Bus & Train to Gubei Water Town & Simatai Great Wall

March 7th, 2021
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

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.

(1) 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) 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, 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)

06611

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:

Simatai Great Wall & Gubei Water Town Day Tour   from US$85 p/p

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

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

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

Further Readings


How to Get to Mutianyu Great Wall by Bus.
How to Get to Badaling Great Wall by Bus.
How to Get to Badaling Great Wall by Train.
How to get to Gubei Water Town & Simatai GreatWall by Bus.

Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

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

Wangfujing Night Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions, just drop a line.

Gubei Water Town‍

March 7th, 2021
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Gubei Water Town (古北水镇)in Beijing is officially known as Beijing Miyun Gubei Water Town (Simatai) International Tourism Resort. It is not a historical water town, it is a replica of  Wuzhen Water Town in the Southern China.

Panoramic night view of Gubei Water Town

The Construction of Gubei Water Town

The water town is built on the former 5 sub natural villages of Simatai Village at the foot of Simatai Great Wall.  The displaced Simatai villagers have moved to the new apartments and townhouses in Simatai New Village, 1.5km west of the old Simatai Village.

This water town is situated in Gubei Township of Miyun County northeast of Beijing, hence the name of Gubei Water Town. It has a charming location with a massive backdrop of the world famous Simatai Great Wall and the romantic Yuanyang Lake ( Mandarin Duck ) below the wall.

The world famous Simatai Great Wall and the romantic Yuanyang Lake ( Mandarin Duck ) below the wall.

The Simatai village was developed from Simatai Castle built during the reign of Emperor Wanli ( 1573 -1620 ) in Ming Dynasty ( 1368 – 1644 ). So the Gubei Water Town resort is a rare combo of Great Wall, mountains, lakes and ancient Villages.

The Gubei Water Town holiday resort  takes an area of 9 square km and the scenic area of the water town resort occupies an area of 0.43 million square meters that is composed of Ming, Qing and Republic era style courtyards, two 5 star hotels, 6 boutique hotels, some B&B, restaurants and shops, as well as over 10 cultural exhibition areas with good facilities.

Gubei Water Town Sightseeing & Leisure Area

The sightseeing and leisure travel area of Gubei Water Town basically consists of 6 areas including Old Barracks Area,  Minguo Street Area (Republic of China Street ),  Water Street Area, Wonglong  Fort Folk Cultural Area, Tanghe Ancient Castle Area and Food & Accommodation Area.

1. Minguo Street Area (Republic of China Street ) 民国街区
When you cross the stone bridge spanning over the Tanghe River, you will come cross an east – west street known as Minguo Street ( literally meaning “Republic of China Street”) which is designed to duplicate a street in the time of Republic of China ( 1912–49).

Cross the stone bridge over the Tanghe River, you will see the Minguo Street.

It seems to me walking on the Minguo Street reminds me of Qianmen Street south of Tiananmen Square. Minguo Street is an open street free of charge outside the paid area. You will see banks, posts, markets, drug stores, clinics, book stores and more on the street.

2. Water Street Area 水街风情区
The Water Street Area is the highlight of Gubei Water Town.  It  brings vividly to life the water towns in Jiangnan ( the south of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River) represented by Wuzhen Water Town,  Zhouzhuang Water Town  and Tongli Water Town.

The waterfront houses, arch stone bridges, cobblestone and stone slab paths

It reproduces in the northern China  winding rivers, the waterfront houses, arch stone bridges, cobblestone and stone  slab paths,  old buildings and folk life. 

Yongshun Dyehouse

On the Water Street Area, you will visit Simagang Restaurant and Yongshun Dyehouse and other attractions.

Simagang Restaurant

3. Wonglong  Fort Folk Cultural Area 卧龙堡民俗文化区
Along the Tanghe River after the Water Street Area is Wolong Fort Folk Cultural Area. This area is focused on the presentation and preservation of the Chinese folk culture, especially the folk culture in the northern China.

In this area you will appreciate the Chinese traditional houses, Yangwudi Temple, the village theater stage,  Yinghua Academy of Classical Learning and more.

Yinghua Academy of Classical Learning and more.
Yinghua Academy of Classical Learning and more.

4. Tanghe Ancient Castle Area 汤河古寨区
Built along the branch of Tanghe River, the Tanghe Ancient Castle Area depicts the ancient fortress or castle life in Ming and Qing dynasties. In this area, you have the opportunity to experience the Eight Banner Guild and Zhenyuan Escort Agency.

Built along the branch of Tanghe River the Tanghe Ancient Castle Area depicts the ancient fortress or castle life in Ming and Qing dynasties
The Tanghe Ancient Castle Area

 5. Food & B&B Accommodation Area 民宿餐饮区
This is the Food & B&B Accommodation Area where you could find 400 B&B and bars.  Most of the B&B are built in the style of traditional hutong or courtyard in Beijing.

Most of the B&B are built in the style of traditional hutong or courtyard in Beijing.
Most of the B&B are built in the style of traditional hutong or courtyard in Beijing.

The interior of the Great Wall Bar at the foot of Simatai Great Wall.

The interior of the Great Wall Bar at the foot of Simatai Great Wall 11123
The interior of the Great Wall Bar at the foot of Simatai Great Wall 11123

6. Simatai Great Wall 司马台长城
The water town has a charming location with a massive backdrop of the world famous Simatai Great Wall. Simatai Great Wall is 5 km long with all together 28 watchtowers ( East 16 and West 12 ).

The night view of Simatai Great Wall

Constructed by the Ming Dynasty general Qi Ji Guang, it is one of the few stretches of the Wall that still preserve the original look of that period. It not only features unique points from other Great Wall sections, but also shows some features found nowhere.

The west section of the Simatai Great Wall

To the west there 12 watchtowers snaking on the sloping hills. To the east there are 16 watchtowers atop peaks up to 1,000 meters high.

Simatai Great Wall with autumn hues

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

7. The Old Garrison Town  老营区
The Old Garrison Town Area is outside the Guebei Water Town proper.  It mainly refers to the old fortress or castle area built during the reign of Emperor Wanli ( 1573 -1620 ) in Ming Dynasty ( 1368 – 1644 ).

The Old Garrison Town ( or popularly known as Simatai Castle was a small fortified city where the soldiers  and their family members stationed and lived at the foot of Simatai Great Wall in Ming Dynasty. They were responsible for guiding Simatai Great Wall and watching the movements on the top.

In Ming Dynasty, garrisons were required to be self-sufficient on food supplies through local settlements.  So less than a third of a soldier’s time was spent on actual military duties. Instead, most of his time was spent on working on the fields. The present Simatai Village was developed from the old garrison town or Simatai Castle.

The Simatai Castle is located on the west of the huge parking area south of the south entrance to Gubei Water Town.  The Old Garrison Town is under renovation.

8. Hotels within Guobei Water Town 酒店和客栈
The Gubei Water Town have two 5 star hotels, 6 boutique hotel and quite some guesthouses.  Some hotels have been opened to the public, such as Wtown Hotel,  Wuzhen Hui Boutique Hotel,  Baqi Guesthouse, Biaoju Guesthouse, Liyuan Guesthouse,  Wolong Guesthouse and more.

Wtown Hotel is a 5 star hotel sitting on a hillside and by the Tanghe River. Based on the concept of the European castle and Chinese Great Wall Watch Tower,  Wtown Hotel has been built into a modern and massive construction palace that can be  viewed anywhere in the resort. Wtown Hotel has over 400 rooms including standard rooms, superior rooms, Great Wall View rooms, suites and presidential suites.

Liyuan Guesthouse is a theme guesthouse based on the stories from Peking Opera. Each guesthouse depicts one act from the stories in Peking Opera. It has totally 15 rooms sitting in a two-storey building.

Each guesthouse depicts one act from the stories in Peking Opera. It has totally 15 rooms sitting in a two-storey building.
Each guesthouse depicts one act from the stories in Peking Opera. It has totally 15 rooms sitting in a two-storey building.

 Gubei Water Town Entrance Fee  门票价格

1.  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)

Gubei Water Town Transportation 交通

Self-driving: Driving along Jingcheng Expressway and get off at the 24th Exit of Simatai. Then drive according to the roadside direction signboard for 2-5 munites.

Fixed Departure Direct Shuttle Service:
Timetable for the bus service from Donghzimen to Gubei Water Town:
Mon – Fri: 9:00, 12:00 and 15:30
Sat – Sun: 9:00, 12:00, 14:00, 15:30
Location for Departure:
In Chinese: 出发地点:东直门外(公交站) 东直门公交枢纽站北侧 942、855路公交车场内
English: Departure: in the compound of Dongzhimen Wai Bus Terminal (also for Bus 942 and 855, and shuttles going Mutianyu Great Wall), 800 meters Northeast of the main building ( Dongzhimen Transport Hub).

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.

Timetable for the bus service from Gubei Water Town to Donghzimen
Mon – Fri: 12:00, 17:00 and 21:00 ( so the last bus leaving at 21:00 )
Sat – Sun: 12:00, 17:00, 19:00 and 21:00 (so the last bus leaving at 21:00)

Public Transportation:
Take public bus No.980 from Dongzhimen Transportation Hub and get off the stop of Gulou (Drum Tower) at Miyun County, then connect local bus  No.51 or 37 to Simatai Village.  Then walk to Gubei Water Town.

06611

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:

Simatai Great Wall & Gubei Water Town Day Tour   from US$85 p/p

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

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

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

Further Readings


Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

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

Wangfujing Night Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions, just drop a line.

Beijing 144 Hours Free Visa Transit

March 6th, 2021

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby featherAre you planning your Beijing Layover Tour? You may think whether you need a transit visa in Beijing? This is the question frequently asked by many travelers who are going to transit in Beijing and continue to fly for a third country.

Yes, basically you need a Chinese visa to visit Beijing if you want to exit from Beijing Capital Airport for a few hours’ layover tour or 2 or 3 days’ short stay in Beijing. But currently, 53  countries are entitled to 144 hours free visa transit stay in Beijing. So Visa-free travel to Beijing is possible now!

Please note that people having a round trip to Beijing are not entitled to free-visa stay in Beijing.

Which are the 53 countries and what the preconditions for getting the free visa transit stay permit in Beijing? I will answer your questions one by one.

1. Prerequisites for getting the 144 hours transit free visa
1) The Eligible 53 nationalities include 24 Schengen Countries in Europe:
1-1): 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.

2-2): 15 other European countries:
Russia, Great Britain, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republic of Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, Monaco and the Republic of Belarus.

3-3): 6 American countries:
The United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Chile.

4-4): 2 Oceanian countries:
Australia and New Zealand.

5-5): 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).

Passport Control and Immigration

Officially Designated Entry Points in the three places of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei: 
__________________________________________________________________

Ports of entry and exit are extended to designated international railway stations, seaports and airports.

Previously, the policy was once applied only at airports. Now passengers are allowed to arrive and exit at the following six points in the three places: Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Province.

Beijing Capital International Airport
Tel: 0086-10-96158

Beijing West Railway Station in the capital
Tel: 0086-10-51824233

Tianjin Binhai International Airport
Tel: 0086-22-96777

Tianjin International Cruise Home Port in Tianjin
Tel: 0086 -22-25605128

Shijiazhuang Zhengding International Airport
Tel: 0086-311-96360

Qinhuangdao seaport in Hebei province
Tel: 0086-335-3099676


How to Apply for 144-Hour free-visa stay in the three areas ( Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Province):

_______________________________________________

When you disembark your plane or ship, just follow the throng or the signs directing you to international arrivals, immigration and customs.

Passport Control/Immigration
In the Passport Control/Immigration Area, find your special lanes for 144-hour visa-free transit passengers.

Some 144-hour transit passengers miss their layover tour in Beijing simply because they cannot locate the special lanes to get the visa-free permit. Actually the special lanes for 144-hours visa-free transit are located just on the left side of the Lanes for Foreign Citizens as well as on the right side of the Lanes for Chinese Citizens.

You need to fill up the entry registration card and get your 144- hours free visa stay permit, a stamp on your passport. The items for filling up the registration to get your 144-hour free visa stay permit:

Name,Sex, Birth, Passport Number, Nationality, Arrival Date, Arrival Flight, Exit Time, Exit Flight, Contact Phone Number in Beijing, Address in Beijing (Tianjin or Hebei), Reception Unit or Person, Reception Unit Phone Number.

Go through Customs, claim your luggage ( if necessary ) and leave airport.

Very Important Notice:
If your airline by which you are travelling doesn’t have the latest information the 144-hour visa free transit policy in Beijing, plus they inform you that only those with valid visa’s can travel with them.

Then you can show them the official website of Beijing Capital Airport to verify that you will not encounter any problems in Beijing. Please check out the links below:

http://en.bcia.com.cn/server/notice/144visafree/

http://en.bcia.com.cn/server/notice/144visafree/144visafree_policy.shtml

What you can do during your 144-hour visa-free stay in the three Areas:
_________________________________________________________

The 144-hour visa-free transit allows you for a sufficient time to visit Beijing, or Tianjin and Hebei per your travel request.

For more information Beijing tours, Tianjin tour and Hebei tour, please check out the following links:

Beijing Layover tour
Beijing Tour Packages

Tianjin Tour
Tianjin Cruise Port Transfer & Tour

Hebei Tour
Shijiazhuang Tour
Chengde Tour
Zhangjiakou Tour
Qinhuangdao Tour

Further Readings


Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

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

Wangfujing Night Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions, just drop a line.