Hey, that's a GREAT wall!

Simatai Travel Blog

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Alone on the great wall? How did that happen?

For the last 4 days, I had been trying to arrange a trip to the Great Wall - with no luck. My request did not fit the mass-tourism model, I guess.

I knew that I did NOT want to be stuck on the wall in the middle of hundreds of other tourists, following some flag-waving, shouting tour guide, and fighting the crowds to get a photo that made it look like I was alone. In fact, I WANTED to be alone on the Wall, as I had high hopes that this might be a some-what "spiritual" experience.

Finally, however, I was able to convince the landlord of the apartment that I am renting to drive me in his own car. Despite his advice to go to Badaling, I was insistent that we would need to go about 3.5 hours away, to a section at Simatai.

And it was WORTH it!!!

There were only 3-4 other cars in the parking lot - and not a single tour bus! There were only two people selling things, and they were quite laid back.

Once on the Wall, my guide and I were virtually alone.

This was an INCREDIBLE experience. Everything I had dreamed it would be - and more.

And yes, I had several opportunities to just sit on the wall - looking out at "Inner Mongolia" and the scenery beyond - and contemplate how fortunate I am to see such a historic place.

Flying down the Great Wall

I also had the good luck to choose the longer path back down - which happened to lead to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I was able to ride a wild "Zip Line" (or "Flying Fox") back down to the bottom of the mountain. Imagine if you can, me strapped into a pulley and being launched over the cliff edge, and "flying" across the river valley to the lake below. Thrilling.


Flying through the air below the Great Wall of China - does it get any better than that?

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Zip-lining down the Great Wall of…
photo by: wbboy29