When picking a section of the Great Wall to visit, I definitely wanted a section not as crowded with tourists as Badaling or Juyongguan. Booked a tour to Mutianyu with Beijing Champagne International. Our guide, Rogin, showed up to pick us up super early at 7am. We got to the wall just after 8 and took the cable car up. Could you believe it? No one else was there!
Rogin shared some facts with us about the Wall and my mother shared some facts with him about Macchu Picchu and some similarities, namely the large stones held together without mortar.
After about an hour, the tour groups started to show up. But we were to call it a day anyway so we took the cable car back down.
On the way down after the cable car dropped us off, we passed plenty of stalls selling various trinkets. This is a great opportunity to hone your bargaining skills! The best tactic is to threaten to walk away. We got ripped off once, however, but got our money back with interest. We bought some embroidered pictures of the Wall and other scenery, a silk robe, a painting on a scroll of some koi, a plate with the Wall and a couple t-shirts. Don't feel forced to buy something at each stall on your visit. Just buy one or two things and keep walking! I mean it, Keep Walking (or else you'll never leave)!!
With the exception of the 'bargain shopping', this is a trip I highly recommend for any of you especially if you book with Beijing Champagne AKA Tour-Beijing.com. Their non-shopping no-nonsense tour was just the Rx needed in a world of jade, silk and tea shop tours.
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