While Badaling is the more popular section of The Great Wall, I was told to check out Mutianyu as it is less crowded and with just as nice a view. Planned the journey on my own since I didn’t travel to Beijing with rif – took a lot of getting used to because traveling itineraries are always done by him.
You can hire a car to take you to The Great Wall Mutianyu and that will set you back ¥800 (about RM400). Quite pricey in my opinion so I went for the cheaper alternative – train and bus. If you’re not used to taking public transportation, it will be a challenge for you to do so in Beijing. Think sweaty armpits and sardine-packed trains. It was close to 40 degrees when I was there. A train ticket cost ¥2 so my wallet is happy.
Took the bus 916 from Dongzhimen station to the Huairou Bus Shelter (¥12) and then hired a minivan (¥80) to take me to the foot of Mutianyu. My driver was pretty nice. He helped us get discounted tickets for the entrance (¥45), cable car and toboggan (¥120 for two-ways) too.
Climbing the wall was not so much a challenge to me (it’s like going to a treadmill with maximum incline). But climbing the wall in the scorching weather was difficult. Quite a number of people gave up halfway and walked back down.
Me being kiasu, I went right till the top. Because I’ve travelled so far for this so I’d better make it count. Reaching the top was an experience – I felt like I accomplished something, even though it was just climbing a wall.
Mutianyu Great Wall was rebuilt in 1569, and most parts of it are well preserved until today. Coming down was harder than climbing up because the steps were steep and uneven. My right knee suffered the brunt. At the mid-point of the wall, you can either take the cable car back down or use the toboggan. I went for the latter since I took the cable car to go up.
At the bottom of the wall, you can buy souvenirs and food if you’re peckish. Prices aren’t exactly cheap especially if you’re a “lao wai”. That means foreigner in Mandarin. Getting back to the hotel was another adventure. The minivan took us back to Huairou and we took the 916 bus back to Dongzhimen. The air-conditioning wasn’t working and I smelt like salted vege, like the rest of Beijing’s population.
For more information, visit the official website of Mutianyu here. Yes, it’s in English.
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Great Wall Mutianyu
GPS Coordinates: N 40 25.844, E 116 33.858