Photo by myself, from the Great Wall, Beijing.
My father and I visited the Great Wall, near Beijing on Monday.
There are two access points to the wall, near Beijing. Ba Da Ling is the more popular one. Mutianyu is less popular. We hired a car to visit Mutianyu, which is about 1.5 hours outside the city.
There are two cable cars you can choose from to ascend to the wall, which is high up on a ridge. I highly recommend taking the cable car; a round trip ticket including entrance to the wall costs 120 yuan per person, or about $20USD. Getting up the slope to the wall is a hike, and walking along the wall is plenty of exercise in itself.
The car ride is steep but perfectly safe. As can be imagined, the vistas when on the wall were incredible. You walk up and down steps are as shallow as 2" or as immense as 14" in some places. The 'down' part is fine and gradual...it's just the 'up' parts that resemble mountains.
Add the thin air and sun, and you get a workout. I recommend visiting on a non-weekend day, not in the heat of summer. The tourist season is April-October. This visit has been perfectly timed to avoid the crowds, and the weather has been ideal.
A view from the cable car at the wall. My brain was going 'yipes' at this point.
Fortunately, the steps are wide enough that you can sit and take a break. The vistas are absolutely incredible.
Tiny steps coming down the wall become a sheer mountain of steps when going back up.
One of the many little stalls selling trinkets at the foot of the hill. The shopkeeper was taking a nap.
For more about the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, click here.
My fiance Mark is helping me post photos while I'm in China. Blogger is banned, and I regret that I cannot respond to your comments or visit any blogger-hosted blogs, while I'm here. Posts will continue here while I'm on vacation. Some pre-scheduled posts will occur with photos of New York City.