Archive for the ‘Travel Tips’ Category

Hike from Gubeikou Great Wall to Jinshanling Great Wall

Friday, August 6th, 2021
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My co-worker Paul Song and I successfully made a six-hour trek from Gubeikou Great Wall to Jinshanling Great Wall. It is our first time hiking Gubeikou Great Wall and marching from Gubeikou Great Wall to Jinshanling Great Wall on the same day.

Idyllic Drive from downtown Beijing to Gubeikou Great Wall

It was a great experience! I’m going to jot down the six-hour hiking, which may be useful for those who are also planning their trip to Gubeikou Great Wall and the most challenging tramp from Gubeikou to Jinshanling as well.

At 7:30am we three, including our driver – Mr.Liu, started for Gubeikou. We drove along Jingcheng Expressway (Beijing – Chengde Expressway) and got off the expressway at Exit 24 (Simatai Great Wall Exit). After paying the toll fee (RMB 60 for a van ), we turned left at the first traffic light, which is just about 100 meters away from the toll gate.

Guibeikou Great Wall about 135km northeast of downtown Beijing

Not long, we came across a traffic sign board pointing to two directions – Simatai Great Wall (2.5km) and G101. So if you are going to visit Simatai Great Wall, then you turn right at the traffic sign board; For going to Gubeikou Great Wall,  follow your nose and drive along G101 (National Highway No. 101), which leads to Gubeikou.

The 10km-drive from Exit 24 of Jingcheng Expressway to G101 is very idyllic. We passed through several villages before we got to G101 linking Gubeikou County. It was another 10km’s drive along G101 before we arrived at the Gubeikou Village at the foot of Gubeikou Great Wall. The total 135km drive took us about 2 hours.

ABC of Gubeikou

Googling “Gubeikou Great Wall”, there are tons of articles introducing Gubeikou Great Wall on the internet, but most of them are quite confusing and misleading! It seems that few of the writers have been here, contributing to the puzzling articles about Gubeikou Great Wall on the net.

At the gate of Gubeikou Village we met Mr. Wang Jian, the deputy of Gubeikou Scenic and Cultural Heritage Tourism. He said that in ancient times Gubeikou Great Wall was composed of the present four sections of the Great wall snaking from east to westm namely, Simatai Great Wall, Jinshanling Great Wall, Panlongshan Great Wall and Wohushan Great Wall extending over 20 kilometers with over 143 watch towers and beacon towers.

The name of “Gubeikou” has existed for over one thousand years while other four names of “Simatai Great Wall”, “Jinshanling Great Wall”, “Panlongshan Great Wall” and “Wohushan Great Wall” only appeared some 20 years ago when local governments were keen on developing Great wall tourism and making different names for the “bits” of the Wall both from economic and administrative perspectives.

In a narrow sense, 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”.

Wohushan Great Wall & Panlongshan Great Wall

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 partially opened by the local government.  So when people talk about Gubeikou Great Wall, very often they refer to Panlongshan Great Wall, more popularly known as “Gubeikou Great Wall”.

Entrance to Gubeikou Great Wall

The entry to Panlongshan Great Wall is inside the Gubeikou Village under the administration of Gubeikou Township, which boasts one of the most beautiful villages around Beijing.

In fact, there are two starting points to hike Panlongshan Great Wall: an official one where you have your tickets collected; the other is more challenging starting point for more time-consuming and energy demanding hike. We chose the unofficial one. We paid RMB 25 each for the entry tickets, which later turned out to totally unnecessary since nobody bothered to collect our tickets higher on the mountains.

The painted blue arrow on the roadside is the starting point for our 6-hour long march.

Two parallel sections of the Great Wall

Before we did the hike, I had googled some information on Gubeikou Great Wall and learned that 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).

I think on our feet is the Northern Qi Dynasty Great Wall largely made of mud instead of stones in Ming dynasty. So for this section, we were more like climbing a hill than the Wall.

. So for this section, we were more like climbing a hill than the Wall.

Atop a mound, we had a clear view of the Wohushan Great Wall on our west side and the Gubeikou Township in the valley ( not Gubeikou Village). The Gubeikou Village was on the south down below.

Atop a mound, we had a clear view of the Wohushan Great Wall on our east side and the Gubeikou Township in the valley .

The Gubeikou Village was on the south down below.

The Gubeikou Village was on the south down below.

The Ming Dynasty Wall in the north runs shoulder to shoulder to the Qi dynasty Wall under our feet.

The Ming Dynasty Wall in the north runs shoulder to shoulder to the Qi Dyansty Wall under our feet.

A sign board and a painted blue arrow pointing to the way to the Ming Dynasty Wall snaking on the hill in the north. Thus we ended our hike on the Qi Dynasty Wall and started to walk down, hike through the deep valley and climb up to the Ming dynasty Wall at a distance.

A sign board and a painted blue arrow pointing to the way to the Ming Dynasty Wall.

At first, we were a little scared of the trek in the deep valley up to the hill in the north where the paralleled Ming Dynasty Great Wall lies. But the trek turned out to be a highlight.

On the zigzag mountain trail and in the bushes, we came across lots of jujube and hawthorn trees laden with fruits. Eating fresh fruits added much delight to the dull and hard walk in the valley.

we came across lots of jujube and hawthorn trees laden with fruits.

It took us half an hour to clear of the bushy valley and up on to the Ming Dynasty Great Wall.

It took us half hour to clear of the bushy valley and up on to the Ming Dynasty Great Wall.
On the Wall
On the Wall

I took a stereotyped photo before the Coiled Dragon Mountain Great Wall ( Panlongshan Great Wall).

The wall is a piece of art
Trek ahead on the Wall

This is the last watch tower: 24-window tower, also the end of the accessible Panlongshan Great Wall. The further section of the Wall is forbidden for hiking for it is within the military zone.

This is the last watch tower: 24-window tower.

The further section of the Wall is forbidden for hiking for it is within the military zone. So up to now the hiking of the whole accessible section of Panlongshan Great Wall took us three hours!

The further section of the Wall is forbidden for hiking for it is within the military zone. So up to now the hiking of the whole accessible section of Panlongshan Great Wall took us three hours!

We had to make a detour by the forbidden wall, again went down to the deep valley and began our three-hour mountain hike along the Wall.

We had to make a detour by the forbidden wall, again went down to the deep valley and began our three-hour mountain hike along the Wall

This was our second valley trek, which turned out to be much tougher and challenging than the previous one. We were totally submerged in the bushes. The mountain trail was muddy and slippery.

The mountain trail was muddy and slippery.

Coming across a corn field. We saw some local farmer collected ripe corns.

Coming across a corn field. We saw some local farmers collecting ripe corns.

On the way, we also met a local farmer surnamed Zhou. He was herding sheep. He said he could serve as a guide to help us to get to our destination – Jinshanling Great Wall and the Jinshanling Hotel.

He gave his mobile – 13313283029. So next time if you are in trouble finding your way to Jinshanling, you can call him by paying him a small sum of money.

On the way, we also met a local farmer surnamed Zhou.

He was right! Ahead of us there was no arrows pointing to the right direction to our destination. It was a private farmland and marks are not allowed! We totally lost our way and had to turn to a local farmer for help.

We totally lost our way and had to turn to a local farmer for help.

We were making the road toward our destination – Jinshanling Hotel.

We were making the road toward our destination – Jinshanling Hotel

Climbed over the last mountain, we saw Jinshanling Hotel in the valley. We made it!

Climbed over the last mountain, we saw Jinshanling Hotel in the valley. We made it!

Continue to Hike Jinshanling Great Wall

Finally we ended our 6-hour hellish march from Gubeikou Great Wall to Jinshanling Great Wall  at 5:00pm. But it’s not the end for us, it’s a new beginning since our next travel plan was to watch the sunset on the Great Wall, or specifically on the Jinshanling Great Wall. We were reminded by the ticket collector that the sun would drop below the horizon or the Wall in 20-30 minute! if missing the sunset, we would  have to wait for next day, which was impossible due to my heavy schedule.

Not allowing ourselves to take a short break, we had to restart our walking engine and quickened the walking speed, trying to occupy a better place on the wall to view the sunset. More haste,less speed!  I suddenly felt trembling and twitching in the legs muscles as a result of the broken balance of the continued walking speed in the past 6 hours. I had to stop, bended and sat on the roadside massaging my two legs.

The temptation of capturing the glowing sunset was so great, that I had no time to spoil myself and limped with lame legs from the entrance to the base of Jinshanling Great Wall. While again clambering up the wall, I was out of breath and pooped. Perseverance is victory! I passed through 4 watch towers on the west section of Jinshanling Great Wall non-stop and located a good site for my sunset photographing.

There had been already a great number of people dotting here and there on the “bits” of the Wall waiting to see and shoot beautiful sunset photos. Most of them were professional photographers heavily armed with high quality cameras, outperforming my EOS 500D to a great extent, of which I took pride. Compared with these “crazy” photographers, I appeared like a silly farm boy. But this never dampened my enthusiasm to view the sunset with my good eyesight as well as my clumsy shooting skill.

The sun slowly descended and disappeared behind the horizon combined with the mountains and the Wall in a distance, a perfect backdrop for a sunset. The dazzling sunset color bursts and paints the sky with bright hues. I pictured the sunsets through a window of a watch tower. The sunset was amazing. The red ball of fire slowly dropped below the mountains coating the Wall with dazzling and beautiful hues.

Mountains and the Wall as a backdrop for the sunset
A framed Great Wall sunset
The Wall was coated with orange hues
Armed photographers on the Wall
The Wall overlooking the sunset

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 9: 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

Visit Badaling Great Wall by Train
Visit Mutianyu Great Wall by Bus

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

Further Readings


How to Plan a Trip to 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.

Hike from Jiankou Great Wall to Mutianyu Great Wall

Friday, August 6th, 2021
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Plan your scenic hike from Jiankou Great Wall to Mutianyu Great Wall? There are tons of online trip reports on the incredible steepness of the Upward Flying Eagle Tower to Tianti (Sky Ladder) and Beijing Knot along Jiankou Great Wall.

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 on Jiankou Great Wall ( 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 unopened 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.  See more travel tips for your great wall walk below:

Travel Tips

1. Things to take: good shoe wear, sticks, cap, sun-glasses, sunscreen, bottles of water, snacks, pocket knife, lip balm and first aid kit.
2. Use toilets at the entrance of the Wall. No toilets on the hiking route. Please always carry toilet paper.
3. Carry bottles of water in your travel bags.
4. Wear pants and long-sleeves even in summer to hike through jungles and bushes.
5. Be a green and responsible hiker, taking nothing but photos and leaving nothing but footprint.
6. Avoid bad or extreme weathers: rain, storm, lightening and foggy days.
7. Use a local tour guide and a local villager as your guide.
8. Mobile phoneOn Nov 26 (Tue), 2013 ( Beijing Time UTC+8),  we, a group of five from Tour Beijing, had a fam trip from Xizhazi Village, up to Zhengbeilou (Jiankou Great Wall), on to Mutianyu Great Wall.

Now please follow us to see and feel the walk from Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall.

The weather on On Nov 26

Clear

Temperature: -5℃ – 7℃
PM-10: 15
Humidity: 19%
Wind:   North Breeze
Sunrise: 07:11am
Sunset: 04:52pm
Historical Data:  Historical Climate Data for November  in Beijing

A Brief Introduction to Xizhazi Village

Xizhazi Village  is often chosen as the starting point for scaling up Jiankou Great Wall.  38km northwest of Huairou and and 120km north of downtown Beijing.

Xizhazi Village  is nestled in a valley north of Jiankou Great Wall and south of Heitou Mountain ( 1534 m sea-level ), the highest mountain in the northern Beijing within the Heituo Scenic Area. So entering Xizhazi Village, you have to pay entrance fee RMB 20 for Heitio Scenic Area ( But the ticket doesn’t mention Jiankou Great Wall.).

“Xizhazi” literally means “west wooden palisades”. The village is such named because in the past it used “wooden palisades” as a village wall. Xizhazi Village was formed around Mid-Qing Dynasty (1368 – 1644) with a sea-level of 615m.

Xizhazi Village has 6 natural sub-villages:

Team 1 Xizhazi: Nangou Village
Team 2 Xizhazi: Nanjili Village ( up to Zhengbeilou Tower )
Team 3 Xizhazi: Qianzhazi Village
Team 4 Xizhazi: Houzhazi Village
Team 5 Xizhazi: Jiushuikeng Village ( up to the Upward Flying Eagle Tower ), not recommended.
Team 6 Xizhazi: Duishi Village

Scaling the moutain up to the Zhengbeilou Tower, you start from Nanjili Village ( Team 2 0f Xizhazi Village ); scaling the mountain up to the Upward Flying Eagle Tower and Tianti (Sky Ladder), you start from Jiushuikeng Village (Team 5 of Xizhazi Village).

2 Hours Drive from Downtown Beijing to Xizhazi Village

It is a 2.5-hour drive from downtown Beijing to Xizhazi Village.  First drive along Jingxcheng Expressway and get off at the Exit 14. Then drive along Fanqi Road (范崎路) for about 27km, passing by Mountain Bar (山吧), and several hills till turning left at the head of Badaohe Bridge (八道河桥).

Then continue to drive about 4km along the mountain road before getting to the entrance gate at Xizhazi Village for Heituo Scenic Area ( 黑坨山景区), entrance fee: RMB 20.

Jiankou Great Wall about 96km north of downtown Beijing

A tourist toilet by the entrance gate. We are going to start from Nanjili Village ( Team 2 of Xizhazi Village),  so we continue to drive till seeing a signboard at the fork road and turn left, soon we get to Nanjili Village.

Nanjili is a small village at the foot of Jiankou Great Wall with 6-7 families. Some of them offer homestays: 13436827632 Huzi Family. A trodden dirt road behind the village leads up to the mountain.

First drive along Jingxcheng Expressway and get off at the Exit 14. Then drive along Fanqi Road (范崎路) for about 27km.

Getting to the entrance gate at Xizhazi Village for Heituo Scenic Area ( no mentioning of Jiankou Great Wall).

The entrance gate at Xizhazi Village
Nanjili is a small village at the foot of Jiankou Great Wall with 6-7 families.
Xizhazi Village at the foot of Jiankou Great Wall
 Scramble along a narrow and steep bushy mountain path
Scramble along a narrow and steep bushy mountain path
Zhengbeilou Tower is insight.
Zhengbeilou Tower is insight.
Hike up Zhengbeilou through a wooden ladder
Hike up Zhengbeilou through a wooden ladder

Standing on the top of Zhengbeilou Tower, you able to have a panoramic view of the Upward Flying Eagle Tower, Sky Ladder and Beijing Knot in the west.

A panoramic view of the Upward Flying Eagle Tower, Sky Ladder and Beijing Snot in the west.
A panoramic view of the Upward Flying Eagle Tower, Sky Ladder and Beijing Snot in the west.

Have a close look at the Upward Flying Eagle Tower, Sky Ladder

Have a close look at the Upward Flying Eagle Tower, Sky Ladder
Have a close look at the Upward Flying Eagle Tower, Sky Ladder

On the northeast,  you will clearly see the Upturn “U” Wall –  the Ox Horn Edge Wall.  Taking a photo with the Ox Horn Edge as a backdrop.

Taking a photo with the Ox Horn Edge as a backdrop
Taking a photo with the Ox Horn Edge as a backdrop

2 Hours hike from Zhengbeilou Tower (Sharp North Tower) to the restored Mutianyu Great Wall.

It is a scenic hike from Zhengbeilou to the 23th tower of Mutianyu Great Wall.  Along the way, we suggest you avoid hiking the Ox Horn Edge Wall ( an upturn “U” form of the Great Wall) which is crumbling and treacherous.

The plants, grasses and large bushes grow here along  the “U” section of the Wall, leaving only small paths to walk through. If you insist in scrambling the Ox Horn Edge Wall, it will take another one hour hiking.

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 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 relatively 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, twists and turns. In 2 hours, you will reach the 23rd watch tower,  the final restored tower on Mutianyu Great Wall in the west starting from the first watch tower in the east.

The impressive scene viewed from the gate of Zhengbeilou Tower

The impressive scene viewed from the gate of Zhengbeilou Tower
The impressive scene viewed from the gate of Zhengbeilou Tower

Zhengbeilou seen from the east side

Zhengbeilou seen from the east side
Zhengbeilou seen from the east side

Walking along the rugged brickwork to the east direction

Walking along the rugged brickwork to the east direction
Walking along the rugged brickwork to the east direction

We decide to give up the hike along the Ox Horn Edge Wall for safety and time reasons.

We decide to give up the hike along the Ox Horn Edge Wall
We decide to give up the hike along the Ox Horn Edge Wall

We walk off the wall and take a short cut by walking a dirt path linking the other side of the Wall ( just 5 minutes walk).

We walk off the wall and take a short cut by walking a dirt path
We walk off the wall and take a short cut by walking along a dirt path

The wall was built of  massive stone and slabs

The wall was built of massive stone and slabs
The wall was built of massive stone and slabs

This tower is ruined with broken walls.

This tower is ruined with broken walls.
This tower is ruined with broken walls.

We are walking through the dense bushes and many soil-grown obstacles,which force us to follow a narrow crumbling path on the totally unrestored wall.

We are walking through the dense bushes
We are walking through the dense bushes

A drainage ditch used to drain rain from the wall

A drainage ditch used to drain rain from the wall
A drainage ditch used to drain rain from the wall

The masonry and mortar clearly seen on the unrestored wall.

The masonry and mortar clearly seen on the unrestored wall.
The masonry and mortar clearly seen on the unrestored wall.

The slabs paved steps and floor on the wall

The slabs paved steps and floor on the wall
The slabs paved steps and floor on the wall

We are walking towards Mutianyu Great Wall

We are walking towards Mutianyu Great Wall
We are walking towards Mutianyu Great Wall

1.5 Hours on Mutianyu Great Wall and downhill

In 1,5 – 2 hours, you will reach the restored section of the Great Wall at Mutianyu.  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 (23rd tower) in the west,which is linked to Jiankou Great Wall.

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.

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.

In 2 hours, we reach the 23rd watch tower, the western tip of Mutianyu Great Wall.

we reach the 23th watch tower, the western tip of Mutianyu Great Wall
we reach the 23rd watch tower, the western tip of Mutianyu Great Wall

Walking down the wall

Walking down the wall
Walking down the wall

Continue to walk down

Continue to walk down
Continue to walk down

Walk down from the 20th tower to the 19th tower

Walk down from the 20th tower to the 19th tower
Walk down from the 20th tower to the 19th tower

We are moving to the 14th tower and 10th tower.  You can take a cable car downhill at the cable station below the 14th tower. Or walk downhill from the 10th tower or 8th tower. Or you may walk to the 6th tower to take a chairlift or toboggan downhill.

We are moving to the 14th tower and 10th tower
We are moving to the 14th tower and 10th tower

Below the 14th tower is a large platform with a special accessible lane from the cable station.

The 13th Tower on Mutianyu Great Wall

The 13th Tower on Mutianyu Great Wall
The 13th Tower on Mutianyu Great Wall

We are getting off the 10th tower and walking down the hill, finishing our fam trip from Jiankou to Mutianyu.

We are getting off the 10th tower and walking down the hill
We are getting off the 10th tower and walking down the hill

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


Travel Tip:  Hassle-free Jiankou 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
Hiking Cross the Wild Great Wall at Shixiaguan

Further Readings


How to Plan a Trip to 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 Get to Gubei Water Town & Simatai Great Wall

Thursday, August 5th, 2021
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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 Gubei Water Town & Simatai Great Wall in Beijing by using the local public transportation – bus and train. If anybody having used the piece finds necessary updates, please leave a message or feedback. Thanks!


Basically you have four ways by using the special shuttles, public buses and S5 trains going from the city core of Beijing to Gubei Water Town ( Simatai ) or vice versa.

Gubei Water Town (Simatai) about 143 km northeast of downtown Beijing

1. Dongzhimen Outer Bus Terminal 东直门外场站

Beijing Dongzhimen Outer — Gubei Water Town ( Simatai) Shuttle

Dongzhimen Outer Bus Compound Station

Bus fare: 48 yuan
Distance:
134 km
Time:
120 Minutes

Starting Point: Dongzhimen Outer Bus Compound ( 东直门外车场)
How to Get to Dongzhimen Outer Bus Compound ?
First get to Dongzhimen Transport Hub, then walk along Dongzhimen Outer Street ( 东直门外大街)for about 100 meters, the turn left ( north); walk along Dongzhimenwaixie Street (东直门外斜街)for about 420 meters; then you come across Xiangheyuan South Street (香河园南街) on your left side. Dongzhimen Outer Bus Compound is just on the north of Xiangheyuan South Street.

A Bus Signboard for Gubei Water Town

Daily Departures: 
9:00am、12:00 am、03:30pm ( Mon – Fri)
9:00 am、11:00 am、12:00 am、02:00 pm、03:30 pm  ( Weekends & Public Holidays )

Returning Point: By the Gate of Gubei Water Town Tourist Dispatch Center 古北水镇景区游客集散中心门口(二号停车场)
Daily Departures: 
11:00 am、12:00 am、04:00 pm、09:00 pm ( Mon – Fri)
11:00am、01:00 pm、03:00 pm、05:00 pm、07:00 pm、09:00 pm ( Weekends & Public Holidays )

Note: For going back,  you need to reserve your return tickets one hour in advance at the Tourist Center.  Then you take your reservation coupon to line up for the shuttle bus.

Note: There is however a private bus just outside which leaves at 8:30 for the same price ( updated by Sean).

2. Beijing Hub of Tourist Dispatch 北京旅游集散中心旅游大巴

Take the Shuttle Bus to Gubei Water Town (Simatai) by Beijing Hub of Tourist Dispatch北京旅游集散中心旅游大巴


Bus Fare:
RMB 50; Round Trip: 70 ( Only available on the same day )
Bus Ride Time:
3 Hours
Tickets: Buy your Tickets at Booth 1,  3 and 4 at the Bus Center at Qianmen

Starting Point: Get on your bus at Booth 2 of Beijing Hub of Tourist Dispatch atQianmen (前门),  south of Tiananmen Square
Daily Departure: 8:00 am ( Mon – Sun)

Returning Point: The Parking Lot of Gubei Water Town
Daily Departure: 03:30 pm

3. Taking Public Buses to Gubei Water Town 公交换乘

Take public bus No.980 from Dongzhimen Transportation Hub and get off the stop of Xidaqiao Miyun (密云西大桥站), then walk across the road and connect local bus  No.51 to Simatai Village, then walk to Gubei Water Town

Note:  Taking connected buses is very time-consuming, not recommended.

4. Take the S5 train

Take the S5 train, get off at Gubeikou Station, and take the ferry bus to Gubei Water Town 乘坐S5线列车

You can take the Beijing Suburb Railway Line S5 train starting from Beijing North Railway Station to Gubeikou Station, where you take the ferry bus to Gubei Water Town. The ferrybus is expected to cover the whole journey in 30 minutes, with a total distance of 15.5 km. Ticket price: 10 yuan/person/one-way.

Beijing North Railway Station

Gubeikou S5 train schedule

(Subject to change without prior notice)

Gubeikou Railway Station

If you have found the latest schedule, please leave a message to us, so that we can have it updated, for the convenience of f new tourists. Thank you!

There are 2 S5 trains daily between Beijing North Railway Station and Gubeikou Railway station

Beijing North Railway Station to Gubeikou Station:

S501 (06:58 – 09:24)

S503 (14:20 -16:52)

The S5 train returns from Gubeikou station to Beijing North Station

S502 (10:00 – 12:30)

S504 (17:20 – 19:52)

Note: There is a ferry bus connecting Gubeikou Station and Gubei Water Town (Simatai Great Wall). The whole shuttle journey is 15.5 km. The shuttle bus is expected to take 30 minutes.

Passengers on S5 train line can use the railway magnetic ticket, suburban railway card and China Railway Yintong card, as well as the Beijing municipal Transport Card to enter the station. Suburban Railway Line S5 supports swiping personal id card to get in and out of the station without collecting tickets.

Just a kind reminder

It is recommended that you buy an “all-in-one” transport card, similar to the Octopus card in Hong Kong, The Singapore Easy Pass, or the Oyster card from London, UK. The card can also be used to pay for Beijing taxis, Beijing buses, Beijing subways and S5 trains.

Some Basic Price Information on Gubei Water Town & Simatai Great Wall

1.  Gubei Water Town Entrance fee: RMB 150
Senior over 60 years old: Half Price

2. Opening Hours: 8:00- 17:00 (  ticket  selling till 16:30)

2. Simatai Great Wall: RMB 40  ( You need to book your ticket by phone one day in advance)
Ticket Booking Phone Number: 010 – 81009999

Note:
1.If you buy the ticket for Gubei Water Town, then you don’t need to book your Simatai Great Wall ticket one day in advance.
2. Gubei Water Town + Simatai Great Wall Combo Ticket: RMB 170
3. Cable car at Simatai Great Wall: RMB 80 (single); RMB120 (return)

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
Simatai Great Wall & Gubei Water Town Day Tour   
Beijing Day Tour
Beijing Tour Packages
Great Wall Tour
China City Tours
China Tour

Further Readings


How to Plan a Trip to 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.