After reaching a consensus, my friends and I decided to hire a tour guide for our trip to Great Wall-Mutianyu section during our Beijing visit last April. We weighed the pros and cons, which included being lost on our way there and we didn’t know how to speak Chinese and so on. And if we went on a day-tour, then we knew the guide will take care of how to get to Mutianyu as we sat down our own assigned seats inside the van.
The CNY100/person (for a group of six) for the trip to Mutianyu was worth it. Mutianyu is about a two-hour ride from the city proper (or Tiananmen Square), so we had a chance to take long naps along the way if we were not looking at the scenery towards the “countryside”.
Initially, I was insistent on going to Badaling section but our tour guide convinced us to go Mutianyu, which was more tourist friendly. it had better facilities and yet less crowded compared to Badaling section. Mutianyu is just one of the four areas wherein the Great Wall is accessible to tourists.
Information on the Mutianyu Great Wall showed that it lies in Huairou District, 73 kilometers (45.4 miles) from Beijing proper. It is a
superb location to appreciate the Great Wall as well as to avoid the crowds at Badaling.
The admission ticket costs CNY 40. But the round trip using the enclosed cable cars (both going up and down) costs about CNY 50.
But for the more adventurous who’d like a combination of the “open” cable car and the toboggan, we paid CNY 65 each for the round trip ticket.
I admit, we did not literally climbed the Wall. There were choices on how to “climb” Mutianyu, which were either by cable car (enclosed one), and an “open” cable car which we chose on the way up.
After reaching the station, we were amazed by the spectacular views from both sides of the wall. The trees swayed its branches as we feel the soft wind that brushed our skin. It was good we came in April, which was spring time in Beijing. The temperature was just right for us.
Amazed by the structures, we went through about three to five stations going through the watch towers and peeping out the small squares or so-called parapets which were used to repel enemies during the past dynasties.
The gray bricks, mostly restored, were witnesses to a history that spans 1400 years. It was blast from the past that gives a tourist like me how vast this Great Wall is, and the significance it played in defending China from invasion. In Mutianyu alone, there are 22 watchtowers, battlements and/or square holes used in monitoring enemies from a far.
While the weather was fine, there were times you needed to stop to catch your breath for a while. The steps are not all that easy. You need to bring some water to keep you moving.
On the way down, we took the toboggan ride which goes through the slopes of the Great Wall. The ride turned out exciting, its like going down through a long slide. Indeed heaps of fun.
Before going back to Beijing proper, don’t forget to pass by and check some souvenirs. Here is a tip: haggle for lower prices at least by 50 percent because some vendors were said to be taking advantage of tourists. Some souvenirs include “I climbed the Great Wall” shirts, and sweat shirts. There were even some coffee table books on the Great Wall and the Forbidden City… its good to buy them so you will be educated better on history of these places. XOXO