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“General Xu hike and hot springs - high point of Beijing trip” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Dandelion Hiking-Day Tour

Dandelion Hiking-Day Tour
jianguomen, Beijing 100010, China
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Certificate of Excellence 2014
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Attraction details
Owner description: Great Wall Hiking, camping and cycling for small groups who like off the beaten track traveling.We also organize longer hikes to china's most beautiful mountains, lakes,grasslands, sea's and deserts
Useful Information: Lockers / storage, Stroller parking, Activities for older children
16 reviews 16 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“General Xu hike and hot springs - high point of Beijing trip”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2013

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.

Visited March 2013
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151 reviews from our community

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  • Dutch first
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English first
Shanghai, China
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
“We had The Great Wall all to ourselves for a day!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 7, 2013

Fred and Xiaohong (Heidi) took us on a wonderful hike of a deserted section of the Great Wall including an overnight stay at a local farmhouse. It was a great relief to get away from other tourists and the big city and take on a vigorous hike in a natural setting. No trinkets, souvenirs, or gift shop - just authentic stones and millennia of history. Fred helped bring the history alive with descriptions and explanations. He and Xiaohong adapted the hike to our interests and abilities - in fact we went further than expected - about 10 km - just because we were having such a great time.

The farmhouse stay was quite special; it felt really authentic. The hostess prepared an extravagant array of dishes - several from their own garden. The beds were clean and heated from underneath. Our teenagers enjoyed it and left this humble setting with a different perspective on their suburban upbringing.

Visited April 2013
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3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Camping on the Great Wall was spectacular”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 17, 2012

This was the most interesting experience we had in Beijing. Initially we wanted to go tobogganing at the mutianyu section of the wall but when we discovered that a company named Dandelion Hiking organized hiking and camping tours on the great wall, it sounded way cooler.

We did the 2-day Crouching Tiger hike, which was manageable in terms of fitness intensity. We were picked up in a mini-van within Beijing and drove out to where the hike started. We stopped for lunch at a local villager's house before proceeding on the hike and can I just say that it was one of the best meals I have ever eaten! Fred and Heidi were extremely chilled and very good company. They also made the whole trip easy for us, as the packs, sleeping bags, tents, etc were provided by them. All we had to do was show up with our cameras. Dinner was also pre-prepared by them, and all we had to do was to cook it over the campfire (oh ok, they cooked it too). This dinner was also really good and somewhats creative in its simplicity. And the hike back down was also really nice because Fred and Heidi made the effort to choose a different route down.

Tips: The weather in October is really nice for hiking, very cool, but a bit chilly at night. I took a look at some of their other photos on their websites from different months and I think the floral and fauna might be nicer earlier in the year. Still, the fact that we had this section of the Great Wall ALL TO OURSELVES and never ran into another tour group while we were there, made this really special. You can really imagine what it was like years ago to be a guard in a deserted section of the wall. We would recommend this as an alternate activity for anyone looking to do something out of the city, or simply, out of the usual touristy stuff that Beijing offers.

Visited October 2012
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Slane, Meath, Ireland
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Mad trip to the Great Wall”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2012

Before you start reading this, the nett outcome was that, upon mature reflection, was a trip that will not be forgotten.

Fred and Heidi met us by appointment at the subway station. We were a party of eight, two leaders F and H, and six Trekkers. Two Canadians, one UK and three Irish incl the Scribe. This was early October 2012. The trip was booked after a study on Trip Adviser.

There was an adequate minibus to hand. We drove to a farm / restaurant in the blazing sun. We were brought through the front of the restaurant by the host and shown a fine herd of deer out back. The farm family in its two generations smiled a lot but spoke only Chinese. (Fair). They laid on a fine meal of grilled, roast, fried, boiled reindeer with a fine variety of salads from their own garden. (I'll leave the issue of local fertiliser to your own thoughts). The restauranteurs gave us loads of water bottles for the climb. It appeared this was a regular haunt for F and H.

We moved on to where the minibus and us would seperate. We loaded up with Dandelion rucksacks. F advised us we wouldn't need extra clothes so we left our personal rucksacks in the wagon. (Well I think he did, and it was still pretty hot out there)

We had a decent climb up the mountain. No bears, crocs, snakes, lions, tigers or physical hazards. This took about three hours of moderate slopes. We arrived at the top at a remote and dilapidated part of the Great Wall. There we saw a work gang of ten men of a reconstruction crew along with nine of the finest looking black donkeys you'd see in your whole life, complete with panniers for bring up reconstruction materials. The general view was only magnificent. We could see miles and miles of GW and many, many mountain peaks. To my recollection, we were at 1,400 meters altitude.

We inspected the blockhouse that was being restored on the GW and then set about making camp. Sticks were gathered for a cooking fire. Tents were erected, two-person tents for the couples and two one-man tents for the bachelor types. (This turned out to be important).

The sky turned to night. The skyscape was the most fantastic I have ever seen. The wind came up and the temperature dropped considerably. F prepared a fine meal and we ate in the shelter of a huge boulder. Bed time. We had individual camp mattresses and sleeping bags which might have been good at sea level. The tent age could have been more adequate for the camp location. Sleep came with some difficulty. I can vouch that it is easier to heat and sustain the warmth of the human body in a 2 or 3 person tent than in the solitary model.

We got ourselves together about an hour after sunrise. By this time the Great Wall reconstructors had arrived with the beautiful donkeys for their first of three trips in the day. We loaded up with the rucksacks, did a clean up of the campsite and commenced our descent. Rumour had it that some wildlife had consumed the rations during the night, so no breakfast but plenty of water bottles. Well, we hadn't booked the Ritz.

We walked downwards along lengths of the GW and various mountain paths for about two and a half hours. Between the exercise of the walk and the heat of the early morning sun, our bodies came to great vigour. Quite unexpectedly to the Trekkers, came round a corner on the path and low and behold, there's our minibus. Spread out in front of us was a breakfast of cooked meat and salads with beer and wine to wash all down. There is and old saying in Gaelic, " Is eh an tocras an tanlann" --Hunger is the best sauce. As soon as we had finished our repast it started to rain. We loaded up in the wagon and broke for Beijing.

Comments: I am an experienced weekly trekker on the mountains in Ireland.. however, our group would never camp out. I am accustomed to viewing beautiful sites. I was really moved by the sites of the landscape on our China trek, the landscape in daylight and the skyscape at night.

The catering was very good in difficult circumstances.

I suggest down sleeping bags for this degree of cold and someway of keeping the high winds out of the tents. When staying aloft for a few nights, the Trekkers have to get a good nights sleep.

We had really nice people on the trek, but is'nt that what you get when you trek. The jerks are all on beach level.

Fred and Heidi. These two people were really agreeable hosts. They were friendly, tolerant and a great sense of humour. They are excellent trek leaders. I wish the every success with their business. They deserve it.

Visited October 2012
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1 review
“Jian Kou Camping”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 1, 2012

We went for a one night camping trek to the Jian Kou area. Fred and Heidi picked us up at a subway station. We had lunch at a country side restaurant. Heidi ordered some great dishes even for a picky eater like me. The hiking was fantastic, most beautiful view of the nature and the original Great Wall. Once arrived at our camping site, we were busy taking pictures and exploring the area while Fred and Heidi were looking for tree branches and setting up a camp fire for dinner. After dark we couldn't stop looking up to the the beautiful night sky. I actually saw the milky way galaxy for the first time in my life. In the meantime Fred and Heidi were setting up tents for everyone. We requested to have our tent set up close to the window so we could enjoy the night sky. Welcome to the great wall hotel. Fred and Heidi were extremely helpful, they really took good care of us. I highly recommend them if you like hiking, camping away from the usual tourist area. We would definitely go camping with Fred and Heidi next time we are in Beijing.

Visited September 2012
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