Sleeping on the Great Wall, Camping on the Great Wall


Finally we ended our 6-hour hellish march from Gubeikou Great Wall to Jinshanling Great Wall  at 5:00pm, September 26, 2010. 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 had have to waited another 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 bette 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 limpped 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 apppeared like a silly farmboy. 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.
Sleeping on the Great Wall Tour
The Great Wall sleepover adventure can be your 2-day side trip from your whole Beijing or China trip. Overnight on the Wall under the stars or in a tent inside a watchtower, a unique and unforgettable life experience.

Camping on Jinshanling Great Wall 2 Day Tour from US$ 180
Sleeping on Jinshangling Great Wall 2 Day Tour from US$ 180
Overnight on Ruined Badaling Great Wall 2 Day Tour from US$ 150

Mountains and the Wall as a backdrop for the sunset


A framed Great Wall sunset
The Wall was coated with orange hues


Armed Phtographers on the Wall


The Wall overlooking the sunset
We were totally exhausted by the 6-hour trek plus one hour fighting for the sunset. I phoned Mr. Liu, our van driver, to drive the van to to the exit waiting for us and went for supper. Mr.Liu had found a nice local family run restaurant not far from the Jinshanling base. Hungry and dog-tired, we gulfed down everything eatable on the table – fried pie, fried Chinese cabbage, kebab, fried eggs and tofu cabbage soup with green bean noodle. Of course, firewater was a must – Erguotou! We three drank a bottle of Erguotou. No police here, Mr. Liu drank like a fish! He said he could manage the van for a safe driving.
Too much alcohol in the body, we decided to postpone our camping on the Great Wall to mid-night and took a break in the retaurant. Two hours later, our eyelids got heavier and heavier. We wanted sleep! Mr. Liu drove us to the base of Jinshanling Great Wall. Taking out the newly bought tent, including mates, sleeping bags, Paul Song and I again walked up the east section of the Wall looking for a place for camping.
We walked up the mountain to the Shalingkou Pass, then clambered up the Wall and turned right. The wall west of Shalingkou was less visited and few people would passed through, a perfect place for camping. It was a fine day with shooting stars all the sky. The bright moon was hanging over our heads. What a night! We made use of the flashing lights to put up the tent.
It was our fist time camping outside on the Great Wall. In, and burying oursleves in the sleeping bags, I had a feeling of going back to the years when I was a kid, coiled in a warm quilt in the cold winter. Calm, quite, peaceful, cozy, we soon fell asleep. Sleeping on the Great Wall was a pleasant experience. We were so close to the Wall, to the history and to the nature under the stary sky with a bright moon hanging high up.
Sleeping with a bright moon hanging high up.


Many the wall hikers got up early trying to cacth the sunrise
Around 5:00am, we were woken up by the noise of passing-by hikers who got up early trying to cacth the sunrise, I reluctantly unzipped my sleeping bag and prepared for shooting the sunrise. Not far from where we camped, up on to a square place on the wall. I stood on the square place facing east waiting for the sunrise. It was not the best place to watch the sunset on the Jinshanling Great Wall. The best site should be 4-5 towers west of Shayuling Pass, where a huge number of people standing there with cameras ready for shooting the sunrise.
Woken up by the noise of passing-by hikers who got up early trying to cacth the sunrise, I reluctantly unzipped my sleeping bag and prepared for shooting the sunrise.
A cozy tent
At 5:45 am, the sun slowly rose from the horizon of the mountains with the Great Wall as a backdrop. It was not as red as sunset last evening. The dawn began breaking, and
lightening the mountains and the Wall. The sunrise threw morning sunlight on pretty much anything. It was bright and surreal. 
The sun was breaking.

The sun was out.

2 thoughts on “Sleeping on the Great Wall, Camping on the Great Wall

  1. Have travel plans to China and would like to hike and camp on the wall for three days and two nights. is this something you can accommodate? the dates I will be in China are from 12-17 September 2013. Please let me know as soon as possible so I can complete my travel arrangements

  2. Hello Jack de los Santos,

    In the past people could camp on the Great Wall around Beijing. But now camping on the Great Wall is officially forbidden to tourists aimed at protecting the ancient Great Wall though there do happen some illegal campings on the Wall by some tourists in defiance of the official rule and regulations. Sorry, we cannot arrange your Great Wall campping. Alternatively, you can stay in an inn or hotel below or near the Great Wall.

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