During the month of April I had the great pleasure to travel to Shanghai out of Los Angeles. I took the direct flight from Los Angeles to Shanghai Pudong and you can read my review of the flight here. Asia is one of my favorite destinations to travel and this year I have traveled to Asia quite a bit and will be returning in January. During my 7 day trip around Shanghai, I decided to make my way to Beijing because I was close and I didn’t want to miss the opportunity of doing fun things during my trip while also visiting some of Beijing popular landmarks like The Great Wall of China.
If I am not mistaken it is almost everyones dream to visit The Great Wall and getting to experience the beauty of it with also so much history behind it. I made it a priority to visit it first thing in the morning leaving my hotel which was the Four Points Sheraton Beijing fairly early to avoid traffic and long lines at the attraction. I left my hotel at 8:00am and arrived at The Great Wall by 9:30am which is perfect. Upon arrival the landmark was fairly calm and not so busy and the line to buy tickets was empty with barely anybody in line…yet. 😉
Keep in mind they are different entrances to the Great Wall and thats up to you which one you would like to visit. My driver dropped me off at the one I requested and the one that was recommended by everyone at the hotel. Within this location you can hike two sides of the Great Wall and the sights are beautiful. The ticket fee to enter the Great Wall was 45 Yuan, you can spend all the time you would like inside the landmark exploring all that it offers. Before entering you will be able to find a mural where it talks about The Great Wall and the history behind it – I recommend reading it to understand the background and history of this beautiful landmark.
Admission Fee: 45Y
Things to keep in mind before hiking The Great Wall:
- Wear comfortable clothes and fitness attire. It is important to be comfortable and having clothes that will allow you to move freely without limitations. The Great Wall steps are very narrow so the way you hike and steps you take will be different every time.
- Comfortable shoes, do not wear a brand new pair of sneakers to hike but be sure to wear your most comfortable ones that you have worn before, this will help you avoid blisters and feet discomfort while hiking.
- Bring water – I can’t stress this enough. Water is extremely important to have and not just one bottle but plenty of water because the hike can be intense and depending the temperature you must stay hydrated. There is no where to buy water while hiking the Great Wall. During my hike many people were struggling because they were not hydrating enough. Hydrating yourself will also help you avoid any cramps as well.
- Leave all heavy belongings behind so you are free to move around without any disruption, avoid carrying heavy personal items as thats only going to wear you out even more during your hike.
Make sure to visit The little Chinese Villages before you begin your hike
Within those villages you will be able to find refreshments, snacks, a patio to sit and soak in the vibe and much more info about this incredible landmark. Due to my early arrival there wasn’t much people but believe me, that this place gets very very crowded so plan ahead. After visiting those villages I made my way to begin my hike. The weather was gloomy, fairly cold but in my opinion – great hiking weather.
Beginning my hike – The View
As you can see from the photo above – They are several peaks and my goal was to make it to peak #3 and I did. The hike towards peak #3 gets more intense because of the steps, elevation and the style that great wall is – Everything felt out of balance and I had to tailor my walking so my knees and legs weren’t being impacted by it. So keep an eye on the steps as always and make the necessary changes so you can avoid any injuries throughout the hike.
Memory Locks at The Great Wall
Within the starting point of the hike you will find the memory locks where some of the locals share their thoughts, memories, love, etc and place it at The Great Wall – I loved this idea because it is something that will last and stay at The Great Wall for some time. The locks can be purchased at the store found within the entrance for those interested on doing this as well.
The View as I arrive Towards Peak # 1
Hiking Towards Peak # 2
View From Peak # 3
You will noticed on the picture above from my hike a different section of the Great Wall – Those are bathrooms and let me be honest, they are not in the best conditions which is to be expected. They are toilets from their time and of course, renovation won’t be happening but it is worth noting that if you are in need of using the restroom – you will be able to as you hike. The view from peak # 3 was breathtaking although the fog was getting rough and the temperature started to drop as well. From peak # 3 there is another walk path of the Great Wall but after climbing a couple of thousand steps, I decided to head back down.
My overall experience:
- The atmosphere while being at the Great Wall was surreal – I had goose bumps upon my arrival because I just couldn’t believe it I was finally at Great Wall and visiting such an amazing and historic landmark.
- The Hike was very pleasant and rough in some aspects, mainly because of the weather and certain sections of the Great Wall that was challenging. The steps and the style of it made it rough in some occasions but I truly enjoyed it.
- The people hiking the Great Wall were simply incredible as they were from all over the world and sharing their feelings and excitement as they hike it. Even a few pilots from the US were hiking the Great Wall on their lay over.
- Within certain peaks you will be able to find a stand where locals sell souvenirs, drinks and snacks as well as a local engraving the Great Wall on bricks so if you are wanting to get a souvenir at Great Wall for good memories, you will be able to pick up at Great Wall.
- Hiking towards Peak # 3 was a reality check – Not too many people were hiking towards this peak because to be honest – It is a long way but certain people decided to hike but I recommend doing it for the view and to see what the other side of the Great Wall looks like.
- Visiting the Great Wall was mind blowing and I would visit it again on my next trip to Beijing.
- As I mentioned above, wear comfortable clothes, bring water and stay hydrated. Stretch your legs before beginning the hike and most important, listen to your body as it gets challenging at times.
Have you been to the Great Wall? If so, how was your experience?