Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
Badaling may be the easiest part of the wall to get to from Beijing, but it's also the most
packaged. At the entrance, a giant tourist circus - a plethora of restaurants and souvenir stalls
- greets you. As you ascend to the wall, you pass the cable car's lower terminus and the
Great Wall Museum . The museum, with plenty of aerial photos, models and construction
tools, is worth a browse, though it's more useful visited on the way down.
Once you're up on the wall, flanked by guardrails, it's hard to feel that there's anything
genuine about the experience. Indeed, the wall itself is hardly original here, as the “restorers”
basically rebuilt it wholesale on the ancient foundations. To get the best out of the experience
you need to walk - you'll quickly lose the crowds and, generally, things get better the further
you go.
If you come with a tour you'll arrive in the early afternoon, when the place is at its busiest,
spend an hour or two at the wall, then return, which really gives you little time for anything
except the most cursory of jaunts and the purchase of an “I climbed the Great Wall” T-shirt.
It's just as easy, and cheaper, to travel under your own steam.
By bus The easiest way to get here is on bus #919 from Deshengmen bus station (near
Jishuitan subway stop) - there's an ordinary service (2hr; 7) and a much quicker a/c luxury
bus (1hr; 12). Note that private minibuses also call themselves #919 and that you might get
scalped on these; the real buses are larger and have “Deshengmen-Badaling” written in the
By train A nicer ride than the bus is by train from Beijing North station to Badaling (12
daily; 1hr 15min); the station is a 2km walk from the wall entrance. There are five morning
services, and the last one back is at 9.30pm.
Bytouristbus Regular tourist buses to Badaling leave from Qianmen (depart 7-11am; 120
return, including wall ticket); some also visit the Ming Tombs (; 180 return, including tick-
ets) on their way around. Returning to Beijing shouldn't be a problem as tourist buses run
until about 6pm.
Tours As well as CITS , all the more expensive Beijing hotels (and a few of the cheaper ones)
run tours to Badaling, usually with a trip to the Ming Tombs thrown in. Most such tours hov-
er around the 240 mark, including the Ming Tombs and lunch, and will pick up from your
Commune by the Great Wall 长城脚下的公社 , chángchéng jiăoxiàde gōngshè 4km east
of Badaling 010 8118 1888, . For a luxurious break,
visit this “lifestyle retreat” by the Shuiguan pass, a particularly precipitous section of the wall.
Each of the eleven striking buildings was designed by a different architect (the complex won
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