The best ways to see the Great Wall of China

Posted by on Jan 15, 2015 in China, Travel | 0 comments

The best ways to see the Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is one of the must see destinations of the world.

The wall stretches east to west across China and was first started in the 7th Century BC.

Estimated to be over 20,000 km in it’s entirety, it was designed to protect China from invasion by the nomadic groups of the Eurasian Steppe.

Originally made from packed earth, stones and wood, bricks were later introduced.

There is a common misbelief that the wall is the only manmade structure that can been seen from space, but this is actually a myth!

An awe inspiring structure that should not be missed, here are my top recommendations for how to see it.

 

The Great Wall by sidecar

Beijing Sideways offer sidecar tours around Beijing and an awesome One day wild Great Wall tour.  This is a fantastic tour and riding in the sidecars is so much fun!

The motorbikes are ridden by local Chinese guys, and the company provides an English speaking guide to accompany the group.  The locals are lovely and know how to handle their bikes, and best of all they seem to really enjoy taking the bikes out together which adds to the fun atmosphere.

The bikes mean you don’t get stuck in pesky Beijing traffic, and feel like you’re part of a cool gang!  They take you to the “wild wall”, which means part of the wall that hasn’t been restored and rebuilt for tourists.  This means you get to see the real wall, old and crumbly and absolutely beautiful.

It was such a special moment being the only people there, having a french style picnic for lunch with a bottle of wine in an ancient guard tower.

 

Emma window

Sidecar

Wall

Emma on wall

 

Hike The Great Wall 

Beijing Hikers offer several hikes a week to various sections of the wild wall.  Led by experienced English speaking guides these are the perfect way to have an authentic experience and get your heart rate up!

The hikes are given a rating between 1 to 5 depending on their difficulty, so you can choose one that suits your level of fitness.  Most hikes take a few hours and cover between 5 to 10km.

Early Autumn is a great time of year to head out on a hike as the weather isn’t too hot or cold, and the trees are vibrant reds, orange, yellow and green.

 

wall

Hiking along the wall

 

Spend a weekend at The Great Wall

The Brickyard Retreat is unbeatable if you want to spend a night or two at the Great Wall.  There are 25 guest rooms in the main complex, as well as nine houses for rent in surrounding villages.

The Brickyard is all about sustainable eco-tourism. The main building was a tile factory and the houses originally peasant houses, all refurbished to provide beautiful accommodation.

I highly recommend renting a house if you have a group of four or more, the houses have fireplaces and are great to relax and spend time in.

There’s complimentary yoga on Sunday mornings, and village tours (if you want to do a tour be sure to tell them as soon as you arrive so you don’t miss out).

The Brickyard has a restaurant in the main complex, and Saturday nights they often have a buffet BBQ with live jazz music.  There’s another restaurant in the courtyard of the nearby Schoolhouse, and don’t miss trying yummy homemade noodles at Xiaolumian which has a beautiful outdoor setting.  For details about the restaurants click here.  There’s also a great local Chinese restaurant up the road from the Brickyard where you can get a feast for a very small price.

It’s close to Mutianyu which is one of the main tourist parts of the Great Wall, the upside to this is you can toboggan down from the wall which is really fun and a pretty unique experience!

My advice is get the chair lift up and toboggan down. When you get off the chair lift turn right and walk along the wall, if you keep going (past the no admittance sign!) you’ll get to the “real wall” where it hasn’t been restored and is crumbling with plants growing along it.

 

The remains of the wall

The remains of the wall

 

Heart's Desire, one of the houses for rent

Heart’s Desire, one of the houses for rent

 

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The Stone Forest house, located close to Brickyard in Beigou Village

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