Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is something on the, Ďmust seeí list for 99% of visitors to China. Over the years more sections have opened up for foreigners to visit. One can now make extended hikes along sections of the wall. Gubeikou, Jinshanling and Simatai are a bit farther from Beijing than other sections, but the extra time it takes to get there is rewarded with a very significant reduction in crowding


This section is the closest to Beijing and the one most featured in tours. We suggest you choose another section to enhance your experience. Some tours offer you no choice and you can see crowds like the above image especially if you coincide with a Chinese holiday period. Our customised programmes allow you to go to the section best suited to your requirements.

JUYONGGUAN: BEST FOR THE FIRST TIMER Ė as alternative to Badaling

If youíve only got a limited amount of time in Beijing, or youíre a little uneasy about walking too much, then you should definitely visit the Juyongguan section of the Great Wall. Not only is this beautifully restored section of the wall close to capital, but itís also the most user-friendly: visiting Juyongguan doesnít require any step climbing. The trade off, is of course, more people!!


Those with a little more fitness under their belts can visit the Huanghuacheng section of the Great Wall. Offering picture-postcard views of the surrounding lakes and countryside, Huanghuacheng was built in 1575 and has only been partially restored, which gives visitors a better idea of what the original wall looked like.

Although climbs can be steep at times, visiting this section of the wall is totally rewarding, and you just canít beat those views.


Huanghuacheng may have the prettiest landscape, but the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall is one of the most photogenic, with its commanding watchtowers evident from which ever angle you choose to shoot. Adding to its appeal is the fact that Mutianyu is one of the best preserved sections of the Great Wall, and that you have to take a cable car to reach it! The Mutianyu section is also accessible to wheelchair bound travellers. Takes a bit more time to get to!


Taking a cable car is cool and all, but nothing beats climbing to the top of the Great Wall using nothing but your own two feet, and working up quite a sweat in the process!

Thatís what Jinshanling is all about. This section of the Great Wall will make you work for your rewards, but itís all so worth it. Being much further away from Beijing than Juyongguan, for example, Jinshanling is also much quieter, and itís here that youíll appreciate the stark landscape which helps you see why such a wall was built in the first place.


If sticking to the tried and test tourist trail ainít your thing, then forget about the other sections of the Great Wall and make a beeline for Gubeikou. This magnificent section of the Wall, very old and in a state of ruin, is over 140 km from Beijing and remains completely unrennovated Ė that means you can walk on the very same bricks that were laid here over 600 years ago!

Gubeikou is the most authentic section of the wall, and offers travellers the chance to see the wall in all its original, untouched glory in a landscape thatís worthy of hanging on your wall.

Another of the more rustic parts of the wall with little restoration done. Whilst in the past the hike from Jinshanling to Simitai was very popular with hikes there are Chinese guards that will stop hikers - too many people on rugged unrestored sections. The above image shows Brent and Elaine from Passport Travel hiking this wall section in the late 1990's, before crowds.
Great Wall hikes