Archive for the ‘Travel Tips’ Category

How to Plan a Trip to Beijing (Tips, Photos & Map)

Sunday, October 24th, 2021
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If it is your first time to visit Beijing, we hope, this short travel guide will help you plan your long-expected Beijing tour.

We try to offer  you some practical advice on when to go and where to stay, how to allocate your time and choose the major attractions in Beijing.

Forbidden City
Forbidden City

When to Go

Maybe “When to go” doesn’t seem a practical question since most of us are unable to match our visit time with the so-called the best time to visit Beijing or any other particular destination. But nevertheless getting ourselves well informed of “When to go” is very much useful preparing a coming trip.

Beijing has clearly cut four seasons with longer winters and shorter springs. Beijing’s winter lasts officially from November 15 to March 15 ( official winter indoor heating period) : dry and cold outside.  But visiting Beijing in winter is not a bad idea given the discounts offered by airlines, hotels and sites, plus numerous winter activities in Beijing.

Though Beijing’s official spring time starts from March 15 to May 15, its warmer springtime only lasts one month from early April to early May. Beijing’s March is very often chilly and sandstorm hits Beijing periodically in March. So traveling Beijing in early April through early May is relatively relaxing and comfortable. But try to avoid visiting Beijing during the 3-day public holiday May 01 to 03.
How to Visit Beijing in March
How to Visit Beijing in April
How to Visit Beijing in May

Beijing’s summer lasts from May 15 to September 15. The first two months ( May 15 – July 15) are a bit hot and dry with relatively comfortable weather, not a bad time to visit Beijing.

July and August are Beijing’s rainy season, hot and humid. July and August are also the school summer vacation season with lots of domestic tourists flocking major attractions in Beijing.
How to visit Beijing in June
How to visit Beijing in July
How to visit Beijing in August

Autumn (September 05 to November 15) is oft-lauded as the best time to visit Beijing, blue and clear sky and mild temperature. October 01-07 period should be avoided to keep from the hordes of domestic tourists on China’s National Holiday.
How to Visit Beijing in September
How to Visit Beijing in October
How to Visit Beijing in November

Beijing’s winter starts from December to February next year. The major attractions in Beijing are open all year around and basically you are able to visit Beijing at any time of a year. Choosing your own best time per your own time, budget and personal taste. For Beijing winter activities, check out Beijing winter tour for more information.
How to Visit Beijing in December
How to Visit Beijing in January
How to Visit Beijing in February

For information on Beijing Climate, please check out the link: Beijing Climate; for Beijing’s daily weather photos, past and present, please check out the link: Beijing timely weather photos.

What to See

It takes time to enjoy everything that Beijing city has to offer. If you only have a few days to spare, you can highlight your Beijing trip by visiting the major attractions in Beijing.

Check out the Top 10 Things to Do in Beijing based on our past 20 years’ travel data, just for your information.

Beijing Tour Maps

There are numerous scenic spots and historical sites in Beijing. Some of them are walkable. Some of the attractions are a little far from the city centre.

Around Beijing, there are eight major sections of the Great Wall, including Badaling, Juyongguan, Huanghuacheng, Jiankou, Mutianyu, Gubeikou, Jinshanling, and Simatai. All the sections of the Great Wall around Beijing fall into three categories – restored sections, partially restored and unrestored..

Beijing Great Wall Map

Check out Beijing tourist maps to get yourself familiar with the places you are going to visit or explore.

Where to Stay

Where to stay in Beijing? That’s a common question when you are planning your Beijing, considering that Beijing has hundreds of star-rated hotels, plus numerous hostels, courtyard hotels, B&B hotels and boutique hotels.

Generally, Beijing is divided into 6 areas – 1. Central Beijing; 2. Houhai & North Beijing; 3. South Beijing; 4. Northeast Beijing; 5. West Beijing and 6. Northwest Beijing, where you can find where and in which hotel you want to stay per your personal taste and budget.

Five Suggested Steps to finalize Your Hotel booking in Beijing
1. Choose the area where you want to stay
2. Compare the hotels and prices in the same area
3. Use google to map the exact address of the hotel
4. Use google and hotel review websites to assess the hotel
5. Book your hotel directly or use the hotel booking engines.

Check out the link: Where to Stay in Beijing for more hotel information in Beijing.

How to Get Around

Generally speaking, getting around or out of town, is quite easy in Beijing. In the past 30 years, Beijing transportation has been improved greatly – widened roads, lengthened subway lines, much cleaner buses, more environmentally friendly taxis etc.

But like any other metropolitan cities worldwide, you will hit a traffic snag in a peak hour. So try to avoid rush hours and well plan your airport transfer to keep from possible delay.

Check out the following links for more information on Beijing city transportation

How to take subway in Beijing
Beijing Public Buses
Beijing Taxis
Badaling Great Wall by train
Badaling Great Wall by Bus
Mutianyu Great Wall by Bus
Bus & Train to Gubei Water Town & Simatai Great Wall

How to Visit Beijing

We put together 4 options ranging from one day tour to four day tours which can generally meet the travel needs of the first time visitors to Beijing.

Badaling Great Wall

1) Beijing in One Day:
Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City and  Mutianyu Great Wall  ( Or Badaling Great Wall )

Check out the link: How to Visit Beijing in One Day.

2) Beijing in Two Days:
Day 01: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and Summer Palace, Beijing Opera
Day 02: Ming Tombs and Badaling Great Wall ( or Mutianyu Great Wall )

Check out the link: How to Visit Beijing in Two Days.

3) Beijing in Three Days:
Day 01: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and Summer Palace
Day 02: Ming Tombs and Badaling Great Wall ( or Mutianyu Great Wall )
Day 03: Hutongs, Lama Temple and Olympic Sites, Silk Market, Beijing Opera

Check out the link: How to Visit Beijing in Three Days.

4) Beijing in Four Days:
Day 01: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and Summer Palace
Day 02: Ming Tombs and Badaling Great Wall
Day 03: Hutongs, Lama Temple, Olympic Sites, Silk Market, Beijing Opera
Day 04: Beijing Capital Museum, Panda House, CCTV headquarters Building, Grand National Theatre, 798 Space
Check out the link: How to visit Beijing in Four Days.

Where to Eat

The big difference between Chinese and Western eating manner is that in the West, everyone has their own plate of food, while in China people share the dishes placed on the table.

A typical Chinese meal starts with cold dishes. These are followed by the main courses, hot meat and vegetable dishes. Finally a soup is brought out, which is followed by principal food, usually including rice or noodles or sometimes dumplings.

Check out the link Beijing Dining for more information on where to eat in Beijing.

Where to shop

Shopping in Beijing is becoming more and more convenient. New shopping centers, plazas and malls have been sprouting up all over the capital. 30 years ago there were only a few department stores and small bazaars, but now there are many superstores, mega-malls and markets and boutiques where you can buy just about anything you need.

Check out Top 10 Markets in Beijing and Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing for information.

Ruifuxiang Traditional Chinese Gown

There are many places to go for shopping in Beijing, depending on what you expect and the prices you are prepared to pay; there are a rich variety of things waiting for you to explore and buy.

Beijing Nightlife

Beijing nightlife is very colorful. Beijing nightlife has more to offer! If you travel with your kids, then enjoying Kung Fu show in the evening is a must.

If you are young and energetic, you may go to disco or live jazz. If you like to know more about old Beijing and enjoy Chinese tea, you can go to tea houses.

Check out the link: Beijing Nightlife and Top 10 Things to Do at Night in Beijing for more information.

How to Visit the Great Wall

Visiting the Great Wall is a delightful must for the first-time visitors to Beijing China. The Great Wall was built in different times and dynasties, largely constructed in 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 (1271 A.D – 1368 A.D) and the last Qing Dynasty (1644 A.D – 1911 A.D) did nothing about the building of the Great Wall since they were “barbarians” against whom the Great Wall of China had been built.

For historical and geographical reasons, the Great Wall of China doesn’t form a continuous line and in fact exits in different sections. The official survey shows the Great Wall now totals 21196 km long with the Great Wall built in Ming Dynasty ( 1368A.D – 1644 A.D ) as long as 8851 km.

Check out the link: How to Visit the Great Wall of China.

144 Hour Visa Free Transit in Beijing

For Beijing airport transit passengers, basically you need a Chinese visa to enter Beijing if you want to exit from Beijing Capital Airport for a few hour’s layover tour or 2 or 3 days short stay in Beijing. But currently, 51 countries are entitled to 114 hours free visa transit stay in Beijing. So Visa-free travel to Beijing is possible now!

1. Prerequisites for getting the 114 hours transit free visa
The Eligible 51 nationalities include:24 Schengen Countries in Europe:

A. 24 Schengen countries in Europe:
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovak, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

B. 13 other European countries:
Russia, Great Britain, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republic of Montenegro, Macedonia and Albania.

C. 6 American countries:
The United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Chile.

D. 2 Oceanian countries:
Australia and New Zealand.

E. 6 Asian countries:
Republic of Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.

2.Travelers must have valid passports.

3. Travelers must have confirmed tickets to a third country or regions (Hong Kong and Macau).

Check out Beijing 144 Hours Free Visa Transit for more information.

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:

Car Rental in Beijing
Beijing Day Tour
Beijing Tour Packages
Great Wall Tour
Beijing Winter Tour
Beijing Tours
China City Tours
China Tour

Further Readings


How to Plan a Trip to Beijing
Best Time to Visit Beijing

Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
Top 10 Tourist Scams Beijing
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
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 Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

Top 10 Markets in Beijing
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing
Beijing Shopping

Wangfujing Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions, just drop a line.

How to Visit Mutianyu Great Wall (Tips,Photos & Map)

Monday, October 11th, 2021
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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 Mutianyu Great Wall.

If anybody having used the piece finds necessary updates, please leave a message or feedback. Thanks!

How to Get to Mutianyu Great Wall

There are several ways to reach Mutianyu Great Wall from downtown Beijing and choose the one that suits your trip best and good luck!

1. Dongzhimen Special Tourism Bus 东直门旅游专线

Dongzhimen Wai Bus Station – Mutianyu Great Wall Special Tourism Bus

Start Time:
Leaving at 8:30 am from Dongzhimen Wai Bus Station ( 东直门外公交车站)
Return time

Leaving at 4:00 pm at Parking No.01 at Mutianyu (景区P1停车场)
Bus Fare: 30 yuan ( One Way) Dont’ Accept transportation cards
How to buy tickets: Pay cash on board
The ticket selling starts half an hour early and the bus will go with a full load.
Note: The bus ride takes about 1 hour and 40 min. Just wait at the sign and basically sometimes a lady in uniform will direct you to the correct bus. ( Be vigilant and don’t get to any “black” bus or van.)
Enquiry phone number: 96166

The Mutianyu Shuttle Bus Stop inside Dongzhimen Wai Bus Compound
Mutianyu Shuttle Bus Stop Placard

Note: It is a bit tricky to find Dongzhimen Wai Bus Station. So how to get to Dongzhimen Wai Bus Station Compound ( 东直门外车站)?

The open-air Dongzhimen Wai Bus Station  Compound is about 800 meters away to the northeast of Dongzhimen Transport Hub. It is also a 10-minute’s walk ( 800 meters)from Exit E of Dongzhimen Subway Station.

You exit from Exit E of  Subway Line 2 at Dongzhimen, walk along Dongzhimen Wai Dajie (东直门外大街), then turn left and walk along Dongzhimen Wai Xiejie (东直门外斜街),  soon you will find the open-air bus station compound on your left side, the same bus station going for Jinshanling Great Wall and Gubei Water Town.

2. Qianmen Special Tourism Bus 前门旅游专线

Qianmen – Mutianyu Great Wall Special Tourism Bus

Departure location: No. 4 ticket booth at Qianmen Tourism Special Line Departure Center.
Departure Time: 07:30 08:30 09:30 10:30
Return Time: 14:30 15:30 16:30
Ticketing: Purchasing on site at Ticket Office Beijing Hub Of Tour Dispatch 前门集散中心现场售票
How to get to the ticket office:
Take subway line 2 and get off at Qianmen, exit from exit C and walk 30m
For more information, call 010-83531111

3. MUBUS ( 慕巴士 )

MUBUS Mutianyu Great Wall Tourism Bus

Departure location: East of Swissotel Beijing Hong Kong Macau Center ( in front of Swiss Apartment)
Add: 2 Chaoyangmen N St, Dongcheng, Beijing and a 2-minute walk from a metro station.
Departure time: Morning 7:30-8:00 (cycle departure) Afternoon 10:00 (cycle departure)
Ticket sales: Mubus official website, Mubus official wechat, Ctrip, etc.
For more information, call 13381132891

4. ZANBUS (赞巴士)

ZANBUS Mutianyu Great Wall Tourism Bus

Departure: Exit B at Heping West Bridge Subway Station of Subway Line 5
Departure time: Morning: 08:00 (cycle departure); 10:00 (cycle departure)
Ticketing: ZANBUS official website, ZANBUS wechat, Ctrip, etc.
For more information, call 010-64448522, 18611317788

5. Beidou Travel 北斗旅行

Beidou Mutianyu Great Wall Tourism Bus

Departure: Exit A at Chaoyangmen Subway Station (Northeast exit)
Departure time: Morning shift: 07:30-08:00, night shift: 08:30-09:00 (cycle departure)
Ticket: official wechat booking, Ctrip, Dianping, etc.
For more information, call 18610950072,18911886840

6. Tour Beijing Private Tour (Private Car + Tour Guide)

Mutianyu Great Wall Half Day Private Tour

This tour is designed for your own traveling party and no other tourists will join you. So you have much flexibility and freedom. If you have any questions, or want more time for taking photos, just feel free to let your tour guide know.

With your personal tour guide, you will have more interaction with the locals which will enrich your travel experience in Beijing. It is a non-shopping private tour and no Hidden Fee!

Tour Type: Exclusive Private Tour
Vehicle: Your Exclusive Vehicle with free Wi-Fi & Bottled water
Operates: Daily
Pick-up point and time: Your Hotel around 8:00am or 13:00pm
Finishing point and time: Your Hotel around 13:00pm or 6:00pm
Tour Code: BHDT-01

7. Car Rental with Driver to Mutianyu Great Wall

Hiring a car with driver gives you much flexibilty to visit Mutianyu Great Wall. For car rental rates with driver, please check out the link Beijing Car Rental with Driver for information.

Mutianyu Great Wall 75km north of downtown Beijing

8. Public Bus to Mutianyu Great Wall

If you prefer a kind of DIY way taking public bus to go to Mutianyu Great Wall, you might take Bus 916 at Dongzhimen Public Transport Hub, get off at the North Street Station in Huairou District, then transfer to Dongtai-bound Bus ( Bus H23 ) for Mutianyu. Alternatively, at the North Street (Beidajie, or Bei Da Jie ) Station, you can take or share a local taxi getting to Mutinayu Great Wall.

Check out the detailed step-by step guide below for getting from Beijing Dongzhimen to Mutianyu Great Wall by 916 Express Bus.

1) Get to Dongzhimen Transport Hub early in the morning

The Sign “Exit C ” at Dongzhimen Subway Station ( Subway Line 2 and 13 ) leading to the bus transfer hall.

Dongzhimen Public Transport Hub (东直门交通枢纽) is mainly composed of three forms of public transport –Dongzhimen Bus Station ( or officially called Bus Transfer Hall) where you take Bus 916 Express ( 916快) for the direction of Mutianyu Great Wall), Dongzhimen Subway Station ( Subway Line 2 and 13 ) and Dongzhimen Airport Express ( for Beijing Capital Airport Express Train).

These three forms of public transport are connected underground as a whole in a massive building.

Try to get to Dongzhimen Transport Hub early in the morning either by subway or taxi. For subway, you may take the subway line 2 or 13 and exit from Exit C leading to the massive transport hub.

916 Express Bus has to be taken from inside of the building of the Dongzhimen Public Transport Hub.

When you leave the subway there are a lot of stops at your right side and you have to get into the building and will see the signs since your bus is inside the transfer hub hall.

The Bus Transfer Hall on the ground floor is mainly composed of two parts – North Platform and South Platform.

Your Mutianyu-bound Bus 916 Express ( 916快 / 怀柔方向) is on the northern platform. There are signs overhead to guide you in the direction to the 916 Express Bus Stop.

Overhead Chinese Sign " 916 快“ ( 916 Express )
Overhead Chinese Sign ” 916 快“ ( 916 Express )
Chinese and English Sign for Bus 916 Express Overhead
Chinese and English Sign for Bus 916 Express Overhead
Wait in line for Bus 916 Express
Wait in line for Bus 916 Express

Wait in line for the Bus 916 Express and the bus fare at 12 yuan.  In the 916 bus you have to pay the exact amount.

In the bus entrance door, at your left, there is a small box where you have to put the exact amount. You get ready for the small money and often they don’t have the change.

Below is updated by Chris Nguyen relative to the payment for Express Bus 919:
The 916 express bus accepts transportation cards (tap when you hop on and tap when you hop off) and also accepts cash. We paid 12 RMB each based off of your suggestions but it seems as though the bus works off of the honor system as there is no one checking if you put the correct amount into the collection box. On the outside of the bus, there is a sign that says “self ticketing”.

2) Taking Bus 916 Express and Get off at the 15th stop of Huai Rou Bei Da Jie in Huairou District
( 62km – One Hour Drive)

916 Express Operating Hours: 5:50 – 19:50 ( Dongzhimen Transport Hub to Huairou )
04:50 – 18:50 (Huairou to Dongzhimen Transport Hub)

The 916 buses are clean and air-conditioned.

The 916 buses are clean and air-conditioned.
916 Express buses are clean and air-conditioned.

There are totally 20 stops for Public Bus 916 Express and you get off at the 15th stop of  Huai Rou Bei Da Jjie (怀柔北大街 ) in Huairou District. Then take a local taxi ( about 50 yuan per taxi ) or further connect the local public Bus H23,( 5 yuan ).

Note: Try to catch the earliest bus to Huiarou Bei Da Jie so you can arrive to Mutianyu around 8am. There aren’t many people.

The H23 buses are few and far between, so you may consider taking a taxi from Beidajie (Huai Rou Bei Da Jie ) . Taxi drivers are nice and aren’t trying to scam passengers.

Below is the current bus stop plan (bus line 916 express) submitted by Franziska  from Berlin):

The current bus stop plan (bus line 916 express) and you get off at the 15th stop of Hairou Bei Da Jie 怀柔北大街 from right to left and vice versa if you go back .

The 916 express runs every couple of minutes, so there is not much waiting.  A lot of people get off at Huai Rou Bei Da Jie ( 怀柔北大街),  so even if you don’t speak Chinese, you’ll know when to get off.

Basically, the bus makes a couple stops in Beijing after leaving Dongzhimen, then doesn’t make any stops for a long time, until it gets to Huai Rou District, where it makes stops every couple of minutes. After a handful of those stops, you’ll be at Huai Rou Bei Da Jie ( 怀柔北大街).

For each stop, Bus 916 Express will announce the name of the bus stop both  in English and Chinese. But only the Chinese stops will be shown on the electronic screen on the front of your bus, and make sure you get off at the 15th stop of Huai Rou Bei Da Jie ( 怀柔北大街).

The following bus interior photo shows the Chinese name of the bus station “Huai Rou Bei Da Jie” ( 怀柔北大街) where you should get off. The photo was provided by Franziska  from Berlin.

The electric bus stop screen shows the stop is Huairou Bei Da Jie (怀柔北大街)

After you get off, you will see there is an official bus stop sign for Huai Rou Bei Da jie ( 怀柔北大街)  now as shown in the picture below:

The picture of Huairou Bei Da Jjie Stop taken by Roxanne & Maartje

Huai Rou Bei Da jie ( 怀柔北大街) Station is located by the sidewalk in front of the large governmental building (Beijing Huai Rou Department of Civil Affairs) 民政局.

You get off the 15th stop pf Beidajie ( North Street ) by the side of the large governmental building.
You get off the 15th stop of Huairou Bei Da Jie by the side road in front of  the massive governmental building (Beijing Huairou Department of Civil Affairs) 民政局

Google maps location of where you need to get off at Huairou Bei Da Jie at Bus 916 express in front of the large governmental building (Beijing Huairou Department of Civil Affairs) 民政局

Google maps location of where you need to get off the 916 express.

Note:
1) The bus fare is 12 yuan. Be ready for the small amount of money to pay for the bus fare. You get ready for the small money and often they don’t have the change. If you have a transportation card, you just swipe, and you are entitled to half price.
2) Try to get to the 916 Express bus stop as early as possible to beat the crowds on the Great Wall. The first bus leaves at 5:50 am.
3) You should get off at the 15th stop of Huai Rou Bei Da Jie ( 怀柔北大街)  There is a bus stop sign for Huai Rou Bei Da Jie ( 怀柔北大街)

3) Connecting Bus H23 for Mutianyu ( 18 km – 50 Minutes Drive)

Once you get off 916 express Bus, you have two options for next transport to your destination – Mutianyu Great Wall: Connect the local bus H23 ; or take a local taxi for Mutianyu.

Local buses for Mutianyu

You can continue to take Bus H23 for Mutianyu Great Wall. The Bus Stop for Bus H23 is just across where you get off Bus 916 express at Huai Rou Bei Da Jie ( 怀柔北大街). Important notice:  This Bus Stop for Bus H23 is the same bus stop area for 916 Express back to Beijing.

By the way, on your 916 Express back to Beijing, there are two kinds of 916 buses here, the express and the normal one. Take the express one! The express 916 bus is recognizable because it has 2 Chinese characters after the number. The return 916 bus leave you in a different place. After leaving the bus you have to continue and turn right and you will be in the Dongzhimen entrance where you started.

For easy memory,  the location of the bus stop H23 is just in front of the China Mobile Building ( Keep in mind that this is the same bus stop for 916 Express back to Beijing).

Kindly reminder:  basically you need to wait for quite some time before you can get on Bus h23.

The picture is taken by Roxanne & Maartje

Cost 3 yuan paid to ticket lady on the bus. The Bus  h23 is green and there is a blue cardboard sign in the window next to the driver saying h23. The sign on the bus H23 are very small.

You should pay attention to the place – Mutianyu Roundabout (慕田峪环岛) where you get off.  The easier way to identify Mutianyu Roundabout stop is a big aqueduct bridge over it.

Google maps location of where you need to get off h23:

There are totally 41 stops for Bus H23, keep in mind that you will alight at the 17th stop of Mutianyu Roundabout (慕田峪环岛)

Mutianyu Roundabout is recognizable because of the big aqueduct bridge overhead.

The Bus H23 runs the route between Yujiayuan ( 于家园) and Tiekuangyu (铁矿峪) passing by Beidajie ( Huairou ) and Mutianyu Roundabout.

You may show your bus driver the Chinese characters “我要去慕田峪长城” ( I want to go to Mutianyu Great Wall) and the driver will remind you of the stop when the bus arrives at Mutianyu Roundabout (慕田峪环岛).

A photo of the Mutianyu Roundabout, it is recognizable because of the big aqueduct bridge overhead.

You can see both sides of the H23 bus stop. The right side is the arriving stop and the left one, where the people is standing, is the returning one.

Basically you need to walk about 310 meters to get to the ticketing office of Mutianyu Great Wall Scenic Area.

The Picture below shows the bus station of Bus H23 at Mutianyu Roundabout:

Bus H23 at Mutianyu Roundabout ( Photo by Franziska  from Berlin )

Note:
1. Download the Moovit app, it will show you the timetable of bus H23, H24, etc going to and from Mutianyu. In my experience, it takes 10-15 minutes interval for bus H23.

2. You can use your Yikatong card to pay for H23 bus and it costs 2 RMB each way.

3. If you don’t know which stop to take off and you can’t see the landmark in Mutianyu Roundabout, you can pin the address in Google Map and just check the app to see if you’re near your stop.

4) Transfer to Mutianyu by Taking a Local Taxi ( 18km – Half Hour Drive)

When getting off Bus 916 express at Beidajie ( North Street ), alternatively you can choose to take a local taxi directly bringing you to the ticketing box offices at Mutianyu.

The fact is that the moment you get off Bus 916, you will be approached by “black taxi drivers”.  We suggest you use the official metered taxis. Most of the official taxi drivers would stay inside their taxis and wait for customers ( maybe they don’t want to have any conflicts with black drivers).

Most of the Huairou official taxis are waiting by the side of the governmental building known as Beijing Huairou Department of Civil Affairs) 民政局. They use meters and the taxi ride costs about 42 yuan per taxi.

Huairou Local Taxi
Huairou Local Taxi

Taxi transfer is fast and comfortable.

Taxi transfer is fast and comfortable.
Taxi transfer is fast and comfortable.

When you arrive at Mutianyu, you should ask for a printed receipt which shows the taxi fare, distance and timing.

Printed Taxi Bill ( Receipt ).
Printed Taxi Bill ( Receipt ).

If you cannot find any official taxis by the governmental building,  just wait for a while and they will definitely will come back after their business.

Black taxi drivers will charge you about 50 yuan for the ride plus 20 yuan for so-called parking fee at Mutianyu. Actually, Mutianyu official parking lot offers free parking within 20 minutes.

Huairou Taxi Hotline: 69651168
Huairou Taxi Complaint: 60697889

5 ) Going Back to Beijing

At the end of your Mutianyu visit, just retrace on the same travel route.  Alternatively you can make use of the daily 4 pm departure fixed direct shuttle bus going from Mutianyu directly back to Beijing. The Mutianyu Direct Shuttle Bus starts from P1 ( Parking No.01 ) at the parking area of Mutianyu Great Wall Scenic Area.

Mutianyu Great Wall Shuttle Schedule
Leaving at 4:00 pm at Parking No.01 at Mutianyu (景区P1停车场)
Bus Fare: 30 yuan ( One Way) Dont’ Accept transportation cards
How to buy tickets: On board the bus
Note: Ticket selling starts half hour before departure. Full and go. You have to get there earlier to secure a seat.

If you miss the bus or your travel time doesn’t fit into the shuttle schedule,
you may  have the following options for your transfer from Mutianyu to the 916 express bus stop at Huairou.

1) Walk from Mutianyu Great Wall Service Area to the Mutianyu Roundabout and take the h23 back as well. Stops opposite to where you drops off. You can flag it down if you are not  sure if it would have stopped.

2) Take an official taxi from the parking lot of Mutianyu Great Wall Service Area to 916 express bus stop at Huairou. But , it is not easy to find an official taxi back to Beidajie Huairou since it seems that the official taxis are outnumbered by black taxis. In addition, most of the black taxi drivers are local people. Basically people are not willing to offend them. You just wait until you see someone drops off and hail the same taxi back.

3) If you have to take a black taxi back ( not recommended ), you should bargain with them. Take a “black taxi” at the parking lot bringing you back to 916 express bus stop at Huairou ( a choice of no choice).

By the way, when back to the Express Bus 916,  there are two kinds of 916 buses, the express and the normal one. Take the express one! The express 916 bus is recognizable because it have 2 Chinese characters after the number. The return 916 bus leave you in a different place. After leaving the bus you have to continue and turn right and you will be in the Dongzhimen entrance where you started.

How to Visit Mutianyu Great Wall

1. Buying Your Tickets at Tourist Service Building

The large tourist service center mainly consists of ticketing offices, toilets, a Great Wall exhibition hall and a large tourist information hall where you can use ATM machine.

Mutianyu Tourist Service Building
Mutianyu Tourist Service Building

Price Information:
Entrance Fee Adults: 45 yuan ( 25yuan if you have valid student card)
Children between 1.2 meters and 1.4 meters in height: 25 yuan
Children less than 1.2 meters in height are free of charge
Cable Car:100 yuan(single way ); 120 yuan ( return )
Chairlift + toboggan : 100 yuan(single way ); 120 yuan ( return )
Cable car up + toboggan down: 100 +100 = 200 yuan.
Ferry Shuttle Bus: 15 yuan ( shuttle from the ticketing office to the starting point of the 600-meter long ramp up to the chair-lift station, cable car station and the walking starting point up to the Wall.

Opening Hours:
April to October: 8:00 -17:00
November to March: 8:30-16:30

Important Notice:
Cable car up and down is operated by one company; while chair-lift up and down ( or toboggan down) are operated by another company. They sell their tickets separately through the same ticketing window. This is a tricky part in Mutianyu Great Wall.

A return ticket is cheaper. But if you are going to take cable car up and the toboggan down ( so you are using two different companies), you have to buy two single tickets. If you take the chair-lift up and the toboggan down, you are able to buy a return ticket. This is a tricky part in Mutianyu Great Wall.

Cable car brings you up to the place below the 14th Watch Tower;
Chair-lift takes you up to the place below the 6th Watch Tower;
Walking up along the stone steps (like a mountain hike – 30 minute hike ) – to the 10th or 8th Watch Tower.

Note: After you get off the shuttle from the ticketing office, you still need to walk up a 600-meter long ramp leading to the cable car station. But on the way up, you will first come across the chair-lift ( toboggan ) station. They are different companies with separate accounts.

So it is up to you to decide whether you use cable car up and down, or chair-lift up and toboggan down, or cable up and toboggan down, or lastly just walk up to the summit for the Wall.

So once inside the wall area,  you have four choices with three prices:

1.Cable Car:100 yuan(single way ); 120 yuan ( return )
2.Chairlift + toboggan: 100 yuan(single way ); 120 yuan ( return )
3. Cable car up + toboggan down: 100 +100 = 200 yuan.
4. Walk up: free of Charge

Ferry Shuttle Bus: 15 yuan

Click the Map of Mutianyu Great Wall for more information.

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. The 23 watch towers are numbered from right (east) to left (west). The or 23rd tower is highest point of the Mutianyu Great Wall.

Wait in line at Ticketing Box Offices
Wait in line at Ticketing Box Offices

Note: Two different companies operate cable car and chairlift (toboggan) separately. You either choose cable or chairlift (toboggan).  The ticketing staff will ask you which you prefer, cable car or chairlift ( or toboggan down )?

If you have strong legs and prefer to hike up to the Great Wall, you can do the hiking without using the service of cable car or chairlift.

On the right side of the Tourist Service Building is the Exhibition Hall for Great Wall Culture, a brief introduction to the Great Wall of China and Mutianyu Great Wall in particular.

 Exhibitional Hall for Great Wall Culture
Exhibition Hall for Great Wall Culture

The large service center building where you can use ATM machine.

The large service center building where you can use ATM machine
The large service center building where you can use ATM machine

Clean and modern toilet.

Clean and modern toilet
Clean and modern toilet

2. Taking a ferry Shuttle Bus  ( 2.5km ) to the Starting Points for the Mutianyu Great Wall

At the ticketing box office, you are required to buy a 15 yuan ferry shuttle bus. From the tourist service center, you till need to walk about 200 meters to get to the shuttle bus terminal.

The road leading to the Shuttle Bus Terminal is lined with restaurants and vendor stalls.
The road leading to the Shuttle Bus Terminal is lined with restaurants and vendor stalls.

The 200-meter road leading to the shuttle bus terminal is lined with restaurants on the left side and vendors on the right side.

You have the choices of King Burger, Pizza, and Chinese food and more. Bottled water on the vendor stalls here is much cheaper ( 3 yuan per bottle ) than that sold up on the Wall ( 15 yuan per bottle ).

The 5-minute free shuttle ride brings you to the area close to the starting points for Visiting Mutianyu Great Wall.

Ferry Shuttle Bus
Ferry Shuttle Bus

3. Three Ways to Go up to Mutianyu Great Wall

When you get off the ferry shuttle bus, you need to walk along an accessible stone path (600 meters long ) leading up first to the entrance area for chairlift ( or toboggan down ), second to the walking path up to the Wall and last to the area for cable car up to the Wall respectively.

The Cable Car Station is at the end of the 600-meter stone slope. That said, there are three ways to go up to Mutianyu Great Wall.

The Cable Car Station
The Cable Car Station

1) Taking a chairlift to the Great Wall – to the 6th Watch Tower ( or take a toboggan down).
2) Walking up the Great Wall along the stone steps (like a mountain hike – 30 minute hike ) – to the 10th or 8th Watch Tower
3) Taking a cable car up to the Great Wall – to the 14th Watch Tower
Click the Map of Mutianyu Great Wall for more information.

Note:
1) 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.

2) The 23 watch towers are numbered from right (east) to left (west). The 23rd tower is highest point of the Mutianyu Great Wall.

Mutianyu Great Wall in summer

Mutianyu Great wall in summer
Mutianyu Great wall in summer
4293-20011

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.

4. The accessible paths in Mutianyu Great wall

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 steep accessible ramp at Mutianyu Great Wall
The steep accessible ramp at Mutianyu Great Wall

But unfortunately, the accessible ramp leading from the upper cable station to the platform below the 14th watch tower is too steep, very much challenging for wheelchair users.

Note:
Badaling Great Wall is more wheelchair user-friendly. 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. Click: How to Visit Great Wall of China Wheelchair Accessible.

5. Newest Updated:

The blue taxi cabs are not allowed to wait and collect passengers at Mutianyu. Not sure what happened, but didn’t find a single cab while returning from Mutianyu and the office closed. There were several people asking me to board their taxi or minibus. I walked to the public bus stop and i waved down a passing blue cab. He was worried that someone might notice my getting into his cab.

6. Possible Tourist Scams at Dongzhimen Public Transport Hub and fake bus staffers on Bus 916

————————-
A fake official bus station employee (‘friendly lady”- don’t trust her) told us to take the Bus 980 because it would be a shorter ride and that we should get off at the 4th stop. At the 4th stop, there was an older man waiting with a “black taxi”. It was all planned. He was just waiting for us so we were pretty sure that the lady and him were working together.

We ended up taking the bus back to Beijing. He was not gonna get our money, that’s for sure.
So we lost a couple of hours there, unfortunately.

———————–

Hi, your instructions are great – followed them and got to Mutianyu and back without any problems. I can confirm, that a few stops before Beidajie Stop a man in a uniform very similar to public transportation uniform entered the bus and said, that those, who was going to the Great Wall should leave here.

There was lot’s of black taxis on that stop as well. I didn’t leave the bus and continued to go, and get off at  Beidajie Stop where I took a metered taxi without any problem.

On the way back two metered taxis were waiting right on the roundabout. But I also found out, that now it’s possible to get DiDi app in English, so if there is no taxi, but one has mobile internet – the one can be ordered by DiDi without any problem.

Add-on

How to Visit Great Wall of China
How to Get to Badaling Great Wall by Train
How to Get to Badaling Great Wall by Bus
How to Get to Simatai Great Wall & Gubei Water Town
How to Visit Mutianyu Great Wall
How to Visit Great Wall of China in Winter
How to Visit Great Wall of China Wheelchair Accessible

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:

Car Rental in Beijing
Beijing Day Tour
Beijing Tour Packages
Great Wall Tour
Beijing Winter Tour
Beijing Tour
China City Tours
China Tour

Further Readings


Best Time to Visit Beijing
How to plan a trip to Beijing

Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
Top 10 Tourist Scams 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.

Why Burn Incense at a Chinese Temple

Wednesday, August 18th, 2021
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Plan your Beijing tour? Visiting a buddhist temple in Beijing or other parts of China helps you understand the Chinese traditional culture and religion.

Check ou my another article How to Visit Lama Temple for more information.

Buddhist temples to Chinese are akin to churches to the western people. Very often around a temple there are plentiful street front stores selling incenses. Some itinerant incense hawks are trying to pester you into buying incense sticks. So why burn incenses?

A foreign Buddhist at Lama Temple in Beijing

The reasons behind the burning of incenses are manifold. One factor is that Buddha would appear in the smoke produced by burning incenses. In other words, the smoke is a soul link between worshippers and the Buddha.

Yonghe Hall ( Hall of Harmony and Peace ) is the main palace in the temple

Incense burning reminds people to burn themselves, to give, and to sacrifice though many people still burn for money, for love, for health and the list could be much longer.

There is a Chinese saying that goes like this: 命由己造,福由己求 which literally means “Our fate and happiness are made by ourselves, not given by the Buddha or somebody else”.

A huge incense burner is vertically placed with incense sticks burnt by worshippers

A huge incense burner
A huge incense burner
Giving or requesting
Giving or requesting
Burning incenses for good scores
Burning incenses for good scores
People have their own reasons for incense stick burning.
People have their own reasons for incense stick burning.

Add on

Top 10 Mosques in Beijing
Top 10 Buddhist Temples in Beijing
How to Visit Lama Temple in Beijijng
Catholic Mass Times Beijing
Top 10 Religious Sites in Beijing
Beijing Religion Tour

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:

Car Rental in Beijing
Beijing Day Tour
Beijing Tour Packages
Great Wall Tour
Beijing Winter Tour
Beijing Tours
China City Tours
China Tour

Further Readings


How to Plan a Trip to Beijing
Best Time to Visit Beijing

Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
Top 10 Tourist Scams Beijing
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
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 Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

Top 10 Markets in Beijing
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing
Beijing Shopping

Wangfujing Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions, just drop a line.