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A trip to the Great Wall at Simatai

Miyun Travel Blog

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The cable cars at Simatai

Simon and I had been discussing organising a trip to the Simatai section of the Great Wall since we’d arrived in Beijing and finally we managed to do it!

Simon and BBC were loaned a driver from their school for the day, which was really convenient, so we met them at the Shihao hotel in Miyun at 9.30 and were at the Wall by 11am. 

Simatai is one of the oldest sections of the Wall and also the one that’s had the least repair work, so it’s the most original section too...

We knew we would need a least a couple of hours at the once on the Wall so we got a bite to eat first before getting the cable car.

Inga and I on the cable car

The Wall is pretty high up the mountain, which I hadn’t anticipated based on my experience at the Badaling section.  A cable car takes you part way, which means the rest of the climb is on foot – a little exhausting for someone who’s only exercise in the last few months has been arm curls with a bottle of Tsingdao.  I was quite grateful we didn’t do this trip in summer as it would have been excruciating.

Well, the thigh burn was worth it – the view from the Wall was just spectacular and definitely what I had imagined it would be like BUT better.  And what’s more, there was hardly anyone else there – a real first for China!!  At one point, we actually had sections of the Wall to ourselves, which was just incredible.  It truly was amazing and the experience really took my breath away, both physically and metaphorically.

The view from Simatai cable car

The sensation of standing there made me realise without hesitation why the Great Wall is considered one of the seven great wonders of the world.

We strolled along the top of the Wall for a while, soaking up the vista and taking loads of photos between our numerous gasps in awe.  At one point I managed to get stuck clambering up a rather tricky, run down section, which provided the others with a bit of amusement.  Needless to say, they felt more inclined to watch me struggle on all fours to pull myself up than help.  I clearly didn’t work the damsel in distress thing enough!

We then went in search of the ‘Flying Fox’, which took a little detective work as sign-posting wasn’t the best.  This is a zip wire, which runs from the Wall across a lake as an alternative way to get down the mountain.

The view from Simatai cable car
 Clearly it seemed a much more adventurous way to descend than getting the rickety cable car again....  It was pretty tame but great fun adding to the overall experience, and comes complete with more fabulous views.

Once back down to earth, there was a little boat waiting to take us the last bit of the way back to the entrance...

It was then time for me to buy the traditional Chinese hat I’d been after, which I got for the bargain price of ¥25... I was having quite a laugh with the lady on the stool so I decided to try a few other hats she had on display and managed to walk away with a furry Russian number (think Dr Zhivago) and a winter Chinese military hat for Inga – perfect for our January trip to Harbin.

Once back in Miyun, Inga and I had decided to opt for our first quiet Saturday night in, but ended up drinking all the Christmas booze supplies whilst dancing around to Christmas music sporting our new hats.  It wasn’t the best idea we’d ever had but it was December 1st after all so we thought about time for the Christmas cheer to kick in.

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The cable cars at Simatai
The cable cars at Simatai
Inga and I on the cable car
Inga and I on the cable car
The view from Simatai cable car
The view from Simatai cable car
The view from Simatai cable car
The view from Simatai cable car
The breathtaking view at Simatai
The breathtaking view at Simatai
My first shot of the Wall as I asc…
My first shot of the Wall as I as…
Me on the Great Wall
Me on the Great Wall
Another shot of me on the Wall
Another shot of me on the Wall
Posing with Simon and BBC
Posing with Simon and BBC
Check out that empty background!
Check out that empty background!
How I always imagined it to be - e…
How I always imagined it to be - …
The crew treking
The crew treking
The view from one of the look-outs
The view from one of the look-outs
View of the Great Wall
View of the Great Wall
Another GW shot
Another GW shot
Inga and I with a spectacular back…
Inga and I with a spectacular bac…
The view from the zip wire
The view from the zip wire
View from the flying fox
View from the 'flying fox'
Inga flys down the mountain
Inga flys down the mountain
On the boat back to the entrance
On the boat back to the entrance
Inga and I with our new hat purcha…
Inga and I with our new hat purch…
With the lovely lady stall-holder
With the lovely lady stall-holder
The crew work the Chinese look
The crew work the Chinese look
Posing in our new furry hats
Posing in our new furry hats
Inga hugs the heater
Inga hugs the heater
Enjoying an early Christmas drink …
Enjoying an early Christmas drink…
Miyun
photo by: lizharvey79