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Best Time to Visit the Great Wall of China

Best Time to Visit the Great Wall of China

Written By: Joshua Taylor

It goes without saying that the Great Wall of China is one of the seven wonders of the world and must be seen once in a lifetime. So, let’s jump into the next-level experience of the Great Wall, where I will explore each section and the Best Time to Visit the Great Wall of China.

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How Long is the Great Wall of China?

With sections lost to erosion, the Wall’s exact length is uncertain. The sections built during the Ming dynasty stretch over 6,000 km (3,728 miles). Archaeological studies suggest the entire Wall, with all its branches, once spanned around 21,000 km (13,049 miles).

Which section of the Wall should I visit?

I’ve been to a few different parts of the Wall, and the most available parts are located from Beijing is the Badaling which is about an hour’s drive away. Just be aware, this area is generally very busy as it frequently attracts day trippers.

The Huangyaguan section

Compared to the city, the Huangyaguan region is not the most ideal place for tourists. It was constructed during the Northern Qi dynasty, which was more than 1,400 years ago. During the Ming administration, General Qi Jiguang had this area reconstructed. It went through extensive reconstruction during the 1980s, which returned it to its former glory. If you’re a hiker, you’ll love that from the east gate, you can hike approximately 7 km (4 miles) west to the Ming-dynasty fortress at Huangya Pass.

Though this section is relatively short, the steep steps that snake up the mountainside make it a two to three-hour trek.

The Huangyaguan section

The Mutianyu section

When you visit the Mutianyu section, you will experience the hustle and bustle of a busy city. While it’s not as busy as Badaling, it’s certainly overwhelming for some people. You will find many franchises and shops throughout this area, which tend to clog the entrance and most of the streets. Nonetheless, it doesn’t mean that you should not visit there; just be prepared for what you may encounter.

If you’d love to see the Great Wall but are limited in time, you can visit the entire Mutianyu section in half a day. This is because it’s almost an hour’s drive closer to Beijing than the Jinshanling section. If you are not up for hiking, no worries, you can still hop on a cable car and take it down the Mutianyu section and enjoy the pleasant views.

Although the Wall underwent renovation in this location in the 80s, you will still be walking over the original structure that was originally built. The primary reason for the renovation was to shore up some sections to make the path safe to travel. If it had not been shored up, you would have experienced an unusual zigzag strolling on the surrounding hills that may have been a bit dangerous and could have been a bit more than you were looking for on your vacation.

Also, while you are there, look out for the etched words on a nearby mountainside declaring, “Long live Chairman Mao,” for a bit of history.  For the young at heart, there’s even a toboggan ride down if you’d like a bit of adventure while you’re there.

The Jinshanling section

About two hours northeast of Beijing, the Jinshanling section provides a tranquil experience of the Wall. This section was built during the early Ming dynasty and underwent renovation in 1567. It’s 6.5 miles long that ranges from the west of Longyu Pass to the east of Wangjing Tower with an altitude of 2.297 above sea level.

The biggest benefit of visiting this section is that there are very few visitors. You can enjoy the impressive vistas of lush greenery of forests and valleys. It’s a great idea to capture these memorable moments on your smartphone and share them as status or story updates on your social media accounts using a 5g internet service with your loved ones.

Well, even though some parts of the Jinshanling section have eroded away for obvious reasons, you still get to enjoy the view of the original walls and watchtowers that are still intact to date. Jinshanling is the most well-preserved section of the Wall. You don’t need to go into the details of what it would have been centuries ago–because it’s all still there right in front of you to experience living color.

Spending the Day at Jinshanling

You can visit Jinshanling on a full-day outing from Beijing. Most people spend about four hours exploring the Wall. I was picked up by my private driver-guide for the 150 km (93 mile) journey. Once out of the city, I wound through mountainous landscapes, setting the scene for what was to come.

Spending the Day at Jinshanling
Credit: Christels

Upon arrival, you can take a 15-minute cable car ride to the Wall’s highest point or climb the original stairwells, which are quite steep. Stepping onto the Wall felt surreal, with an empty pathway stretching before me and history as far as I could see. The stone’s pathway, about 3 m (9.8 ft) wide and flanked by waist-high walls was interrupted by watchtowers every 50–100 m (164–328 ft).

You can venture inside these towers in this area, some of which have English inscriptions about their historical significance. I climbed to the top of one, sitting alone to enjoy a few moments of peace and contemplation, and watched the day go by. From above, I could see green farmland and forest stretched for miles below as the Wall disappeared into the distance.

Walking the Great Wall of China

While you might be content with a short stroll, there’s always the option to walk farther. I chose to walk for a couple of hours, following a circular route. Starting at Zhuangdaokou Pass, I walked along to Houchu Ankou Pass, and followed the valley back to the car park.

With the Wall meandering over hills and through valleys, I enjoyed different views every few minutes. Additionally, an interesting fun fact was that it was rather easy to distinguish between older and newer sections based on their erosion and stone color.

While taking a hike alone is a nice way to enjoy the solitude, being accompanied by a guide has its advantages. You can take your time exploring, and your guide will fill you in on the Wall’s history, the dynasties involved in its construction, and the battles fought there.

Hiking from Jiankou to Mutianyu

This hike begins with a steep ascent through wooded slopes leading to the Great Wall itself. Jiankou is completely unrestored, with cracked and uneven stones. Be prepared, sometimes, you have to hike along a bare mountain ridge before rejoining the crumbling path. Additionally, typical routes along Jiankou take about four hours, and you’ll hardly meet anyone along the way.

Hiking from Jiankou to Mutianyu
Credit: Sooogooo

Where to Stay When Visiting the Great Wall

Most people visit the Wall as a day trip from Beijing, which has plenty of accommodation options. I like to stay in the historic Shijia Hutong district, which is one of the oldest parts of the city. The area consists of narrow lanes and courtyard houses known as hutongs.

Where to Stay When Visiting the Great Wall
Credit: Viarami

Among them is the Shichahai Shadow Art Hotel, a modern hotel with Chinese design elements. Guests can experience shadow puppet performances held three times a week. You’re also close to attractions like Houhai Lake and the Bell and Drum Towers.

For those preferring international hotel facilities, the Regent is ideal. It is located centrally and has an indoor pool, spa, and gym.

Staying Overnight at the Great Wall

It’s possible to stay at the Wall itself, particularly at Mutianyu. This offers the advantage of experiencing the Wall in the evening and early morning before other visitors arrive. Watching the sunrise and sunset over the Wall, with clear skies for stargazing, is a magical experience.

The Brickyard is an amazing facility at Mutianyu. It is a former brick factory turned hotel located at the Wall’s base and features exposed brick. Additionally, this property focuses on environmental sustainability, with all building materials sourced or recycled locally.

Best Time to Visit the Great Wall of China

Now, we’re getting down to the nitty gritty. You want to know when the best time to visit the Great Wall of China is, so I’m here to tell you. The Wall can be visited year-round, but the best times are late March to May and September to early November. During these months, temperatures are comfortable, rain is less likely, and the scenery is at its best. In April, apricot flowers carpet the slopes.

Best Time to Visit the Great Wall of China
Credit: Penelope883

For a different experience, visit in winter when the hills are blanketed in snow. Avoid national holidays when domestic tourists flock to the site.

Practicalities of Visiting the Great Wall of China

Due to its proximity to Beijing, a trip to the Wall can fit into almost any itinerary that China has to offer. To visit the wall, you’ll need to be mobile and reasonably fit, as there are steps throughout it.  However, it’s up to you how much you walk, and taking the cable car means you don’t have to climb the steep steps.

Staying Connected

In our digital age, staying connected during your travels is crucial. To be able to stay connected even while discovering a slice of history, a mobile internet package can enhance your experience in several ways:

Navigation: Easily access maps and directions to find your way around.

Information: Look up historical facts and details about the Great Wall on the go.

Sharing: Instantly share your experiences and photos with friends and family.

Safety: Stay connected in case of emergencies or if you need assistance.

Conclusion

It all depends on your preferences when you want to visit the Great Wall of China. If you ask me about the best time to visit, I’ll tell you that spring and autumn are the best times for stunning scenery and mild weather. Summer brings a lot of activity, but it takes careful planning to get through the heat, so be advised.

If you’re looking for something a bit different, you can find peace and serenity particularly during the winter at the Great Wall of China. Visiting the Wall is an experience of a lifetime that you will never forget.

So, to ensure an unforgettable experience and create enduring memories, make sure you plan accordingly. So, why the wait? Pack your bag today, wear your hiking boots, grab a reliable internet package, prepare yourself to embark on an adventurous journey that is awaiting you in China, and never forget to Travel Till You Drop!

Author Bio

Jason Taylor, associated with TV Internet Deals USA, an internet service provider, is a tech enthusiast with a sharp eye for how the digital world is evolving. He brings a special combination of technological curiosity and journalistic rigor. After earning a journalism degree, Jason Tyler has been writing captivating blogs that analyze complicated technological advancements and trends for more than five years. He has established himself as a reliable source for readers trying to make sense of the rapidly evolving world of technology, thanks to his gift for demystifying the complexities of the IT sector.

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About Jill

Hi, Jill Here

Hi! I’m Jill, a Dallas, Texas girl traveling the world. After a career in the Air Force and touring over 50 countries later, my need to explore keeps going! It’s time to rock & roll and find all those places I never knew I was missing.

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