Mao Zedong once said “He who has not climbed the Great Wall is not a true man”. No trip to Beijing is complete with a visit to the Great Wall of China, one of the New7Wonders of the World! Such beautiful views!
There are three main sections you’re able to visit while in Beijing – Badaling, Mutianyu, or Simatai and Jinshanling. Badaling is the closest to Beijing and also the easiest to walk. This means it’s extremely crowded. Mutianyu is an intermediate walk and a bit further from Beijing (also much less crowded). One site called it the Disney version of the Great Wall, because it’s so well-maintained and preserved. Simatai and Jinshanling are the farthest away and is suitable for “young generations and outdoor professionals”. The paths are a bit wilder and more difficult to climb, but it’s supposed to have the most beautiful views of the three sections.
We took the middle ground and chose Mutianyu. Plus there’s a cablecar to take up and a tobaggan ride to go down at the end! I mentioned already our wonderful hotel – they offer a shuttle service to all three sections of the wall, leaving very early in the morning. I think it took us about 1.5 hours to get to Mutianyu. Even though it’s “intermediate”, 3 km of steps is a lot and we were exhausted by the end! But so so so worth it!
After our 3 hour walk/climb, our group from the hotel met up again for lunch. We had two tables, and when Koen and I arrived we saw that our group was a bit segregated – one table of English speakers and one table of Chinese. It was an easy choice for us; we arrived late and there were two seats at the Chinese table! Although they didn’t speak much English, we had a lot of fun. I learned I wasn’t using my plates and bowls correctly and everyone wanted to show us the right way. Plus the food was delicious!