Trip to the Great Wall at Simatai

Simatai Travel Blog

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Us on the Great Wall

Firstly apologies to all the boffins out there re the approximated map location in writing this. The website wasn't working properly and wouldn't allow me to zoom in to get an accurate location.

After the walking marathon of yesterday we decided that we'd pass up the option to trek on the Great Wall from Jinshanlen to Simatai and head straight to Simatai itself where you can get onto a different part of the walf with a slightly shorter walk. We left Beijing around 7.15 with a 3 and a half hour white knuckle ride in a minibus to reach the walk which is approximately 110km north of Beijing. Our driver was obviously a jedi as he was quite happy to overtake on the wrong side of the road at blind bends, made through gaps that we wouldn't have gone through on a bike and generally drove on whichever side of the road he felt like.

Adam holding the Great Wall in his fingers.
still it was an adrenalin rush and made the journey pass quickly. Once at Simatai we had two choices, either to walk up the wall and ride a cable car down or to ride the cable car up (30 Yuan) then walk down. Of course you could ride the cable car both ways but that would be way too lazy and a waste of an opportunity. We opted to ride up and walk down.

Our fears about the temperature were brought home on the cable car. It was a two person gondola which was totally open to the elements and we were freezing! The views were more than making up for it though it was truly an amazing spectacle. Seeing the wall itself loom into view along the most impossible of mountain ridges you have to marvel at how it got built and that it was deemed necessary to cover such sheer ridges.

Once off the cable car you have the option of something called a mini train to take you up the rest of the way but that seemed a bit of a joke to us, there was probably something else to take money off you after that as well and so on.

Our shadows from the cable car.
  The walk up seemed pretty step but once we got going it was great, it warmed us up nicely and afforded us more awesome views of the surrounding mountains and wall. Expect to be accompanied along the way by some local sellers of tourist rubbish but they will give up after a while and turn back. Once at the top we were at Tower 8 of the east section of the Simatai wall and it totally blows you away. The breathtaking views aside the engineering feat of the construction is astounding. We should say that the wall at Simatai is the original construction and is largely intact but because its a bit farther than Badeling is not as touristy. We set off down the wall which is unbelievably step and you really do have to watch your step. There were quite a few moments when we had to steady ourselves and we realised that walking up might actually be easier than walking down.
The Great Wall at Simatai.
We spent about am hour and a half walking down to Tower 1 stopping at the various towers, taking photo's and just enjoying the whole experience.

From Tower 1 you can walk back down to the village or you can take the Flying Fox. A zip line which takes you over the water of the dam. Health and safety issues aside it was an opportunity we couldn't pass up. It was awesome and we totally recommend it.

At the bottom we had a couple of beers as a reward and ate a great lunch chatting to those from our minibus who had trekked from Jinshanlen before the 3and half hours back to Beijing.

If you ever get the chance definately go to Simatai over Badeling.

barrieandann says:
very impressed with your bartering skills Adam.We are thoroughly enjoying your blogs and almost feel as though we are there with you. Glad you now have warm clothes.Very proud of what you are both doing and the way in which you are coping with any problems. Lots love Mum and Dad (typed by Mum)!!!!!!
Posted on: Dec 09, 2007
Virginiagoodings says:
I agree with Barrie and really makes one want to take the same trip! Cannot wait to see the photos!
Much love to you both,
Mum/Virginia xxoo
PS I was shivering with you!
Posted on: Dec 08, 2007
barrieandann says:
The sights you are seeing Adam & Stephanie sound fantastic. Glad to hear that you are keeping fit with all that walking and loosing weight no doubt. Looking forward to seeing some photos.

Love to you both
Mum and Dad xxxxx
Posted on: Dec 07, 2007
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Us on the Great Wall
Us on the Great Wall
Adam holding the Great Wall in his…
Adam holding the Great Wall in hi…
Our shadows from the cable car.
Our shadows from the cable car.
The Great Wall at Simatai.
The Great Wall at Simatai.
The Great Wall at Simatai.
The Great Wall at Simatai.
Steph on the Flying Fox down fro…
Steph on the "Flying Fox" down fr…
photo by: wbboy29