Saturday, July 21, 2012

China: Mutianyu Great Wall

On our very last day in China we went to see the Great Wall. We were told to go on the least smoggy day we could find, and we lucked out as our last day it was definitely less smoggy. Our train from Xain got in just before 7 a.m. We wanted to take public transportation to the wall since it was so much cheaper.  The day before we left I did some more research and realized the bus we were planning on taking, no longer operated. The 936 bus to Mutianyu has been replaced by the 867 bus (This bus only operates during the tourist season).

We took the subway to the Dong Zhi Men Bus station and a very nice Chinese woman pointed and grunted us in the right direction. To get to the area where bus 867 leaves from you must go outside the bus station and head east (turn left if you're facing away from the bus station) You're going to walk counter clock wise around the bus station. You'll head East on Dongzhimen Waida street, and then left onto Dongzhimen Outer Byway(never crossing the street) and you'll continue down that street until you feel like you're almost lost, but a bay of buses will come up, many of them heading to other tourist destinations, and bus 867 will be at the very back.

The buses leave at 7 and 8:30 and pick you up from Mutianyu at 2 and 4. It costs 16 RMB per person, each way. We had a 7 pm flight, so we planned to take the 8:30 bus and return on the 2pm bus. We found the line for the 867 bus with about 10 minutes to spare, but we had all of our bags with us. There's a little tourist booth on the lot of buses and they were very nice and let us store our bags there.

We headed off on the 2 hour bus ride and of course passed out after not sleeping on the train the night before. The bus ride was easy, and they can sell you tickets to get onto the wall that are 5 RMB Cheaper (40 RMB instead of 45) so I suggest that you buy them there. We bought some peaches (Oh peaches and nectarines, how I have missed you) and headed up to the wall.

We are poor so we skipped the tram and decided to walk up the stairs to the wall. Man, unless you're poor like us, spend that extra bit and take the tram, and save your energy for actually climbing the wall. As you can see from the picture below, the walk up to the wall is very steep and took us quite a while to get there. We ran out of time and had to take the tram down, but I've heard the toboggan is very cool also.

 But when we got there it was all totally worth it. The wall was amazingly stunning. It was so cool to just look at the surrounding mountains and watch the wall climb through the mountains off into the distance. Our plan was to walk to the Jiankou section. It's a part of the wall that's unrestored. I really wanted to make it there. I had read it was a hard climb to get there, and boy, they weren't kidding. We didn't make it all the way there, because of time, but we did get to see the wall be less restored as we drew closer to Jiankou (you can see a little bit in the last picture) Since we didn't make it, this just gives me another reason to go back.

Now enjoy the pictures and how beautiful the wall is.

1 comment:

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

Wow! What a journey but SO worth it!

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