A symbol of human engineering and brilliance; the Great Wall of China runs for more than 21,000 kilometers and stretches from east to west across the ridges, deserts, mountains, borders, ocean, and even towns. Although Ming dynasty has been credited with most of the currently intact sections of the Wall, various other Empires such as Qin, Han, Liao, Jin, etc have also served as the forces behind its construction.
If you are going to walk on the Wall, you will need legal papers to visit the country first. So, consult with the Chinese embassy and plan your trip.
The walking tour
Walking the entire length of the wall is not possible as vast amounts of the wall are not safe. The best tours to go are the planned ones to specific sections of the wall. You can cover a preferred stretch in a single day or hike for two or more days with overnight camping and the tour guides will keep you well informed. Listed below are five of the more popular walking sections.
- Badaling section- It has a length of around 80 kilometers and has the most number of visitors, probably due to its location in proximity to the urban side of Beijing. An ideal one-day hike, it is tailor-made for those who give equal priority to comfort and good weather. You have cable cars, buses, and numerous restaurants and are along the trek. The Badaling Expressway and railway station also add to the convenience for the locals.
- Shanghai Pass- the pass is reachable from Beijing by the Jingshen Expressway as is very popular and is the most preserved spot on the eastern side of the Ming Wall that stretches to the Bohai Sea. It has a perimeter of around four kilometers and constitutes a bell tower, with only the eastern Zhendong Gate left out of the four compass gates in each direction.
- Mutianyu- This section is also within the limits of Beijing and is the most preserved section, and is recommended by most of the tour guides for its size and quality of construction as well as the safety precautions for the tourist. It has many watchtowers, distinct battle merlons, Mutianyu pass, and several other unique constructions. You can also enjoy the natural sceneries of forests, woodlands, and streams around the wall.
- Jiankou- for those who love to have more adventures and physical challenges while walking along the Wall, Jiankou offers all that in the wild locations it surpasses. The Beijing Knot and ‘Sky Stairs’ provide impressive camera shots and watch towers like the ‘Cloud Stairs’, ‘The Eagles Flies Facing Upward’, the ‘Zhengbei Tower’, the ‘Nine-Eye Tower’ etc compensates for the physical extortion you might take to overcome steep, narrow, and dangerous sections of the wall.
- Jinshanling- this section is meant for the peace-lovers who wish to enjoy the great walk and the weather in some of the stretches that are untouched by modern reconstruction, and you get to witness history in its true form.