Jinshanling – The Great Wall Of China

by Poi on September 8, 2010

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The Great Wall of China is amazing, simple as that but for the sake of a decent post I’ll go into some more detail.

Planning our trip to China’s biggest attraction was driving us bonkers, there’s so much advice on the internet that contradicts each other it’s enough to drive anyone mad. We knew we wanted to avoid Badaling and hundreds of coaches full of tourists and didn’t particularly want to go on an organised tour. So we finally decided to walk from the Jinshanling section across to Simati, but guess what Simati is closed for rebuilding, apparently its going to have lots of hotels and even a golf course around it, just what you want to see when going to explore the wonders of the Great Wall isn’t it?

While considering our options and looking at a few other locations including Gubeikou and Mutianyu we heard that people were still hiking from Jinshanling to Simati, while some people were let through and out others were being turned away. We didn’t want to risk it and so decided to visit the Jinshaling section and just walk as much as we fancied before turning around and heading back to play it safe.

The next problem was sorting out our transport to the wall, naturally we chose the cheapest option and decided to catch a bus from Dongzhimen long distance bus station to Miyun and then get a taxi from there. We read a few posts about the Great Wall and how finding the buses was difficult but we arrived at the station to find a large map showing everything we needed to know. We found our bus stop easily complete with bus and driver ready and waiting to go. We handed over our 15 Yuan each and off we went, hardly the struggle we’d anticipated and a reassuring start to the day.

When we made it up to the main part of the great wall we were surprised to be greeted by a number of banners. For a moment we thought it was just annoying advertising but we soon realised that there was actually a marathon going on. These guys were really going for it and we couldn’t help but cheer on every one of them who struggled past. Luckily for us and the runners they were only using a small section of the wall, we soon had the wall to ourselves, for a little while anyway…

Climbing down some of the steeper steps a Chinese lady offered to help Kirsty down (I was too busy playing man and storming off ahead) which was very nice but then she started following us back the direction she had just come from.  She stayed with us for around half an hour and even when we tried to lose her in the towers and make a break for it she still came chasing up behind. Eventually I told her we wanted to carry on alone and out came the souvenirs. When we refused she almost began to cry, from the point we left her she must have watched us for a good ten minutes. We should have taken a picture really but we were afraid it would cost us later on. We later saw her ‘helping’ someone else who also looked as happy as we were to have a follower.

The Jinshanling section of the Great Wall was amazing and with many people choosing to visit the easier to reach parts of the walls it’s easy to find a bit of space and enjoy the wall peacefully. The views can’t be done justice in any picture, from the highest point you can see the wall snaking across the mountains for miles and I could have sat there all day. With a driver waiting though it was time to head back and both of us walked back down to the car park feeling very satisfied and agreeing that it had probably been the best day of our adventure so far.

We finished the day off with another Beijing must – Hot Pot. Straight across the road form our hostel is a local place we had been meaning to eat at the whole time we have been here. Beef, Lamb, Sweet Potato, Spinach and Mushrooms cooked in our own ‘hot pot’ filled us back up after the mornings walking although Kirsty wasn’t a big fan so a packet of Oreo’s was to follow…..classy.


{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Jade September 8, 2010 at 7:30 am

Sounds like you had the ideal experience! We were definitely one of those sites that said it can be confusing to find the bus- so I’m happy you guys had a much better time. Wasn’t the view unlike anything you would have imagined? This was my must-do thing when visiting China.
Jade´s last blog post ..Don’t Panic- How to Survive Cape Tribulation


Poi September 8, 2010 at 2:57 pm

The view is impossible to describe, it’s a must see for anyone! We were lucky on the day I think, everything transport wise just seemed to fall into place!


Jason Demant September 8, 2010 at 9:12 am

Sounds like an awesome trip and great pictures! Out of curiosity, did you get all the way to Simatai, did you see the part that was closed?

Jason Demant´s last blog post ..Itinerary update… The Home Stretch!


Kirsty September 8, 2010 at 3:11 pm

We’re not too sure how far we got along, we walked passed the last path to go back to jinshaling by about 4/5 watch towers but then had to turn back to get back off the wall in time. The “followers” kept informing everyone that simatai was closed….


Callum September 8, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Have you discovered the peanut butter oreos yet?


Kirsty September 8, 2010 at 3:13 pm

HEY! nope, but we’re hooked to orginals atm! in the last supermarket they were selling a green filling one but weren’t daring enough to try them out!

Have you found out what that theme park is called??


Andi September 8, 2010 at 1:41 pm

It looks like you had the whole place to yourself, how incredible!!! The Great Wall touched me so much, that I had to go back again. Awesome pics!
Andi´s last blog post ..Brasil- Day 4 Part 1


Kirsty September 8, 2010 at 3:15 pm

We have said the same, we want to do another part maybe further west. We were on our own for the most part and never near any crowd of people – it really was all we had hoped for 🙂


Amanda September 8, 2010 at 6:03 pm

The Great Wall really is stunning, isn’t it? The way it just snakes along for miles and miles… wow. It looks like you guys definitely chose the right section of the Wall!

I climbed part of the Badaling section when I was in Beijing with my college marching band (we also played a concert, complete with renditions of Kelly Clarkson songs on that portion of the Wall… talk about strange!). We were there in November, however, so once we actually got onto the Wall, it was much less crowded than I had feared.

I feel like no matter which section you visit, however, the Great Wall will take your breath away. And then some little Chinese lady will come up and offer to sell you a DVD.
Amanda´s last blog post ..Guest Post- The Toughest Job You’ll Ever Love


Kirsty September 9, 2010 at 1:25 am

One thing I wouldn’t expect to hear on the great wall is Kelly Clarkson, who’s idea was that? haha.

I think that last bit of the comment sums up the wall perfectly – possible new slogan for them to think about?


Callum September 8, 2010 at 6:24 pm

I have indeed, it is called Chimelong Paradise. Will email you or Poi the full details, and that dodgy hotel i stayed in.
And stay away from the green oreos, they are probably the worst thing i put in my mouth in China.


Kirsty September 9, 2010 at 1:27 am

Haha i’m glad we didn’t dare then!! I’ve tried some pretty minging stuff – but then have had some lovely treats to balance it out!!


Jaime D. September 8, 2010 at 9:34 pm

Wow y’all really got the whole place to y’alls self. That is awesome. Great pics!!! Going to the Great Wall is on my bucket list. Im not making it there on this RTW trip but I will one day~


Poi September 10, 2010 at 1:35 am

As long as it’s on your list I’m sure you’ll get there one day! I have faith!


Kelly @ travelbugjuice September 10, 2010 at 12:37 am

Sooo cool! I want to go it looks amazing!!

Very nice to meet you, btw. Hope you’re having a blast!


Poi September 10, 2010 at 1:18 am

You should go and it is amazing!

Thanks for stopping by and nice to meet you too!


Emily September 13, 2010 at 3:27 pm

Great photos! I can’t wait to go there–it looks stunning. I can’t believe people were running a marathon there! What a view to have while running. That stinks that it’s a bit confusing getting to and from the wall–I’ve worried about that–but very glad it all ended up working out.
Emily´s last blog post ..Guest Post- Paradise in Kaikoura- New Zealand


Poi September 15, 2010 at 2:24 pm

It’s easier getting to wall than we first thought- with just a decent bit of research. It was well worth it though although the pictures are good they don’t do it justice at all!


Emily S. September 17, 2010 at 10:19 pm

Wow, the Great Wall and no crowds! Looks like you had a great time!


Kirsty September 18, 2010 at 5:29 am

It really was great! so glad we chose jinshanling 🙂


Jeremy September 19, 2010 at 12:17 pm

If I may ask, how much did you pay per person for transportation when its all said and done? I went to Huanghuacheng today with my hostel on a tour for what I estimate is comparable for the price to go to Jinshanling (including two meals, water, planned transport, and a tour guide). I’ll come back and do Jinshanling when Simitai re-opens. Of course, I have a photo essay coming in a few hours after I get back from the night market.


Poi September 20, 2010 at 10:34 am

Hey Jeremy, glad you got to experience the wall and hope you’ve enjoyed Beijing.

Overall we spent about 300 yuan for the two of us including, buses, taxi and food and water we took with us.



Nancie November 22, 2010 at 10:51 pm

Wonderful post. I did the Mutianyu section of the Wall this past summer, and it was awesome. Sadly, I lost the memory card with my photos (still can’t figure out how I did that!)
I’ve enjoyed your photos immensely.
Nancie´s last blog post ..The Delights of Bia Hoi


Kirsty November 23, 2010 at 4:14 pm

Damn what a shame you lost your photos, it is truely spectacular sight. We want to visit a different section a different time of year 🙂


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