You cannot go to China without visiting the Great Wall! We hired a driver through the hotel concierge who took us to a less busy part of the wall called Mutianyu. Mutianyu is located in Beijing’s Huairou District and was built in 1404 and has been open to visitors since April 1988. It is the longest restored section of the Great Wall open to tourists. There are 22 Watchtowers on this section of the wall – about 1 every kilometer.
Once you get to Mutianyu, which is about 100 km away from Beijing’s city center, you need to purchase a bus and entrance ticket. The bus will drive you up to the entrance of the Wall and from there you can choose from three methods of ascent and four methods of descent. Besides utilizing 4000+ steps, visitors may choose between a two-rider chairlift or four-rider gondola lift up from the foothills to the level of the wall. These lifts may also be used to descend. Another feature of the wall at Mutianyu is an alternate method of descent by single-rider personal wheeled toboggan. This allows single riders to descend from the wall to the valley on a winding metal track. Take the toboggan.
We choose the 4000+ steps…my legs feel like jello just thinking about it…unless you’re a super athlete you will be a sweaty mess by the time you reach wall level!
Once you are at wall level you will forget about the 2000 stairs you just climbed as you look upon the view, with cypress and pines staying green year round in the valleys surrounding the wall.