Visiting the Great Wall of China in Beijing

On the Great Wall

View from a watchtower
View from a watchtower | Source

Visiting the Great Wall of China in Beijing

I have to say, right up front, it was far more than I expected (see slide show of larger photos below).

Before the Beijing Olympics, I was on my way home from Seoul, S. Korea to New York City. Thought it would be worthwhile to make a stop in Beijing and visit the Great Wall. Ten of us took a tour bus to the site.

The Great Wall is over 4,000 miles long extending from east to west and took more than 2,000 years to be completed. Building began from the 7th century BC. During the age of cold weapons it was a comprehensive defense network. Now it is an amazing tourist attraction. Many of its sections and passes have been designated by the Chinese government as key national cultural sites. In 1987 the Great Wall was inscribed in the list of the world cultural heritage sites by UNESCO. We visited the Badaling section which was built in 1505 (or the 18th year of the Hongzhi reign of the Ming Dynasty).

On the road to the Great Wall, we passed two slanted buildings under construction (see photo) as well as the Bird’s Nest Stadium where the Olympics opened (another photo). It seemed most of Beijing was under construction for the Olympics. We also rode past the Olympic Village where a duplicate of the Great Wall was nearing completion. How cute I thought. We’ll get there to the Great Wall and I’ll jog up the steps like those steps in the model village and then take a stroll around. It would be like the wall I walked around in Suwon in S. Korea. Or I will climb the steps and stroll around like I did on the wall in the walled city of York, England. It’ll be fun. Lots of fun.

Well, it didn’t quite work out like that. First of all, I had no idea China was so mountainous. But as we continued to drive to the portion of the wall in Badaling, mountains started to loom up in the distance and then all around us. The mountain tops seemed to be up in the clouds and we seemed to be down in some valley.

In the parking lot our tour guide had us buy tickets because well, there were no steps to jog up to this wall - we would have to take a tram up to…somewhere. Honestly, I still didn’t even see the wall. Once through the gate, pass the bear compound, we had to walk up a long steep path to where the trams were - seven out of 10 of us lagged far behind. At one point one of the guys on the tour pointed out a part of the wall - it was way up there through the clouds, near the sun or the moon or a planet. It was by taking the tram that we finally got up to a portion of the wall that we could walk on. We were still not near a top part of it - that would be another walk. All I know is - I was looking down at clouds (see photos).

I don’t know if I ever made it to the top at this point but I bought a t-shirt that said I did - so I guess I did. Going down was another adventure. I could walk down the way I came up on the tram which was steep and without handrails - or I can take a route with some handrails - I took the handrail route. It took me down to the other side of the world - at which time I found a cab to take me the miles back to the bus parking lot.

Eventually, we all met up at the tour bus having lost each other up on the Wall. I even purchased a book up there on the Wall so I could show everyone pictures of clouds with the wall running above it and through it. I hope my photos will give you some idea of its structure.

I can understand why this was always known as one of the ‘wonders of the ancient world.’ Visiting the Great Wall was without a doubt one of my favorite trips! I like being awed.

 

The Great Wall, Badaling section, Beijing

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A view from a higher part of the Great WallClimbing up higher on the Great WallWalking down on the Great WallThe Olympic sign on the face of the WallModern slanted buildings under construction in BeijingThe Olympic Bird's Nest Stadium in the distance
A view from a higher part of the Great Wall
A view from a higher part of the Great Wall
Climbing up higher on the Great Wall
Climbing up higher on the Great Wall
Walking down on the Great Wall
Walking down on the Great Wall
The Olympic sign on the face of the Wall
The Olympic sign on the face of the Wall
Modern slanted buildings under construction in Beijing
Modern slanted buildings under construction in Beijing
The Olympic Bird's Nest Stadium in the distance
The Olympic Bird's Nest Stadium in the distance

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Comments 33 comments

justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 7 years ago from Texas

Fascinating! I will share this with my friends at idapted.com We tutor Chinese students in English online. :) You are so fortunate to have been able to go!


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thanks justmesuzanne!

It was truly an amazing place! I was teaching English in S. Korea and rather than coming straight home I decided it would be worth it to get a long layover and do some site seeing - It was all amazing!


charm_baker profile image

charm_baker 7 years ago from Los Angeles, California

Greetings BkC. - What an amazing hub!  I swear you actually took me there!  You're a better one than me because I was dizzy viewing the pictures:) I swear, cowards like me have NO fun!  Thank you ever so much for sharing that with us.  Go figure the rating system around here (?)  Sometimes it can be quite annoying, as well as incomprehensible, but I still love my Hubpages.!  Thanks again!


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Hello charm-baker, Beijing was amazing. So glad you enjoyed the photos. And as long as I get good people to stop by, I am happy. Glad you visited!


Marie Dwivkidz profile image

Marie Dwivkidz 7 years ago from UK

This looks fantastic. Thanks for the info and photos - I am quite inspired.


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thanks Marie Dwivkidz! The world is truly a beautiful place!


Michael 7 years ago

http://www.sianshop.com/ Sian is one of the most important culture centres in China. The national culture products and industrial arts products of Sian are not only the first class in China but also enjying reputation around the world. You can possess them staying indoors. Open SIANSHOP please! Our teams come from Sian of China. taking the products of Sian to the whole world is our dream for many years.


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thanks Michael - I will check it out!


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

That took me back - some great pictures there! I went there in the mid-eighties in winter - it was freezing cold but it was such a fabulous experience!


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thanks Shalini Kagal!

I love being awed - and this was awesome. This is a place I would like to revisit. Glad it brought back some good memories for you.

And thanks for writing - I am your fan now, as your hubs are brilliant!


jacobkuttyta profile image

jacobkuttyta 7 years ago from Delhi, India

Nice hub and good information

It is a honour to be your fan.


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thank you jacobkuttya! Love your avatar! And I shall return both the honor and the honour!


Rose Kolowinski profile image

Rose Kolowinski 7 years ago

Thanks for an interesting hub! I've always been fascinated by China ever since I read Pearl S. Buck. It is definitely on my 'list' of places to visit. I will be reading any other hubs you have about China.


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thank you Rose Kolowinski! There was so much in China that absolutely awed me - and I do like to be awed.

I also went to a real Chinese doctor and that too was an amazing experience. On a group tour there were 10 of us and we visited 4 doctors - and by looking at our tongue and feeling our pulse they could pinpoint exactly what was wrong with us - including a failing liver in a young woman who drank a lot and an impotent man (he agreed and bought every herb offered and went back for more!)

So nice to meet you and I enjoyed reading some of your naturally beautiful hubs!

Thank you!


EJ Travel profile image

EJ Travel 6 years ago from Shanghai, China

Some parts of Great Wall are famous like Ba Dalin, Mu Tianyu, but I like Jiao Shan part, not very famous but very impressing!


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

I went to the Badaling portion - it was awesome. My cousins just got back a month ago and they also went to the Badaling part - but different from where I went. I see now there are so many entrances.

I bought a t-shirt - to prove I went to the top! Yay!

Thanks for writing.


EJ Travel profile image

EJ Travel 6 years ago from Shanghai, China

I guess there are words "BU DAO CHANG CHENG FEI HAO HAN" right? lol

Want to know what's meaning in English? Haaa..


Journey * profile image

Journey * 6 years ago from USA

Wow, this is on my list of places to see one day. Thanks for sharing an excellent hub!


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

My cousins just got back and they too were so awed. It is just spectacular. There is so much to see in this world. You'll love it when you get there!


Travel asia 6 years ago

Of course there are a lot of things to share about china but whenever i see such a nice comment on any of the blog about my visited destination, it compel me to do the same. During my last visit to China ,i too enjoyed but the great wall of china is one of the most memorable place for me in all the aspect.


soumyasrajan 6 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

Very Nice account Bk. Enjoyed the ride to the great wall with you.


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Yes, Travel asia - China is a place to visit again and again - there is so much to do and see and I love being able to buy a jade bok choy right there is the land of feng-shui. I wrote a hub about that too. The wall was awesome and I like awesome. Thanks for writing!

Thank you soumyasrajan. Glad you enjoyed the ride!


damajoyi profile image

damajoyi 5 years ago

When did you go, i feel like i may know you. I went this past summer.


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

I missed you because I went the summer of 2007 (June) - I was on my way home from S. Korea and it just made sense to spend some time there. You may have met my cousins - because they were there last summer - and did a lot of sightseeing.

Nice to meet you by the way!


onetourchina profile image

onetourchina 5 years ago from Beijing, CN

Wow, two years later, everything has changed: the Beijing blue sky, the built national Stadium (bird-nest), and people's positive appearance anywhere. If your next vacation has not fixed, please consider to walk China once more. This year's hot topic is Xian Horticultural Exhibition and Luoyang Peony Culture Festival in this season: http://en.expo2011.cn/


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Hello onetourchina. We now have a Chinese TV station in New York City - and it showed the Horticultural Exhibition. Quite spectacular - and quite large - I'd love to see it. In fact I know with China you have to go again and again - and still there is more - much more. It can be overwhelming - so I would advise travelers to pick just a few things to see and not try to do it all - it's not possible. China is massive.

Thanks for the information and link!


onetourchina profile image

onetourchina 5 years ago from Beijing, CN

That's right. Travelers can choose Beijing, Xian, Guilin and Shanghai is the best destinations in China if the duration is limited. Ten days is enough. Or just choose one or two of them.


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thanks again. I hope you write some descriptive hubs about these places - the Terracotta soldiers would be fantastic in Xian. And once you start hubbing, let me know so I can follow you.

And be sure to check out my other hubs about China. I also visited a doctor - just so awesome is TCM. So advanced.

Thanks for checking back!


beijing driver profile image

beijing driver 3 years ago from Beijing, China

Dear BkCreative:

Thanks for you a lot information about our Great Wall of China

However . a lot of stories and histories you donot know.

I would like to make a good friendship with you , and let you know more about the wall and some special stories.

I am a tour guide and expert of the wall. If you guys have any questions please ask me .

My cell phone number is + 86 1860 190 6978


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 3 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thanks so much! The Great Wall is a place I plan to return to in the future and I also want to see much more of China.


robertwordsworth profile image

robertwordsworth 3 years ago

beautiful post....congratulations as you took the time to visit 7 wonders of the world. This picture is truly inspiring. .. http://chinese.culturextourism.com/5-uniquely-tips...


Efficient Admin profile image

Efficient Admin 3 years ago from Charlotte, NC

This looks like a tourist attraction where everyone can get a great workout, with all those stairs! I have never been there but the wall really looks quite fascinating.


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 3 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

You summed it up when you said 'great workout' - whew! We had to take a tram most of the way up because the wall is so high! And I thought I was in pretty good shape.

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