To avoid the more touristy and busier sections of the Great Wall, I booked this overnight hike/hot springs visit, and was very glad I did. Here was my experience. I had numerous questions online beforehand, and Fred was very patient and quick in responding online. We were picked up on time, and our hiking group was an interesting mix of people from different countries. The drive to our hiking location was a bit disappointing - the van is a little old and lumpy, and the windows fogged up so we could see very little of the countryside in the 2 hour drive out there. Lunch was in a very small town, in a room in a house. It was about 8 dishes, and was absolutely delicious. We reached our destination by early afternoon, and started to hike the valley and hills up to the wall. We passed through a poor village that was mostly deserted due to lack of water. Fred and Heidi knew the area well. The mountainous terrain and the high elevation require you to be in at least average good shape - I was surprised that I had to pause once or twice hiking up. Once up on the wall, we hiked for roughly 5k. The wall was easy to hike, but there are one or two sections of fallen stone where you had to be careful. The view was spectacular, even on a misty day, and we saw no other hikers. After the roughly 3-hour hike we went to the hot spring location, which was in a large building and also featured a pool, massages of various kinds, an activity room with pool table, foos ball, etc., and a communal sleeping room. The hot spring hotel provides you with pajamas - the group looked very funny all wearing pink pjs - and after one's massage you could settle down to sleep for the night. Unfortunately some of the local people in the sleep room were taking phone calls and speaking loudly. Because we had a long day planned the next day, I decided to change to a private room in the hotel next door. Fred and Heidi were very understanding and arranged for this. (I also understand that after we left, the noisemakers were spoken to strongly and quieted down.) Net/net - Fred and Heidi are lovely - courteous, low-key guides. The hike and the Great Wall were glorious, the visit to the hot springs quite unique and fun, and the food really excellent. I might have wished for a little more information on the Wall, and to have been able to see on the way to the hike. Overall, it was certainly worth the money and I would book a hike with Dandelion Hiking Tours again.
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