Overview: The Great Wall at Badaling is the most popular tourist section of this landmark since it has been recently restored and is reasonably ... more »
The Great Wall at Badaling is the most popular tourist section of this landmark since it has been recently restored and is reasonably ... more »close to Beijing (around 60 kilometers/85 miles to the northwest). It was built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and first opened to tourists in 1957. More than 150 million people have visited Badaling since its restoration. It takes around an hour on the bus to get there, so you can reasonably do this tour in half a day (depending on where in Beijing you start from and how long you plan to spend at the Wall).
The bus costs 12RMB one way for an adult; there are discounts for children. Buy your ticket as you get on the bus. The 919 buses, which serve Badaling, are all lime green.
Entrance to the Great Wall costs 45RMB for an adult with half-price discounts for children; children shorter than under 1.2 meters (3 feet 11 inches) enter free.
The cable car costs 60RMB one way for an adult (80RMB return), 30RMB for children. Again, children shorter than 1.2m are free. less «
The Great Wall at Badaling is not an easy hike and parts of the are extremely steep, so this tour is unsuitable if you have elderly... more » people or very young children with you. If members of your party don't want to hike between the sections mentioned on this tour, you can get the cable car both ways and just get the views from the relatively flat but extremely crowded section around the cable car drop off point. Make sure you have drinks and snacks with you while you hike and wear sensible shoes.
You should budget around 200RMB per person for this trip for bus fare, entrance to the Wall, the cable car tickets and food.
Don't be intimidated by the subway in Beijing—everything (including announcements) is in English and Chinese and is well marked. Try to avoid rush hour as trains (especially on lines 1 and 2) will be very crowded.
Using the subway ticket machines is pretty intuitive. The touch-screen button for English is in the bottom left corner of the screen. Select the line you need and touch the station you want. You'll then be prompted to confirm the number of tickets and the amount you need to pay. There are maps both on-screen and on the walls to check which line you need.
Ticket machines in the subway don't accept 1RMB notes, just the coins. (Renminbi Yuan—usually known as RMB or just yuan—is China's currency.) If you don't have change, or only big notes, go to a ticket window and hand over 2RMB—it's a flat fare for a single ticket (you can't buy returns) wherever you go.
Most places in China only accept payment in cash, so don't expect to be able to pay by credit card. less «
Start your journey at Jishuitan subway station on Line 2 of the Beijing subway. Come out of the subway at Exit A and turn back on yourself to head east along the north side of the main road. You'll pass three bus stations along the way, but keep going until you get to Jian Lou (also known as the Deshengmen Watchtower), from which the 919 bus to... More Badaling leaves. There are plenty of signs to keep you pointed in the right direction.Less
There are plenty of different buses labeled 919 and plenty of bus stops, so make sure you get the right one. You need to be on the north side of Jian Lou—there's a big open square and a barrier for forming wait lines. There's also usually someone with a megaphone saying "Badaling" and water/snack stalls.
You should pay 12RMB as you get ... Moreonto the bus for a one-way ticket (buy another one-way ticket coming back); the journey lasts just more than an hour. Buses leave every 10 to 15 minutes in peak season, from early morning onward. If you plan to arrive around 8am (particularly on a weekday), buses will be running and you'll get to the Wall before masses of tour groups arrive.Less
The Great Wall at Badaling is located about 60 kilometers (85 miles) northwest of Beijing. The bus ride takes about an hour, depending on traffic. Try and get a seat on the right side of the bus (as you face forward) for a view of the deserted Beijing Disneyland, which was started but never completed. You can see the structure of the Magic... More Kingdom's castle from the road. Your first sight of the Great Wall is also from the right-hand side as you pass the Juyonguan and Shuiguan sections of the Great Wall before reaching Badaling.Less
The Great Wall of China at Badaling is the most popular section, both for international and domestic tour groups. It's been restored quite recently and boasts a slide ride down, as well as a cable car. To get the most authentic (and least crowded) experience, climb up the Wall first and take the cable car down from the Eighth Tower in the north.... More This will ensure you've had a good hike, seen some stunning views and haven't had to dodge too many Chinese tourists taking photos. Chinese tourists do like posing for photographs with Westerners, so be prepared to smile and say "Cheese!"
The 919 bus drops you off at the slide car ticket office section of the car park (the slide car is a sort of cross between a toboggan and a slide and is extremely tacky). To avoid the crowds and get your climb out of the way early on, head back up hill to the garish Bear Park entrance that you drove past. Don't be under any illusions: The Great Wall of China is NOT flat! However you choose to get to the Great Wall, you'll be climbing and descending steep slopes and steps. By climbing first, you get to experience the grandeur of the Wall in relative peace, beat the lines for the ride downhill and be at the right exit for the bus back to Beijing.
Bear Park (which this tour of the Wall takes you through from necessity) lines the path up to the 10th Tower in the north. It's free to walk through and is designed as a sideshow for Chinese tourists, composed of an enclosure for some black bears, souvenir stands and opportunities to pose for photos with animals. It's about a five-minute walk to get through everything and although Western animal lovers will probably not want to linger, it's an interesting insight into Chinese tourism. If you're buying water or snacks here, don't pay more the 3RMB for a 500-milliliter bottle of water, and bear in mind that it will be more expensive on the Wall. Continue to head uphill until you reach the gate to get onto the Great Wall, where you pay for your entrance ticket. If you get the cable car down again, you pay for this at the cable car station once you're on the Wall.Less
Buy your entrance ticket to the Great Wall from the window on the left (45RMB for an adult) and head through the barriers. Follow the steps up around to the right, through a narrow archway and you'll be standing on one of the wonders of the world. It's said that you're not a "hero" unless you've climbed the Great Wall, so here's your... More chance to prove yourself!
Head left for the hike round to the Eighth Tower in the north (and the cable car down) or run up the slope to the right for a quick photo opportunity—and to get a panorama of where you're heading.Less
You can't go wrong on the Wall, you just keep following it round. Be careful as some sections are extremely steep and the steps—on the sections where there are steps—can be high and uneven. If you look to the right as you climb and descend, you'll see mountain vistas; to the left, you'll see how the Great Wall curves over and around the mountain... More sides.
Depending on your fitness level and how often you stop to rest and take in the views, the hike to the Eighth Tower should take less than an hour.Less
Once you've reached the Eighth Tower (you'll know you've arrived because suddenly there's a lot more people and signs in English), you can either take the cable car down the mountain or, if you have the energy, hike to the Fourth Tower in the north farther around. The route is clearly marked.
The cable car costs 60RMB for an adult single journey,... More 30RMB for children and free for children shorter than 1.2 meters (3 feet 11 inches). Up to six people can fit in a car at once and the journey down takes around 10 minutes.Less
When you get out of the cable car, follow the signs downhill to the 919 bus stop. On the way you'll pass several restaurants where you can grab some food—the quality is reasonable but expect prices fit for a tourist destination (around 30-50RMB per dish). You'll also pass the Great Wall Museum on the left side of the broad road that runs downhill;... More your Great Wall ticket should get you entrance to this. The museum was built in 1994 and has several exhibition rooms where you can learn about the history and significance of the Great Wall.
At the bottom of the hill, pass through the archway across the road and cross over to the other side—the 919 will pick you up from here. Buses depart frequently (every 10-15 minutes in summer, as on the way to Badaling). The last one leaves around 7pm. It's another 12RMB per person and an hour's journey back to Jian Lou. Taxi drivers also wait around here; if you decide to get a taxi, make sure to haggle for your price—200RMB one way is more than reasonable.Less