The great wall – China

Because I needed to wait for my Russian visa to clear I had 2 weeks to kill. Here in China you need your identification for everything. If you book a train ticket you need your passport. If you enter a hostel/hotel you need a passport. If you want a simcard you need a passport. Since my passport was at the Russian embassy I couldn’t travel too far.

When I was looking for hostels in Beijing I found this really highly rated hostel outside of Beijing (Check it here). It’s a small hostel 120 kilometres from Beijing and near the Chinese wall (you literality see the wall from the hostel). The hostel I was currently staying was offering tours to the wall but they are only a day trip. You travel for 3 hours to the wall, stay there for an few hours and travel back. Since the wall is one of the 7 new world wonders (of which I now saw 4 so far 😆 Check all 7 wonders here) I thought it would be best to explore it a little longer than 2 hour and I was glad I did.

I took two busses and 3 hours later I was in a little town called Gubeikou. It’s a town that has been redesigned by the government to be a model “tourist” town. I don’t know if it just didn’t work or if just because it winter time but there were no tourist here except the 4 people in the hostel. There was also only one restaurant in the town and the people really didn’t seem interested in the tourists. They were just living there everyday lives. I liked the town immediately 🙂

I waited a day in the hostel because there was really allot of smog (even here, 120K from Beijing) but the next day was fantastic so I headed out.

There are 2 parts of the wall here:

Gubeikou Dragon and the Tiger Great Wall (to the left  and right of the town). At the town the walls are not restored or tourist parts (with shops and touts) but after 8 kilometres they restored large parts of the wall called the Jinshanling Great Wall. I decided to start with the tiger part because it ends up into the Jinshanling.

The wall is not high in the beginning and in pretty bad shape but it becomes better and better the further you walk. With amazing weather and a backpack full of snacks I walked until the 24-windows tower. The view was amazing and after a short pick nick I continued.

I had to strafe of the wall for about 2 kilometres because there is a Chinese military base (and they don’t like tourists with big cameras) but the hostel gave me excellent information. You walk through a small creepy deserted village and end up at a tourist part of the wall (Jinshanling Great Wall).

This is where most daytrips go I think because I hadn’t seen anybody up until then but here it was full of people. I think it was the Beijing Canon photo club because it was all old people with huge cameras. I took some great shots of the sunset and headed back down to the parking lot of Jinshanling to take a taxi back to the village. I walked about 22K that day and the view are really sweet.

The next day it was time for the dragon. It is known to be pretty steep so they advised me to be back before dark (no sunset pictures 😎 ). It was a nice climb up but the last part was really dodgy. The railings where made of bamboo and most had already fallen down or where just not there anymore.

The view was excellent and I climbed I high as I was comfortable with (the last tower was too dangerous in my opinion)

I walked around the town for an extra day and relaxed. The place was a real treat with some great homemade food. The beds where so comfortable that it’s hard to stand up in the morning (especially because it was freezing outside). They had like 10 cats there as well so there is enough entertainment if your bored :grin:.

All in all I loved the great wall. Definitely my favourite part of China!

Too bad I had to go back to smoggy Beijing for my visa…..