking on the sloping hills. To the east there are 16 watchtowers atop peaks up to 1,000 meters high.

The views are amazing. The wall at Simatai has received very little renovation. So Simatai Great Wall still retains all its original look. It is well beyond the reach of the great crowds of visitors who come to the more popular and easily accessible parts of the Wall.

The Simatai Great Wall, with densely positioned watchtowers running along the mountain ridges, looks amazing and grandeur!

Simatai Great Wall

Simatai Great Wall

Simatai Great Wall is linked to Jinshanling Great Wall on its west. Most tourists would choose to hike up the east section of Simatai Great Wall since it is more photogenic and treacherous. After you climb up to the 12th tower ( you are not allowed to go further to other 4 towers due to safety reason), you may either hike down or take a cable car down ( from 5th tower or 8th tower ).

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

4. Mutianyu Great Wall ( For Leisure Travelers )
Mutianyu Great Wall ranks as the number one attraction in Beijing. The Mutianyu Great Wall is also one of my favorite sections of the Great Wall in Beijing. It has an extremely beautiful natural landscape once you are up on the wall, green, densely wooded. This section of the Great Wall is comparatively smoother than most of other sections.

Mutianyu Great Wall

Mutianyu Great Wall

Mutianyu Great Wall is located in Huairou District, about 80 km to the north of Beijing. There are 23 towers on the Mutianyu Great Wall snaking the ridge for about 3000 meters. The watch towers at the Mutianyu Great Wall are distributed at short intervals. If you have strong legs and continue to hike westwards, you will walk across Jiankou Great Wall.

5. Jiankou Great Wall ( For Experienced Travelers )
Jiankou Great Wall is located in Huairou District, 10 km to the east of Mutianyu Great Wall, about 80 KM from downtown Beijing. Huanghuacheng Great Wall is situated to the west of Jiankou. This section was first constructed in 1368 during the period of the Ming Dynasty.

Jiankou Great Wall is the most dangerous and ruined section of the great wall around Beijing. There are most risky areas along the section of Jiankou Great Wall.

Jiankou Great Wall

Jiankou Great Wall

“The Eagle Flies Facing Upward”: it is actually an enemy observation tower. It is such named due to the fact that the observation tower is built on the highest place of the mountain. So, if an eagle wants to fly to the tower, it has to fly facing upwards before it gets to the top of the tower.

“Ladders in the sky”: At this part of the Wall the ladders go actually straight up, and they are so narrow that it is almost impossible to hold a foothold.

“Beijing Knot”: the meeting place for three different linking sections of the Great Wall at Jiankou.
“The Nine-Eye Tower”: A watchtower with 9 holes resembling 9 eyes.

Yes, there are tons of online trip reports on the incredible steepness of the Upward Flying Eagle Tower to Tianti (Sky Ladder) and Beijing Knot. We are not advising anyone to scramble that section if you don’t have any rock climbing experience armed with special equipment though maybe you are an experienced travelers.

Starting from Zhengbeilou Watchtower ( east of the Upward Flying Eagle Tower and Sky Ladder), walk eastwards along the rugged Wall and get to the restored Mutianyu Great Wall, a relatively easy walk with stunning views.

At the time of my writing, Jiankou Great Wall is still officially not open to the public due to its risky hike as well as the government’s policy to protect the “wild wall”. If you choose to walk from Zhengbeilou at Jiankou Great Wall to Mutianyu Great Wall, the risk involved would be less. But still you should apply for travel insurance for your coverage of injury or accident.

6. Huanghuancheng Great Wall ( For Experienced Travelers )
Huanghuacheng literally meaning “Yellow Flower City”. Huanghuacheng Great Wall, about 60 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.

Huanghuacheng Great Wall

Huanghuacheng Great Wall

It 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 has no stone steps or no smooth path found at other sections of Great Wall in Beijing.

7. Badaling Great Wall ( For Leisure Travelers )
Badaling section of the Great Wall is within Yanqing County, one of the two counties in Beijing. The wall is about 80 kilometers northwest from downtown Beijing. Badaling Great Wall is actually a mountain pass of the Jundu Mountain.

It is recorded that the Badaling Great Wall was built to protect the Juyongguan Pass ( Juyongguan section of the Great Wall ) on its south, further protecting the city of Beijing. Badaling is an ancient military defense project. It is about 1,000 meters above sea level.

The Badaling section of Great Wall is about 3, 740 meters long and average 8 meters high. The highest section is 15 meters high. The wall is wide enough for five horses to ride abreast. Badaling was the earliest part open to the visitors among all the sections of the Great Wall in Beijing.

Badaling Great Wall

Badaling Great Wall

The wall is narrow on the top and broad on the base making the wall stands firmly rising and falling ridges. The Wall are made of mud and stone block. This makes the wall clean, pretty and firm.

Every other 300 to 500 meters, there are fortresses. There are two kinds of fortresses. One is a two-storied fortress used as a fighting tower. Its ground floor was used for living, storing weapons and the top floor was used for watching and shooting. Another kind is fighting terrace or enemy terrace, which was used for patrolling and fighting.

8. Juyongguan Great Wall ( For Leisure Travelers )
The Juyongguan Pass is located in the valley sandwiched by the Jundu Mountains and the ending of the Taihang Mountains. It used to be a stronghold, difficult of access dating back to the Spring and Autumn, the Warring States period ( 5000-6000 years ago). Later the Pass was extended to be linked up with the Great Wall.

The Pass we see today was planned by General Xuda and completed in the first year of the reign of the Emperor Hongwu of the Ming Dynasty ( 1368 ) and the years that followed, it was renovated again and again. The Great Wall around the Pass extends over 4 km snaking the ridge of the mountains forming the valley. The natural landscape surrounding the Pass is extremely beautiful.

Juyongguan Great Wall.

Juyongguan Great Wall.

The Juyongguan Pass Great Wall is sectioned into two semicircles – east and west. Most people prefer hiking on its west semicircle for its steepness and beautiful view. Each semicircle takes about 2-hour hike. So if you have time and energy, hiking both sections is a good choice.

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:

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.