THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA
THE ASIAN SERIES PT12
The Great Wall of China, with over 10million visitors a year it is one of the most visited tourist sites in the world. It took 2000 years to complete and over 1million people were involved in it’s construction. Of those it is estimated around 0.5million people died during the build due to starvation, exhaustion, disease, hypothermia and falling from heights.
THE GREAT WALL DID NOT DISAPPOINT!
Whether you do a day trip, an overnight or a hike you will only really see a very small portion of it, maybe just a few miles which equates to only 0.05%. Due to its size it was one of the few wonders where I was completely overwhelmed (the other being the Taj Mahal). It was impossible to try and comprehend the work that actually went into making this.
WHERE IS THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA?
The Great Wall of China
I had probably the best day anyone could ever imagine. I visited in March which is it’s quiet season and the only people I ever seen were from our tour. This is extremely rare for anything in China let alone their most popular tourist attraction. The weather was also perfect, anyone who knows anything about china will be aware of the smog ridden air throughout the country, especially close to the big cities. But from the photos you’ll notice you could see as far as the horizon would allow which also helped you get an idea of the scale of the wall as it stretch as far as the eyes could see.
MUTIANYU & BADALING
There are several parts of the wall you can visit but I would really only recommend two, Mutianyu and Badaling. Both of these have a mix of untouched and restored areas. Tours can be booked through many agencies throughout Beijing but I would stick to going through your hostel/hotel for ease and less chance of getting ripped off. You can do it rather easily by yourself by a direct bus that should only cost a few dollars, saving you plenty of coin!
THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA
The moment I have been waiting for in China! The tour guide was actually quite funny, knew how to play to the crowd etc same as those in Thailand probably because they’ve been working with tourists for such a long time.
The guide doesn’t actually go up there with you which is a good thing as it means we can do as we want. And it was just as well, I was with Tina (Norwegian girl who just finished 6 months teaching in Beijing). The wall was super quiet because it was off season but we kept the pace up to stay ahead of the rest of the bus. There was a guy behind us who wore a green fluorescence top and anytime we turned around for a photo he was clear as day so we tried to stay well ahead of him!
I had said to our guide we are yet to see a Cheetah during our time in Botswana and if he could help. Well within no time he had delivered and we were 20metres from one, I am not sure I have an animal walk quite like it, it was like a catwalk!
GREAT WALL OF CHINA:
- 21,000km in length – half of the earth’s circumference
- 1,000,000 people were involved in its construction
- 1/3 of the wall has disappeared
- It attracts 50million visitors annually
They have rebuilt and maintained most of the wall up until Tower 23 and then after you can see what the real part of it looks like. We wanted to get as far as possible so walked at a decent pace, you wouldn’t believe the gradient of it! At times we were on our hands and knees! The old part is cool, completely over grown with shrubs and eventually made it to the highest point we could see.
The guy in the green came up shortly after and said he wasn’t sure how we got up so quick while talking and stopping for photos, he was dying a death! Anyway amazing day for it, blue sky, little smog and the view was incredible but it never really sank in where I was, just didn’t feel real.
They don’t do things by half here in China, everything is of such an incredible scale. Climbing the steepest area and viewing from one of the highest points gives you about 1% of the scale! We might have walked 1 or 2km to the tower and from there maybe seen 5 or 6km in either direction which was impressive in its own right. But when you hear the Wall was built 2000 years ago and is over 21,000km long it’s just mind blowing!
The hike was probably the best I’ve done, just because it’s the Great Wall you never seem to get tired or lose interest.
Easy night tonight, plan to take a walk tomorrow to summer palace and the hopefully the Forbidden City. Click to read.
SAFE TRAVELS, DS x
- Have you been to the Great Wall of China?
- What is your favourite world wonder?
Let me know in the comments below . . .