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The Great Wall at Mutianyu

Beijing Travel Blog

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Chaoyang park boating, the largest urban park in Asia

There are many different sections of the Great Wall you can go see from Beijing. Badaling is the most popular because it is the closest. I went to Simatai last year, which was 3 hours drive out of town and very scenic and very few people. This time we opted for a middle ground, the section at Mutianyu. It is a little bit farther out than Badaling (more straight north, instead of northwest which Badaling is).

The drive out there was easy enough, part high speed highway (would be called a freeway in California, except they are not free in China), and some national highway. As we got closer, we saw LOTS of farm style restaurants and places to stay (not a hotel, but a way to experience the farm life!), orchards of peaches, apples and cherries where you can pick your own fruits and fish ponds where you can fish your own fish for dinner or lunch.

Park visitor using a laptop, but no wireless here.
So I knew this was going to be a lot more commerical than Simatai. We got to the parking, and there were so many souvenir shops lining the walkway to the ticket office and then to the entrance of the cable car, it was quite amazing. The vendors all seem to sell the same stuff, t-shirts, some Chinese style dresses and pajamas, fans, statues of the terra cotta tomb soldiers (which is weird so far away from where they are representing, Xian's first emporer's tomb). And all the vendors seem to speak some English, definitely enough to be calling out to the tourists as they walk by.

We got both the entrance tickets (40RMB each) and the cable car round trip tickets (50RMB each), since I wanted to conserve the energy to spend on the wall itself. The walk to the cable car was a good indication of what's to come, pretty steep already! The cable cars are like ski lifts.

parachute rides in the park
We went up the mountainside, and soon we were at the half way point in this section of the Great Wall, with watch tower 14 in front of us, and towers 15 to 20 to the left, going UP, and tower 14 to tower 6 to the right, going Down.

We turned left, going up, for the better view, and fewer crowds. It worked out that way, no big crowds, the upwards climb got harder and harder, until from tower 19, where we climbed a steel ladder to the top to start the 426 steps to tower 20! The slope was at least 45 degree most of the way, and the steps into the tower 20 was even steeper, with very high steps which I climbed by using my hands too. Since I was carrying a backpack of camera stuff, I would hate to fall and hurt myself or break anything!

We were rewarded with the feeling of accomplishing the climb and great view below.

Ferrari on display in Chaoyang park as part of the financial expo
We had the tower all to ourselves for a long time before another person showed up. He actually climbed past the gateway of permitted area of the Great Wall, beyond where the wall was quite crumbed and not restored. We headed down, down was much easier than up, by a large margin! And by the time we got to tower 14, it was late enough, we decided to take the cable car down instead of walking down to tower 6 and then have to climb back up to 14 before we can board the cable car again.

So we skipped/missed the chance to tobaggan down from the lower tower, which might have been fun, but to me not really an experience I want to associate with the Great Wall.

On the way back we detoured to take a look at the "bird's nest", the new stadium being built for the  2008 Olympics. It was a very interesting building indeed, but we couldn't get close, only saw it from the nearby bridge.

portia says:
Thanks for the comments and smiles. You should definitely add China to your dream destinations! There is so much to see.
Posted on: Oct 16, 2007
Devika1985 says:
great blog and great pictures!
Posted on: Oct 16, 2007
portia says:
There are so many sections you can visit a different one every time!
Posted on: Oct 14, 2007
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Chaoyang park boating, the largest…
Chaoyang park boating, the larges…
Park visitor using a laptop, but n…
Park visitor using a laptop, but …
parachute rides in the park
parachute rides in the park
Ferrari on display in Chaoyang par…
Ferrari on display in Chaoyang pa…
vendors along the walkway to the c…
vendors along the walkway to the …
ticket office at Mutianyu Great Wa…
ticket office at Mutianyu Great W…
A display at Mutianyu, Kevin asked…
A display at Mutianyu, Kevin aske…
cable car up to the wall at Mutian…
cable car up to the wall at Mutia…
A look toward tower 20 from tower …
A look toward tower 20 from tower…
another look toward tower 20 from …
another look toward tower 20 from…
Kevin at the top of a tower
Kevin at the top of a tower
what the top of a watch tower look…
what the top of a watch tower loo…
Looking back at tower 14, the one …
Looking back at tower 14, the one…
We were there on the Great Wall
We were there on the Great Wall
This is another look toward tower …
This is another look toward tower…
a section of the wall with steps l…
a section of the wall with steps …
Another look back toward tower 14,…
Another look back toward tower 14…
Looking up from inside tower 19, t…
Looking up from inside tower 19, …
Kevin heads to tower 20
Kevin heads to tower 20
People climbing down the steps at …
People climbing down the steps at…
If you look at the steps on the bo…
If you look at the steps on the b…
Looking up at tower 20, still many…
Looking up at tower 20, still man…
the end of the restored section of…
the end of the restored section o…
Looking down from tower 20
Looking down from tower 20
The steep steps going down from to…
The steep steps going down from t…
Me doing the Half Moon yoga pose o…
Me doing the Half Moon yoga pose …
From tower 14, look down toward 13…
From tower 14, look down toward 1…
The Birds Nest under constructi…
The "Birds' Nest" under construct…
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photo by: Deats