GREAT Wall - 9th June 2008 @ 3:17 pm «   »

Location: Beijing Municipality, China : GREAT Wall

Despite everyone in the hostel telling us it is impossible to get to Jinshanling (a less-touristic part of the Wall we wanted to see) without taking a tour bus, we did some research and decided to make our own way.

We left the hostel at 07:00 this morning, but after some cash withdrawl problems and a quick call to have one of our cards unblocked, we were on the Metro and on our way by 08:00.¬† Getting the local bus to Miyun was relatively easy and this part of the journey took just over 1 hour. From there we couldn’t find the minibuses that the Lonely Planet was talking about, and ended up in a friendly little Chinese lady’s taxi. She was lovely, but drove like a granny – never exceeding 60 km/h – and the last third of the trip (only about 50km) took 2 hours.

Arriving at Jinshanling, we bought our tickets and headed for the wall – taking the long route to the furthest watch tower and started the 12km hike there. It was everything we thought it would be and more! A truely unbelievable experience, even though quite exhausting – climbing literally thousands of stairs.

Throughout the whole route, there are hardly any level sections. Therefore you are forever either climbing up or down seriously steep and seriously long sets of steps. In many parts the walking surface is quite delapidated with huge drop-offs at either side, making for an even more adventurous journey.

At every opportunity, locals are trying to sell icewater, other drinks and souvenirs, but we soon learned how to get rid of them without being too rude.

The view was constantly changing and just seemed  to get better and better as we got closer to Simatai (our final destination) with the wall extending into the distant horizon. Needless to say we took way too many photos again and will have to spend hours sorting through and picking a worthy few for the website.

We were very pleased to see our taxi lady waiting for us at the end of the trek. After explaining to her that we really needed to get back quicker and were considering a faster minibus, she organised a different driver to drive her car (her in the passanger seat). We made the earlier 2 hour drive in less than an hour and then from Miyun caught the local bus back to Beijing again.

Even though we are absolutely exhausted, today will go down in the books as one of the highlights of this trip and our lives!

If you can’t see the slideshow above click here.

Comments are closed.