The Great Wall of China is the world’s largest military structure and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was built from the 3rd century BC to the 17th century AD by successive Chinese Empires, from the Qin Dynasty to the Ming Dynasty, and has a total length of more than 20,000 kilometers. There are three sections of the Great Wall that are near Beijing. These are Badaling, Juyongguan, and Mutianyu. The first two are nearest in Beijing and more crowded. Mutianyu is a well-restored section of the Great Wall and the longest section open to tourists. It’s a bit farther but significantly less crowded. The two other sections open to tourists, Jin Shan Ling and Simatai are farthest and require full day tours.
We booked our tour to the Great Wall through our inn. The tour includes Mutianyu Great Wall and the Ming Tombs and includes traditional Chinese lunch and an English-speaking guide.
Mutianyu Great Wall has a ski lift that can take you up to the wall, and a toboggan ride on the way down. Otherwise, you can hike. The hike takes about 4 hours. We chose to take the ski lift and the toboggan ride down because it is fun.
The difficulty-level of hiking the Great Wall at Mutianyu is different in the left and right sections. The right section has steep steps and the left section is comparatively smoother characterized by an easy walk. The view of the mountains and the snake-like wall from the watch towers are a sight to behold. This is the view of the wall in early spring (March).