One place in during my trip in China I was super excited to visit, was of course the Great Wall.
The original plan was to visit the wall via a tour that I could book through my hostel, however things slightly changed after my trip to the Summer Palace in Beijing. Arriving at the palace I struggled to buy tickets (not speaking or reading Chinese!) … So, I decided to ask a helpful looking group of tourists in front of me for assistance. After talking for a while, I then proceeded to spend the entire day with them. The day was spent wandering the Summer Palace, the Forbidden City, and feasting on an incredible Vegan Lunch! – I have never really done vegan food before, but wow, it was good!
The four of us got on so well, they were incredibly generous and warm hearted, and were great company. So, when they asked me to join them on their trip to the Great Wall the following day, how could I say no?!
One of the joys of travel is that things never go the way you expect.
On the Day…
The following morning, I woke early, and headed to our meeting point. We picked up the hire car, and the adventure began. Being a passenger on Chinese roads is an experience (Esther you were a great driver, Jay I’m not so sure), and one that I would totally recommend when visiting China. I loved being out of the main city, and being able to view smaller parts of the city first hand driving through.
The section of the Great Wall we visited was called Mutianyu. It was roughly a 70km drive form Beijing, so therefore is one of the more popular spots to visit if you’re staying in the city.
The wall is divided into lots of sections; some are dilapidated whilst others are maintained for the tourist industry. Mutianyu is designed for tourists, and therefore gave us the chance to see the wall in all its glory.
At the entrance to the Great Wall, we had two options: hike up or get the cable car. Being the strong, fit and athletic people, we thought we were, we opted to hike (good for the heart and the wallet!). The hike itself killed me. I must give major credit to Erin and John here who just seemed to run up the 2500+ steps like they were walking their dogs in the park. I on the other hand; staggered, cried and sweated my way up. Not as strong, fit or athletic as I thought!
However, reaching the top, the view seemed all the sweeter for the hard work I had put in to see it. I was blown away by the Great Wall of China as I am sure every other visitor is too. With the scorching blue skies above, the views stretched for miles.
I could never quite get my head around just how long the wall is. 13,171 miles long! I mean, imagine building the wall. Carrying all those stones up those steep mountain slopes, placing each stone so specifically so that the wall can stand for thousands of years; it really is mind boggling.
After exploring the wall for an hour or two, and being beaten by the sun, we decided to make our way down. And it wasn’t just any old way down. Oh now, we went on the toboggan.
Yes, that’s right, you can toboggan down from the Great Wall of China! For 100 yuan (£10), you can enjoy roughly a 10-15minute ride to the bottom. Plus, you can choose the speed! It was a blast!
Ultimately, I’m not sure it totally was worth the 100 yuan, other than for the fact that you’ll probably never get to do it again! It was crazy fun, but I do wish the views were slightly better going down.
Sliding to a stop, we disembarked and ended the day with a nice cold beer.
A perfect day all round. And a perfect way to visit the Great Wall of China.
I am constantly making an adventure out of life, and looking for a new story around every corner. You can follow all my adventures here on the blog, subscribe to get a little email each time I post so you can travel along with me. Also, follow of me on my Instagram and Facebook for the latest news and photos.
Inspiring women and showing them that they have the ability to do what they want in the world, is the main aim of this blog. It is the reason I document my adventures and travel stories. I want to show women and girls, that the world is their oyster. Just go out, and grab from it what you want.