How to Visit Ming Tombs in Beijing (updated 2021)

July 25th, 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 Ming Tombs in Beijing. If anybody having used the piece finds necessary updates, please leave a message or feedback. Thanks!

Ming Tombs Tourist Map from www.maps-of-china

Before we talk about how to visit Ming Tombs, people are more interested in knowing whether Ming Tombs are worth visiting. Well, as far as I know, people are quite divided on this. Some dislike; some feel they are ok and others say they are a must see. So different people with different cultural and social backgrounds have their own different opinions on the question.

For many visitors, the visiting of Ming Tombs is not as important as that of Forbidden City, Summer Palace and the Great Wall of China. It is not worth a separate trip.

But in my opinion, generally it is quite worth having a glimpse on a combined journey to or back from the Great Wall or Summer Palace since the location of Ming Tombs is quite accessible on the way to the sections of the Great Wall of China – Juyongguan, Badaling and Mutianyu, and also not far from Summer Palace.

Of course, their accessibility is not the only reason for being worth visiting. Listed as a UNESCO world cultural heritage, Ming Tombs provide people a kind of real experience. That tells why this place is a popular place for native Chinese, especially those who are attracted by its history.

If you are going to visit the Tombs, then how to visit them? What homework you should do before you come close to them? Maybe the following Ming Tombs travel tips will be useful for you:

Tip 1: Grab some basic knowledge

Ming Tombs here refers to the 13 tombs in Ming Dynasty where 13 out of 16 emperors in Ming Dynasty were buried successively there. There were totally 16 emperors in Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644 AD).

Why 13 emperors were buried there instead of 16?  Zhu Yuanzhang, the founder of the Ming Dynasty was buried in the Xiaoling Mausoleum in Nanjing; Zhu Yunwen, the Emperor Jianwen disappeared and Zhu Qiyu, the Emperor Jingtai was buried at Jinshan Hill in the western suburbs of Beijing. All other 13 Ming Emperors were buried in this tomb area, hence the area popularly being called the 13 Ming Tombs, or simply Ming Tombs.

Of all the 13 Ming Tombs, at present only 3 Ming Tombs are open to the public, namely Dingling, Changling and Zhaoling ( “ling” literally means “Tomb” in Chinese). So before you are going to visit Ming Tombs, you’d better know which of the 3 tombs you should visit, which are located separately quite a distance. The three tombs are also a little different in terms of ticket prices and value.

The three dimensional image of Ming Tombs (Picture Credit: mingtombs.com)

Of the 3 Ming Tombs opened to the public, only Dingling ( often called Underground Palace) has been excavated. There is down a long staircase into a chamber with some stone thrones and a few large plain red boxes which are the burial caskets in the so called underground palace.

Tip 2: Of the 3 tombs, which one you should visit?

Because all the 3 tombs are located separately quite a distance, usually you only have time to visit one of the three tombs. So which one? If you have no problem with your knees and feet, and are fairly good at walking, you are advised to visit Dingling – the underground Palace.

The Exhibition Building at Dingling Tomb
The tower at Dingling
The stela in the tower at Dingling.
The underground Palace in Dingling

You have a long walk from the Dingling Entrance before you get to the Tomb itself, where you walk 8 flights of stairs down. The walk to the tomb can be hard and long during high season, but normally takes about 15 minutes.

If you are wheelchair users or have some difficulty in walking, just forget Dingling, and choose Changling instead. Changling is the largest tomb of all the 13 Ming Tombs. There are a wide collection of artifacts and valubles unearthed from the tombs.

The Entrance to the Changling Tomb

Changling is the tomb where buried the Third Emperor Zhu Di with his queen Nee Xu. Changling is not excavated yet. But its grand hall on the ground is worth visiting. The construction of the hall started in 1409 and finished in 1427. As for Zhaoling, you can simply skip it since it is almost  renovated.

Tip 3: Sacred Way is highly recommended

For me, the best part of Ming Tombs tour is the walk down Sacred Way which is lined with large statues that are several hundred years old. These are huge statues of lions, camels, elephants, etc, and as well as stone statues of officials and officers, lining up on both sides of the Sacred Way.

To visit either Dingling or Changling, you’ll first pass by the Sacred Way, or “Spirit Way” leading into the complex of the 13 tombs.

Though the Sacred Way is supposed to be 7.3km. But don’t be afraid of its length. The highlight of the Sacred Way which you have to pay the entrance ticket to enter is only 800 meters long. So it is a 800-meter long walk.

Basically you enter the southern gate and exit from the northern gate. So if you have extra time, you are recommended first to visit the Sacred Way.

Dagongmen (大宫门)- Great Red Gate ( the southern gate )
The Sacred Way
The Statue of an Elephant
The Stone General on the Sacred Way

The Sacred Way is part of the Ming Tombs complex. Sacred Way means the road leading to heaven. The Emperor, known as the Son of the Heaven, who descended from Heaven to his country through the Sacred Road, also would return to Heaven through this way.

Tip 4: Admission fees and opening hours

Sacred and Ming Tombs are located in Changping District, about 50km north of Beijing.

Entrace Tickets

Dingling Tomb:  RMB 40 (November.01 – March. 31); RMB 60 (April. 01 – October. 31)
Changling Tomb: RMB 30 (November.01 – March. 31); RMB 45 (April. 01 – October. 31)    
Zhaoling Tombe: RMB 20 (November.01 – Machr. 31); RMB 30 (April. 01 – Oct. 31)
Sacred Way: RMB 25 (November.01 – Machr. 31); RMB 35 (April. 01 – Oct. 31)
Tickets selling till half an hour before closing time.

Opening Hours( Ticket selling time):

Dingling Tomb: 08:30 – 16:30
Changling Tomb: 08:30 – 16:30
Zhaoling Tomb 8:30 – 16:30
Sacred Way: 8:30 – 16:30

Tip 5: How to get there

Bus 872  Deshengmen Bus Terminal

The Bus 872 starts from Deshengmen Bus Station which is located on the north square of Deshengmen Arrow Tower (德胜们箭楼) lying on the mid-way of the northern second ring road. It is worth getting up earlier to catch an early morning Bus 872 for Ming Tombs.

How to  go to Deshengmen Bus Terminal

Several buses can bring you to the Deshengmen Bus Station. But the bus system in Beijing could be daunting even for the local Beijingers. It is advisable to take the Subway Line 2 to reach Deshengmen Bus Station. The the closest subway station to Deshengmen Bus Station is Jishuitan (积水潭) of the loop-type Subway Line 2.

You get off at the station of Jishuitan (积水潭), exit from the Exit A. Then walk along the sidewalk in the east direction for about 450 meters, soon you will see a high tower – the Deshengmen Arrow Tower. Deshengmen Bus Station is just below the northern side of the tower.

The compound of Deshengmen Arrow Tower is within a roundabout. So you have to cross a road to reach the bus station. You have to be careful crossing the road since the road has no traffic light at the time of my writing.

By the way, on your 450-meter walk from the subway station of Jishuitan to the Deshengmen Arrow Tower, you will pass alongside the Deshengmenxi Bus Station (different from Deshengmen Bus Station) and you just ignore it!

You will be also distracted by some privately owned buses or mini-buses operated in the name of official Badaling-bound buses. We strongly suggest you take the official buses within the Deshengmen Bus Station for safety and reasonable price.

Don’t be surprised if you find the queue in front of the bus 872, especially on the weekends or national public holidays.

Bus 872 is below the west side of Deshengmen Tower

Bus 872 Timetable

First Bus and last bus from Deshengmen to Ming Tombs: 09:15-16:15
First Bus and last bus from  Ming Tombs to Deshengmen: 08:00-15:00
Bus Fare: 8 yuan
The Bus 872 leaves every 10  minutes
The Bus 872 has 15 bus stops,  Dingling (last but two stop) and Changling ( last stop), taking about one hour.

Bus 872 for Ming Tombs

Tip 6: How to plan your Ming Tombs Tour?

It is better to incorporate your Ming Tombs into a journey covering other tourist attractions also. How to incorporate? Usually Summer Palace can be combined with Ming Tombs trip on a one day tour in Beijing.

The most common is blended with the trip to one of the sections of Great Wall of China – Juyongguan Great Wall, Badaling Great Wall or Mutuanyu Great Wall on an a day trip in Beijing.

Tip 7: Avoid Public Holiday and Weekend

For local Chinese, Ming Tombs are just as important as Forbidden City and Summer Palace, never missed on their trip to Beijing. On weekend, especially during the public holidays, Ming Tombs can be very crowded!

Take greater precaution when you go down the 8 staircases to the underground palace at Dingling Tomb.

Tip 8:  Bus 879 Between Dingling (Ming Tombs) and Badaling Great Wall

If you’d like to go from Ming Tombs ( Dingling ) and Badaling or vice versa, you can take the Bus 879 listed below:

1) Dingling Tomb ( Ming Tombs) to Badaling Great Wall

Fist Bus:8:00 am
Last Bus: 4:00 pm
Bus Fare: 9 yuan
The Bus 879 leaves every half an hour
The Bus 879 has 25 bus stops from Dingling (Ming Tombs) to Badaling Great Wall ( the last but the third ) taking about one and half hours, about 40km.

1) Badaling to Dingling ( 定陵):
Fist Bus:9:30 am
Last Bus: 5:30 pm
Bus Fare: 9 yuan
The Bus 879 leaves every half an hour
The Bus 879 has 25 bus stops from Badaling to Dingling ( Ming Tombs ), taking about one and half hours from Badaling to Dingling (定陵), the last bus stop ( about 40 km ).

If you’d like to go to directly from Deshengmen to Badaling Great Wall,  take the Bus 877 ( see the link: Badaling Bus 877).

Tip 9: 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
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.

Further Readings


How to Visit Great Wall of China (Updated 2021)

July 25th, 2021
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Dear Travelers,

We’d like to have the following Great Wall travel tips to be always updated for the benefit of new visitors visiting the Great Wall of China. If anybody having used the piece finds necessary updates, please leave a message or feedback. Thanks!
_____________________

Plan your Great Wall Tour? Needless to say, you will visit the Great Wall of China on your first trip to Beijing China. So, where to start, when to visit, which sections of Great Wall to visit, how to visit and where to stay?

Tip 1: Where to Start your Great Wall Trip?

The Great Wall of China was built mainly during 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 and Qing Dynasty (the last dynasty) did nothing about the building of the Wall since they were “barbarians” against whom the Great Wall of China was supposed to have been built.

Apart from its role in preventing the “barbarians”,  the Great Wall did do many things: it proclaimed the frontier; it employed the thousands,; it prevented defections; it displayed the mighty of the emperor and provided numerous frontier areas for trades.

The Great Wall is not an “it” as you think. It is a “them”, walls in the plural, and they do not always form a continuous line. They are in bits, built in different dynasties.

Those “bits” of the Great Wall snake across the northern China stretching from Shanhaiguan Pass in the east  to Jiayuguan Pass in the west, totaling 21196 km long with the Great Wall built in Ming Dynasty ( 1368 to 1644 A.D) being  the longest –  8851 km.

Basically most of the first time travelers would choose Beijing as their springboards to visit these sections of the Great Wall of China built in Ming Dynasty. Most of the sections of the Great Wall open to tourists here are tamed or reconstructed for the safety of travelers. But still there remain some wild ones (original and unrestored) – crumbling, overgrown and barred to walkers, but attracting adventure hikers.

Apart from Beijing Great Wall Tour, some adventurous or second time travelers would go deeper and start their Great Wall of China trips from the following destinations:

Datong Great Wall Tour ( The Wall west of Beijing)
Hebei Great Wall Tour ( The Wall east of Beijing to the sea)
Jiayu Pass Great Wall (The first pass at the west end of the Great Wall of China)

Note: this travel guide is mainly foucused on some practical travel tips for planning ahead your visit to the Great Wall of China starting from Beijing.

Tip 2: Best time to hike the Great Wall

In Beijing, all the  officially administered sections of the Great Wall are open to tourists all year round. The ideal months for the Great Wall hike fall on spring, early summer, and autumn: later March, April, May, June, September, October and early November.

Great Wall Hike in Spring (March 15 to May 15)

Each year, March 15th is the official day of turning off the heating system in Beijing. This special date indicates the dry, harsh cold of Beijing’s winter is coming to an end though Beijingers will still have some chilly days in March.

A warmer spring usually starts early April and ends early May. So a warm springtime in Beijing lasts over one month. Kindly reminder: There are possibly dust storms in March. But things are getting better with the efforts put into the local environment management. Generally speaking, Beijing is dry and windy in spring.

Spring is a delightful time to visit the Great Wall – mild climate, green trees and flowers. But if you hike the Great Wall, you still feel chilly and a bit cold especially in March, wearing jackets in the morning and evening due to the big temperature drop between day and night.
How to Visit Beijing in March
How to Visit Beijing in April
How to Visit Beijing in May

Great Wall Hike in Summer (May 15 to September 15)

If you happen to visit the Wall in summer – later June, July and August, be ready for heat stroke prevention – sunglasses, sun cream,  sun block, hat, and water.  Summer is the rain season in Beijing and just bring waterproof in case. The weather in July and August is a bit muggy, so be well prepared for your hiking in summer.

You will expect a long queue, waiting to buy entrance tickets for the Great Wall mainly due to the large number of domestic tourists because of school vacations in July and August.
How to visit Beijing in June
How to visit Beijing in July
How to visit Beijing in August

Great Wall hike in Autumn (September 05 to November 15)

The foggy and cloudy days in Beijing’s oppressive summer are leaving us, coming with Beijing’s cooling autumn, with a blue sky, comfortable sunshine and the colorful leaves in and around Beijing.

Beijing autumn, specifically the two months from the mid-September to mid-November are the best season to visit Great Wall in a year. It’s always comfortably cool outside.

The best period autumn colors starts from October 15 throughout November 15 in Beijing with many trees changing theirs colors with charming autumn hues. Snap pictures or just take in a feast for the eyes!

Fairly big difference in temperature between early morning and afternoon. Wear a thin  jacket, or a warm coat in the morning, long-sleeve shirts or short T-shirts in the afternoon. So be mindful of the temperature difference in Autumn, comfortable sport shoes, rubber soled shoes for hiking. In afternoon, sometimes the autumn sunlight could be very strong, get ready for sunglasses, sun cream and sun hat.
How to Visit Beijing in September
How to Visit Beijing in October
How to Visit Beijing in November

Great Wall Hike in Winter (November 15 to March 15)

Winter Great Wall Hike is a bit challenging mainly due to the frozen weather in later December, January and early February each year in Beijing. You are advised to dress warmly – winter hat with ear flap, ear warmers, gloves, scarf, warm jackets and their winter accessories.

The Great Wall is impossible to hike only because the roads leading to the  sections of the Great Wall are blocked due to the heavy snow or other extreme weather. If you plan to do the hike in winter, we do suggest you check the weather report.  Check out  How to dress for visiting Great Wall in winter.
How to Visit Beijing in December
How to Visit Beijing in January
How to Visit Beijing in February

Tip 3: Avoid weekends or public holidays

It is better to hike the Wall during the weekdays instead of weekends. Strongly advise you not to visit the Wall during China public holidays ( Especially May 1-3, and October 1-7).

Crowds at Badaling Great Wall
Crowds at Badaling Great Wall during public holidays.

On these special days you will waste much of your valuable time on the way from your hotel to the Wall. On the Wall, you have to take group photos due to a great number of people on the Wall.

Tip 4: Select the section of the Wall

There are  8 major sections of the Great Wall of China around Beijing. 7 of the 8 sections of the Wall are legally open to tourists home and abroad. “legally open” means these sections of the Wall are tamed, repaired and controlled by a local Great Wall administration bureau with well-managed facilities like parking lots, guard rails, restaurants, toilets and more.

Within the officially managed sections of the Great Wall, the entrance fees are collected, police stations are set up and security guides are dotted along the Wall.

These “legal” sections of the Wall are Juyongguan, Badaling, Mutianyu, Jinshanling, Gubeikou, Huanghuacheng ( certain sections opened) and Simatai.

Jiankou is not open to tourists due to their wildness and treacherousness.

Below are the tips for choosing the right bit of the Wall:

1) Juyongguan Great Wall

If you don’t have much time, but you still want to have a glimpse of the Wall, especially on a busy day, choose Juyongguan Great Wall

Juyongguan, literally “Juyong Pass”(居庸关), is situated in a valley named “Guangou” as long 20 kilometers, which is within Changping District, about 50 kilometers north of downtown Beijing. It is one of the three most famous passes of Great Wall in China。

Juyongguan Grea tWall
Juyongguan Great Wall

2) Badaling Great Wall

If you want to see the most popular and gorgeous restored section of the Wall in Beijing, go to Badaling Great Wall.  Badaling is also wheelchair friendly , accessible by the handicapped.

Badaling Great Wall
Badaling Great Wall

3) Mutianyu Great Wall

If you want to visit the Wall with beautiful green scenery and environment ( travel with kids or seniors), less crowded, then visit Mutianyu Great Wall.

Mutianyu Great Wall
Mutianyu Great Wall

4) The wild and original sections of the Wall

If you want to hike the wild and original sections of the Wall (half restored or unrestored), go to visit Shixiagan Great Wall, Jiankou Great WallJinshanling Great Wall, Gubeikou Great WallHuanghuacheng Great Wall and Simatai Great Wall  or put them together.

Check out: Hike from Jiankou Great Wall to Mutinayu Great Wall.
Jiankou Great Wall is forbidden to hike according to the official rule and regulations concerned. Hikers are responsible for their own safety while hiking Jiankou Great Wall.

Jiankou Great Wall

Check out Hike from Gubeikou Great Wall to Jinshanling GreatWall.
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”.

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.

Gubeikou Great Wall


Check out Simatai Great Wall.

There are totally 16 watch towers distributed on the Simatai Great Wall snaking the ridge of the steep mountain. The 13th-16th towers are forbidden to hike due to their steepness and treacherousness.

Simatai Great Wall


Check out Hike Across Shixiaguan GreatWall.

Shixiaguan Great Wall ( literally means “Stone Gorge Pass Great Wall”) is officially known as Ruined Badaling Great Wall. It is 5km southwest of the restored Badaling Great Wall,a western gate of the Badaling Defense Works.

Shixiaguan Great Wall


Check out Huanghuacheng Great Wall.

Huanghuacheng (literally meaning “Yellow Flower City”) Great Wall (黄花城), about 65 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. This section of the great wall 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 is overgrown and treacherous.

Huanghuacheng Great Wall


Check out Jinshanling Great Wall

Jinshanling Great Wall (金山岭长城) is located about 130 km in the northeast of the downtown Beijing. To its east stands the Simatai Great Wall and the west stands Gubeikou Great Wall. Jinshangling Great Wall was named after the mountain called Jinshan Mountains. The Jinshanling Great Wall was first constructed built in the Ming Dynasty.

The famous general, Xu Da, of the early Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) supervised and directed the construction of the Great Wall. Later, Qi Jiguang led a number of defense works while guarding the north area in 1567.

Jinshanling Great Wall

Tip 5: How to get to the Great Wall of China

1. How to Get to Badaling Great Wall by bus

1)Take Badaling Great Wall Bus No.877 (Bus Fare: RMB 12)

Deshengmen (德胜门)- Badaling (八达岭)
Operating Hours:
06:00-12:00(Apr.1-Oct.31)
06:00-12:30 (Nov.1-Mar.31)

Return:
Badaling (八达岭)- Deshengmen (德胜门)
10:30-17:00(Apr.1-Oct.31)
11:00-16:30(Nov.1-Mar.31)
From: Deshengmen Bus Station

Note:
Bus 919 has two kinds of bus lines: 919 express (919快) and 919 slow (919慢) with their final destinations being Yanqing County. Bus 919 will stop at the Badaling Great Wall ( the drop-off stop is a bit far from the ticketing office). You are still advised to take 877, the special bus for Badaling Great Wall tourists.

2. Go to Badaling Great Wall by Train

6 Daily High Speed trains ( One extra train added on weekend)
starting from Qinghe Railway Station to Badaling Great Wall Station and vice versa

High speed trains from Qinghe Railway Station to Badaling:
G2501 ( 07:00 – 07:19 ) Only available on Fri, Sat & Sun
G7873 ( 08:38 – 08:57 )
G2485 ( 12:48 – 13:07 )
G2429 ( 14:11 – 14:30 )
G8815 ( 14:43 – 15:02 )
G2431 ( 16:25 – 16:44 )
G2439 (18:18 – 18:37 )

High speed trains back from Badaling to Qinghe Railway Station
G2402 ( 09:21 – 09:41 )
G2416 ( 13:24 – 13:43 )
G7876 ( 14:04 – 14:23 )
G2430 ( 17:56 – 18:15 ) Only available on Fri, Sat & Sun
G2434 ( 19:08 – 19:27 )
G8818 ( 19:58 – 20:18 )

Ticket prices for the high speed trains between Qinghe Railway Station and Badaling
Business Class: RMB 70 ; First Class: RMB 37 ; Second Class: RMB 23

Take the S Train from Beijing Huangtudian Railway Station to Badaling

3. Go to Mutianyu Great Wall by bus

Apart from the regular 916 Express Bus operated all year round from Dongzhimen Transportation Hub to Huairou District where you connect Bus H23 or taxi for Mutianyu Great Wall Scenic Area, there is one daily return direct shuttle bus starting from Beijing Dongzhimen Wai Bus Station to Mutianyu Great Wall Scenic Area.

Check out ” How to Get to Mutianyu Great Wall by Public Bus” for more information.

4. Go to Simatai Great Wall

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 Great Wall) or vice versa. Please check out: Bus & Train to Gubei Water Town & Simatai Great Wall.

5. Go to Jinshanling Great Wall by bus

At Dongzhimen Public Transport Hub (东直门交通枢纽)take Bus 980. 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)

6. Take a taxi to the Great Wall

You can also charter a taxi for day trips to the Great Wall. The drive ranges from 1.5 hour to 2.5 hours from the city center according to the different sections of the Great Wall.

Below are the approximate taxi fares to the different sections of the Great Wall with waiting for about 2-3 hours while touring the wall:

Beijing Mutianyu Great Wall: 85km – RMB 600
Beijing Badaling Great Wall: 80km – RMB 500
Beijing Simatai Great Wall: 140km – RMB 700
Beijing Juyongguan Great Wall: 60km – RMB 400
Beijing Jinshanling Great Wall: 160km RMB 800
Beijing Gubeikou Great Wall: 150km – RMB 750
Beijing Jiankou Great Wall: 85km – RMB 650
Beijing Huanghuacheng Great Wall 85km – RMB 600

Tip 6: Book a Great Wall Bus Tour

Don’t want to make the do-it-yourself route? No worries, you can easily book Great Wall Bus Tour (daily group tours) through your hotel or local tour operators.  Check out Beijing Group Tour for more information.

Each morning, you will be picked you up from your midtown hotel, then you will go to visit the Wall together with other tourists.

Groups are kept to about 10 passengers in a comfortable modern 22-seat coach with professional Beijing chauffeurs and English speaking tour guide.

Tip 7: Stay near the Great Wall

If you want to stay one night or more near the Wall, below are some of the inns and hotels for your consideration:

Juyongguan Great Wall Hotel
the Commune by the Great Wall
Huanghuacheng Fuwang Courtyard Farmhouse
the Schoolhouse by the Mutianyu Great Wall
Jinshanling Hotel
the Chateau Changyu AFIP Global Beijing

Tip 8: Tips for Wheelchair users

Both Badaling Great Wall and Mutianyu Great Wall have accessible ramp paths.  On the Badaling Great Wall, a special flat lane is built for wheelchair users to get to the third watch tower of the Great Wall. Even two elevators are equipped for easy ascending the wall if you book the elevator service in advance.

Badaling Great Wall has the upper hand over Mutianyu Great Wall with its gentle ramp leading to the first watch tower of the Great Wall.

The gentle ramp leads to the Badaling Great Wall.
The gentle ramp leads to the Badaling Great Wall.

Check out “The Most Wheelchair-Friendly Great Wall to Visit” for more tips for accessible Great Wall of China.

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.

The accessible paths in Mutianyu Great wall are too steep, not wheelchair user-friendly!
The accessible lane from the upper cable car station to the platform below the 14th watch tower on Mutianyu Great Wall.

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

The accessible platform for wheelchair users below the 14th watch tower on Mutianyu Great Wall.

Tip 9: Tips for Experienced Travelers

you may choose half restored or wild sections of the Wall. But you have to be responsible for your own safety.

Travel Notes for wild great wall hiking:
1. Things to take: sports shoes or hiking boots, sticks, cap, sun-glasses, sunscreen, bottles of water, snacks, pocket knife, lip balm and first aid kit.
2. Using toilets at the entrance of the Wall. No toilets on the hiking route. Please always carry toilet paper by yourself.
3. Wearing pants and long-sleeves even in summer to hike through jungles and bushes.
4. You are responsible for your travel insurance for your coverage of injury or accident.
5 Be a green and responsible hiker, taking nothing but photos and leaving nothing but footprint.

Tip 10: 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.

How to dress for visiting Great Wall in winter

July 25th, 2021
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Planning your Great Wall Tour  in winter? You may have been told that winter is not the right season for visiting Great Wall, but for whatever the reasons, you happen to hike the Great Wall of China during the cold season, so you are now a bit on the fence about visiting the Great Wall.

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

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

Jiankou to Mutuanyu
Jiankou to Mutianyu Winter Hike

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

Of course, hiking the Great Wall is a bit daunting if you are unlucky to visit the Wall on a cold and blusterous day. If well dressed for the winter Wall hikes, visiting the Great Wall in winter is still not a bad idea.

We’re going to share with you some ideas on how to dress for Great Wall winter hikes. Dressing for the season and having the right clothing items for colder temperature on the Wall.

1. Check historical climate data and weather forecast

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

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

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

In winter Beijing has short days, dark 4-5 pm. The ticket selling for major attractions is closed after 4.30pm. The sights stay open all year round.

When you arrive, don’t forget to check the current weather in Beijing and choose your better day for visiting Great Wall in the cold month.

You may also check out the following realtime weather photos to get a general idea of how the current weather looks like and how local people are dressed:

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

2. Dressing in Layers

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

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

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

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

3. Feet Protection

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

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

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

4. Hands Protection

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

5. Head and Face Protection

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

5. Where to buy the winter clothes?

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

Tip:  Hassle-free Beijing Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Beijing:

Mutianyu Great Wall Half Day Tour from US$55 p/p
Hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall Day Tour from US$69 p/p

Mutianyu Great Wall Layover Tour from US$65 p/p
Beijing Highlight Layover Tour from US$75 p/p

Beijing Dinner & Night Boat Tour. from US$ 59P/P

Beijing by Night Illuminations Tour  from US$33 p/p

Beijing Hutong Highlight One Day Tour  from US$59 p/p

Beijing Highlight Day Tour from US$59 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Mutianyu Great Wall)
Beijing Classic City Tour from US$65 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Temple of Heaven + Summer Palace)
Beijing Excursion Tour from US$59 P/P
(Mutianyu Great Wall + Ming Tomb)
Beijing Hutong Highlight Tour from US$59 P/P
( Hutong + Rickshaw)

Further Readings


How to visit Mutianyu Great Wall by bus.
Tips for Visiting Great Wall around Beijing
How to Visit Beijing in Winter
Visiting Great Wall by Train
Go to Badaling Great Wall by Bus
Great Wall Tour
Top 10 Markets in Beijing

Any questions, just drop a line.