Last week I was in Beijing. I went there because of all the history in Beijing and to visit all the iconic sights– the most iconic being the Great Wall of China. The Great Wall was built in 1404. There were several sections available for tours. I decided to visit the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall.
The weather was supposed to be cold and cloudy. The day before I visited the Forbidden City, Summer Palace and Temple of Heaven. It was gorgeously clear, albeit frigid– but more to come on that in a separate post. I mentioned it because I figured my quota for good weather had been filled already. I cannot believe my luck.
I planned tours for a couple of my days in Beijing. I used a website called Viator. I was scheduled with a tour guide who called the night before to confirm pick-up in my hotel lobby. His English was good and his enthusiasm could not be faked. Our tour group was a total of 4 people. There were two gentlemen from Melbourne and the third man was from Florida.
We arrived at the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall. I chose this section because it’s considered to be less crowded than the Badaling section (very popular for tourists) and a bit more scenic and steep. It’s further from Beijing and a less traveled part of the Great Wall.
To get to the wall, we had to ride up a ski lift. This ride was not part of the cost for the pre-paid tour. Alternatively, there’s an option to walk up the mountain. For the return, there’s also the option to take a toboggan down the mountain. Unfortunately (or fortunately– I cannot decide which!) the toboggan option was unavailable.
Prior to getting on the ski lift, our tour guide told us we needed to be back in 2.5hrs. So climbing the mountain was not an option– although, I definitely wouldn’t have chosen that regardless.
The ski lift dropped us off between watch tower 14 and 15. We could only walk to watch tower 20, after that, the wall was restricted from tourists. There is a simple explanation for this. The Great Wall is >13,000 miles and only parts are maintained for tourists. Walking from tower 15 to 20 was still quite a trek. I had several layers on because I thought I’d be cold. I was sweating from the exertion.
Surprisingly, this isn’t the day I burst into tears. On the next day, when I visited Tiananmen Square, I was overcome with emotion and gratitude that released itself in tears. To have the opportunity and means to visit so many amazing places….I cannot believe how blessed I am!! I tear up just thinking about it. I was at the Great Wall! Unreal!
Otherwise, please enjoy these pictures of the Great Wall- Mutianyu section.
By the way, the wind had died down but most of the smog was already eliminated. Thank you wind for providing the most amazing views!
Please stay tuned.
Up next: Tiananmen Square, Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven, Ming Tombs, Forbidden City and more adventures in Beijing.
Thanks for traveling with me!