The Great Wall/长城

(下面有中文版)

I wasn’t going to write a post about the Great Wall of China, because duh, everyone already knows about it, so it almost goes without saying that it’s a worthy sight to see. But, what many travelers might not know, is that there are many ways to do the Great Wall, and several different sections worth considering. For a more comprehensive list, check out this link, but for now, let me talk about the highlights, and also more unique ways to see this Wonder of the World.

Badaling — Only go here if you’re in a time crunch, want to see the Great Wall, and basically only want a selfie of you on the wall to prove you were there.

crowds-at-badaling
Image courtesy of China Travel Go

I have to mention this, because in the words of Admiral Ackbar: “It’s a trap!” True, it’s the closest section to Beijing City, and there’s even a convenient train that will take you there, so you can even skip over a tour group (and thus skip over some pointless trips to souvenir shops). However, it is basically Disneyland Great Wall, by which I mean it’s so renovated, it doesn’t even look real. To add to this, there are swarms of crowds, making it nigh impossible to get a good panoramic photo of the wall without tons of people in the background.

Mutianyu — Come here if you want to see great scenery, but also don’t want to literally scale a wall to find it.


This is probably the best compromise between accessibility, natural beauty, and being family friendly. It’s a couple of hours out of Beijing, so you would need to either buddy up with a tour group (hostels offer this service), or get a bus. Mutianyu is much flatter than, say, Jinshanling, less overtly renovated than Badaling, less wild than Jiankou, but still has gorgeous mountain scenery. What makes it stand out: you have the option of riding a toboggan down the Great Wall.

Jinshanling-Simatai — Come here if you want a wilder, but still solid, wall.

102
Jinshanling-Simatai is much more rugged than Mutianyu, but is also not death-defyingly steep like Jiankou. Same as Mutianyu, it’s a couple of hours out ot Beijing, so you’d need to get some sort of transportation. The perk of this area is that it feels wilder, and so it’s easier to imagine what it must have been like in ancient times. When I went there, I liked that it felt more remote because of how it got slightly less traffic than other more renovated places.

Jiankou — Come here if you want to really CLIMB the Great Wall, and like adventures.

10374463_10154820588030302_5078336089265583920_n
Hannah, clinging to the last solid patch of Wall.

Here’s where it starts to get really wild. This part of the wall gets very little traffic, and that’s becuase it requires a lot more work to enjoy. Loose rocks, crumbling steps, steep cliffs, and trecherous climbs make this a truly adventurous trek. I was lucky enough to go with two boys who a) really liked to climb, and b) had no qualms about hoisting me up over the edges because I have weak noodle arms. To get here, you’ll have to get a small van to take you to the wall (and pick you up afterward!) Bargain liberally.

Scuba Diving the Great Wall — Come here to channel your inner mermaid/merman.

underwater-GreatWall
Image courtesy of Urbane Nomads

I had to include this one because it’s so cool. Due to the construction of Panjiakou Resevoir, part of the Great Wall is now underwater. While it’s not technically in Beijing, but rather in Chengde, Hebei Province, Beijing-based organizations lead underwater expeditions to see the Submerged Great Wall. You can’t go here with only an Open Water diving certificate, though. It’s 30 meters deep, meaning you have to know what you’re doing. Still, this would probably be the most unusual way to experience the Great Wall.

As I said, this is just an overview of the Great Wall coming out of Beijing, and even only the main culprits. The Great Wall is HUGE, so consider seeing it in other provinces like: Hebei, Gansu, Inner Mongolia, Liaoning, Ningxia, Shaanxi, Shanxi, and even Tianjin to get even more unique experiences. Just, for my sake, PLEASE don’t just give up and go to Badaling. For me?

长城
我本来是不想写一篇关长城的文章因为当然大家都知道不到长城非好汉的道理,所以不用我给大家太多介绍这个地方。但是很多游客并不知道怎么去欣赏长城。如果你想了解更多,请观看……但是现在我主要是先列出特别的部分。

八达岭
我必须提这一段因为就像《星球大战》里的Ackbar所说的:“是一个陷阱!”的确,是离北京市最近的长城,而且坐火车去也很方便,不用跟着导游去(也可以忽略导游最爱的纪念品店!)但是八达岭就像一种“迪斯尼乐园的长城”换句话说修复成不像现实的长城,加上有人山人海的游客让你自己拍不了没有人的全景照片。

***只有这个挑战值得让你去八达岭:你时间很紧张但是你还是想有你站在长城的自拍让别人知道你的确去过了。

慕田峪
这一部分应该是“可进入的,”“家庭友好型”和“美丽自然”最好的组合。这里离北京市几个小时之外,所以你需要跟着导游或者坐个大巴去(很多青年旅社有导游)。慕田峪比金山岭平多了,没有八达岭修复的那么厉害,也没有剪口缺那么野性,但是还是很好看的。最突出的是你可以坐平底雪橇下长城。

***如果你很想看风光,但是也不想真正地“爬”长城,来这一段儿吧。

金山岭-司马台
金山岭-司马台比慕田峪野性多了,但是没有像剪口那么厉害的。跟慕田峪一样,离北京市几个小时之外,所以你要坐巴士或者跟着导游去。这一部分比较好的地方是比较崎岖所以你会感到远古时代的气息。我去的时候更喜欢这里的偏僻感,因为不太修复的长城没有吸引很多游客。

***如果你想观看比较野性,但还是稳定的长城,就来这里。

剪口
这里就是很野性。这里的人更少,因为这里要花力气才能爬到的。活动的石头、摇摇欲坠的楼梯、陡陡的峭壁和危险的路——这些都是剪口的特殊冒险之处。辛运的是我爬剪口时,我是跟着两个又喜欢爬山又愿意拉着我弱弱的胳膊的男人。到这里,你要坐一个面包车,应该讲价是不用说的吧。

***如果你只是简单想“爬”长城,那就来这里。

潜水发现长城
因为这个选择更了不起,我是肯定会提的。因为这里的片甲口水库建筑,长城的一段建在水里。其实,这里离北京很远,因为在河北省的承德附近,但是很多北京潜水公司有旅团去观看。要提醒你:这里的水很深的,所以如果你只有开放水域潜水证,你不可以下水因为深度会超过30米。但是这样算是最了不起发现长城的方式吧。

***如果你想做你内在的美人鱼,来到这里。

这就是一种离北京市附近的长城概观,也只是最突出的部分。长城超级长,所以你也可以在其他省而观看,比如:河北,甘肃,内蒙古,辽宁,宁夏,陕西,山西和天津。但是你千万不要放弃爬八达岭……就算是为了我,好吗?

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One thought on “The Great Wall/长城

  1. Pingback: Hannah’s Top Touristy Beijing Picks (English) – Hannah Travels China/汉娜的中国之旅

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