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“Amazing place but beware of scams”
Review of Travel Great Wall

Travel Great Wall
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Small Group Tour: Enjoy Your Day on Mutianyu Great Wall including Lunch
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All Inclusive Self-Guided Private Day Trip to Mutianyu Great Wall
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All Inclusive Self-Guided Private Tour to Summer Palace and Mutianyu Great Wall
Ranked #39 of 392 Tours in Beijing
Certificate of Excellence
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Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Mutianyu Great Wall small group tour, Great Wall car rental service, Beijing airport layover tour. Jinshanling Great Wall hiking towards to Simatai was amazing !"Not been on the Great Wall, not a great man."—Chinese proverb.The least spoiled part of the Great Wall.The hike from the west Jinshanling to the east Simatai is the most challenging Great Wall hike in Beijing.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Reviewed November 18, 2013

This time we decided to go to Jinshanling, to hopefully get a more real experience of the Great Wall (as opposed to the one you get at places like Badaling, extremely crowded and full of group tours/busloads of people). And it was indeed very special. Unfortunately, the stretch from Jinshanling to Simatai is still closed (except for the first 4 or 5 watch towers). We hired a driver in Beijing who was great but had never been to Jinshanling. So when we got there, he pulled up at the East Gate Visitors' Centre car park to ask for information. This dodgy guy told him that the cable car was closed, so our best option was to walk up to the wall from there (over 30' very tiring walk up, all steps). Our children aged 6 and 3 were with us and by the time we got to the top they were already very tired. And at the top we found out that the cable car was running. Outside of the visitors' centre these 3 ladies starting walking up with us and were with us the whole time. I have to say that, being with kids, they were extremely helpful because we would have never been able to do what we did without their help (walk 4 and a half hours). One of them held the 6 year old's hand most of the way, another one carried our 3 year old on her back in the most difficult stretches. But this was all part of the scam. At the end you have to buy some souvenirs from them. In our case it was fine, their tip was well deserved and it all worked out but I hate been played and lied to! So I would say: be aware, do your research, have a clear idea of where you want to go and if you don't want to have to tip these ladies tell them right away that you want to walk alone and you don't need their help (which we would have done if we'd been without the kids). Anyway, we ended up walking a few towers eastward in the Simatai direction and then back to the Jinshanling cable car. An amazing day (the fact that it was sunny made it even better). Next time I'd love to try the walk to Simatai (when/if it finally reopens again) but without the children! (definitely too hard for them - and maybe for us, too?). In general there are a lot of ups and downs along the wall and some of the steps are broken. There are parts where you're walking on the side of a cliff without much protection. I would recommend a walking stick and having good knees! Be aware that the Jinshangling cable car is closed in the winter (Nov. 11 to March). Bring water and sandwiches and dress in layers (it can get pretty chilly up there but you're going to get hot from climbing at times). No toilets and no smoking along the walk.

4  Thank Babi852
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 9, 2013

I went there without a tour with a friend...

its really hard to get there... u need to take one bus from dongzhimen station and still u will be 1h away from the wall... after a long time bargaining the taxi driver charged us 400 for the race (started with 750) .... IF U ARE GOING SOLO DEFINETELY TAKE A TOUR ! because its really far from the bus stop..... it took us 3h30 to get there from beijing

this part of the wall is not crowded ! I took awesome pictures alone in the wall....

this wall has not been restored yet like badaling... so u can see it in its original form

so its worth the 100RMB more that u pay ! much better than badaling or mutianyu !

another thing.... there will be chinese guys saying that they are not guides... and they ll start explaining the history of the wall and asking to take ur pictures, in the beggining they ll say that they are not working, and just sell books.... do not accept their help.... they ll try to sell books for 120RMB later to u.... me and my friend we just gave him 50RMB because he really helped us a lot telling the history and taking pictures, and we felt bad, coz he really helped us.. but we are in a short budget and we did not want any help... and in the beggining I asked him twice if he was not a guide.... so just be careful...

another thing... the cable car is really expensive.... but its not a easy walk

2  Thank Henry Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 30, 2013

As a senior travelers, over 65 years old and still being in great physical shape, I was prepared to hike up to the mountain ridges where these magnificent earth treasures were built with intensive man power . Having handicap spouse, if was to climb up the mountain to the walls, that my spouse would wait at the bottom of the mountain while I can climb to the walls and return with plenty of photos. So happened, the bottom of the mountain had the "old" cable cars which we were glad to use them to get to the wall and back. We only hiked the fraction of the hiking trail from Jinshanling to Simatai but just being up there was enough for us as these walls were built on very similar engineering feat. This one of the earth's wonders of the world was on our bucket list and we enjoyed our trip immensely.Warning to those "civilized" tourists from the "modern" countries, be aware of how to use the non-modern toilet facilities in different places in China, especially for the handicap people.

1  Thank InSungOLee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 18, 2013

After a 3 hour drive from Beijing, we arrived at the wall. We were advised to take the cable car because that would save time which we could spend on the wall. However, as everyone took the cable cars, the line turned out to take even longer than the approx. 45 min. walk up the stairs. I also found the small wobbly cable cars a bit scary and the view was not that impressive, mainly trees. Still, the wall here is very steep at some points so we could start the hike without being tired from the walk towards it.

Views from the wall are amazing, you can see it stretching out left and right, over the ridges of the hills. I was told this part of the wall is still in its original state which is why we choose to go here and it was well worth it. Also, we went there during the Chinese national holiday week, when everywhere is extremely crowded. This part of the wall was actually not as busy as we expected!

We did not go all the way to Simatai because we did not have the time for that. The part we walked had 2 very steep parts, with some crumbled steps. Up was easier than down, which was a little scary but manageable.

1  Thank Jaimy v
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 21, 2013

My partner and I walked the 4/5km section of wall between Jinshanling towards Simatai on 9th September. You cant get all the way to Simatai just now as it's being repaired.

It is really spectacular, and the excellent reviews on here are 100% correct. I mainly want to talk about the difficulty, however, as some of the reviews on here made me wary before we went as I'm pretty unfit, and I nearly didn't book it as I thought I wouldn't make it - that would have been a serious mistake.

Note: I'm talking about the first 4km towards Simatai - I understand the next bit which is currently closed (a further 6km?) is hard but I can't vouch for that. However, the point we stopped at, which is as far as you can go at the moment, has steps down to an entrance to the park and the road - about 1400 steps so don't be tempted to go up this way or you'll be too knackered to do the wall. I understand from our guide that the full walk to Simatai, when it reopens (soon he said, but they've been saying that since 2012 from what I can see), is a full day hike and he advised that you really need to go up and stay there the night before to get the best of it (there is a little restaurant with accommodation and a camp site - not sure about hotels you'd need to check).

We didn't use the cable car and walked up to the wall. The wall walk IS tiring, lots of steps, and the second half is completely unreconstructed with a couple of steep sections which are pretty crumbly - though these are the best parts as you see the wall in it's 'natural' state before the builders get in.

Basically you should take it seriously and prepare (good boots / shoes, plenty of water and a snack as you will use energy - though you can buy refreshments on the way along the wall) but don't be put off too much. There are no toilets on the wall itself, though there are at the start, and you can't smoke - be warned!!

To give you the facts, I'm a big guy (about 100 kilos / 15.5 stone), 6 feet tall, 38 years old, I smoke and drink too much, eat badly, I'm asthmatic (though it's well controlled despite the smoking) and I haven't taken proper (or virtually any) exercise since playing rugby at University when I was 22 all those years ago. To cap it all I'm afraid of heights (one of the locals selling things on the wall laughed when I didn't want to go too near the edge without holding on and nervously shuffling out, and asked our guide 'why such a big man was so afraid of heights' which was very funny - I told her via the guide that I was afraid my belly might pull me over the edge). As you can tell my partner Louisa has got a great catch.

I benefited slightly from the fact that this was our second week in China and we'd done quite a lot of less strenuous walking when we were in Guangxi which kind of got my legs moving again and used to a bit of walking. I might have found it a bit harder if we'd visited the wall at the start of the trip. But Guangxi didn't make me 'fit' by any means.

However the walk on the wall was fine in terms of effort over all - it IS quite strenuous and I was tired, my heart was pumping hard at times and my legs were sore. But there are plenty of flat / less steep bits to get your breath back on and you clearly go down as well as up which gives a bit of a break. Other people were able to walk up the crumbly parts a lot more easily than me. I held on to the wall at the side on the steepest crumbly bits, didn't look behind me while climbing and was ready to crawl on my hands and knees - which I did a couple of times, who cares about shame it's worth it!.

But even the steepest crumbly bits still have rough steps, albeit quite a few are loose, and you get enough purchase to walk/climb on and, as I say, you can hold on to the side wall. My legs were tired, and I wouldn't have wanted to go too much further, but it was amazing - I was lost for words at times which as you'll gather is not like me..

My advice is unless you have difficulty walking up 5 or 6 flights of stairs (by which i mean more than just panting a bit so it takes a few minutes for your breathing to go back to normal) you will probably be fine - though tired. We took four hours on the wall, a really relaxed pace with lots of photos and time looking at the wall and views - which is the point of the trip after all it's not a race.

This is a long review but I wanted to try to give a true impression of the walk from the point of view of someone who is frankly unfit as I'd hate another lazy fat boy or girl to miss out on this amazing experience. Please don't be put off too much - though clearly you need to know you're own limits. Remember you can turn back at the half way point before you get to the unreconstructed part (we had our guide on the wall with us but you could ask your guide / driver if you've got one and they're not coming on the wall with you - which quite a few don't as we learnt).

I wouldn't have missed this for the world. It was THE highlight of a fantastic trip with many many highlights and the glowing comments on here are entirely justified. I wish I could show you my photographs - as the morning cloud lifted the sun came out and the expanse of mountains appeared with the wall just running inexorably on and on. It was a truly amazing day.


24  Thank Andy M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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