Welcome to Beijing, China! While on a long layover (10-hours), we decided to see one of the wonders of the world during our Beijing Layover Tour, The Great Wall of China was our first stop.
After about an hour drive from Beijing airport 40 miles/65km, we arrived at Mutianyu Great Wall. Mutianyu is one of the four main tourist sections of The Great Wall of China. This section is notable as the most beautiful and less crowded areas of The Great Wall.
Once our tour guide, Herbie, purchased our tickets, we headed up via Cable Car to the entrance. On the short 5-minute ride up, we saw incredible views of the surrounding area. Good thing it was a quick ride – our excitement to see The Great Wall was overflowing!
The Mutianyu section of the Great Wall is the most well-preserved part which was like stepping onto a time-capsule to the past. Overall, we walked approximately a mile out and back, but the length reaches as far as 3.4 miles/5,400 meters. To be frank, it was scorching, and I’m glad we didn’t walk further than we did. Hawaii is hot, but the trade-winds keep it fresh, however, that China heat was stagnant and unbearable.
Tip: Time your trip to the wall in the cooler months!
Some interesting history:
– The reason this section is so well preserved is because the valley it protects is a leading line into important government centers and temples (Beijing capital).
– Construction began in 500 CE and continued to be worked on sporadically throughout the years. Even to this day, it is being maintained and repaired which is a major contributor to its longevity.
After a fantastic time at the Great Wall, it was time to head back down. The cable car was available, but we went with the Toboggan ride. It was a first time for everyone and was a highlight of our China stop over. Instead of fancy electronics, gravity was the propulsion, and you control the speed with a brake lever. It was one of the most exciting activities we’ve done and was so worth the extra cost!
Tip: The Toboggan is closed if raining.
If you ever have a stop over in Beijing for a few hours, definitely visit the Great Wall of China through Mutianyu. It was one of the greatest experience we had during our tour and would love to do the toboggan ride again!