Wednesday, July 31, 2019

How to go to the Great Wall of China, Mutianyu section (Visit Independently)

       People always say, "He who has never been to the Great Wall of China is not a true man". 相信许多人都知道这句中国名言:“不到长城非好汉。” so I guess no trip to China would be complete without a trip to the Great Wall of China. When I posted my photos from Mutianyu慕田峪 section of the Great Wall of China, I didn’t know it would garner so much attention. A lot of you want me to do a post on how to go to Mutianyu: the transportation, what to look out and where to get bus etc.

How to get to Mutianyu, the Great Wall of China

  Option 1: Direct Mubus

The bus will depart from Swissotel Beijing Hong Kong Macau Center at 07:40 and 12:00. This is perhaps the easiest way to reach Mutianyu., hence it is very popular and tickets often got sold out. To guarantee a seat, I advise you to book in advance on THIS page

 Option 2: Dongzhimen Tourist Bus Line

From Dongzhimen Wai Bus Station, visitors can take a Dongzhimen tourist bus line at 08:30. The ride will take about 1.5 - 2 hours. Ticket fare is 30 Rmb.

 Option 3: 916 Express + rural bus h23, h24, h35 or h36

Fare: 6 Rmb if you are using the Beijing Yitongka transportation card  OR 12 Rmb in cash
       Unfortunately, during my visit, I wasn’t able to grab any direct bus ticket so I resorted to the next best way. The Dongzhimen bus station is right above the Dongzhimen subway station – Just follow the exit C sign and you will find the bus station or Jiaotongju.
How to go to Mutianyu
       From Dongzhimen Public Transport station North Bound platform, take bus 916 express bus to Huairou North Avenue (Huairou Beidajie) Bus stop. Then, change to h23, h24, h35 or h36 to Mutianyu Roundabout. Ride time is about 2 hours to 2.5 hours.
How to go to Mutianyu
How to go to Mutianyu
       However, if you would not like to wait for the rural bus, you can consider sharing a car with other travelers. Expect to pay around 10 Rmb per person for the ride.
Friendly reminder: 
       When your bus reaches HuaiRou, some irresponsible tour operators will come into the bus and tried to lure you down by saying: "this is the last stop and if you keep riding the bus, the bus will bring you further from the Great Wall".
       This is not true. In fact it is just a trick to make you join their tour where they charge you at least triple the price.
       This is what Huairou Beidajie looks like. You'll have to cross the road to get to the H bus stops, which is shown in the background of this photo.  
How to go to Mutianyu

 Option 4: Qianmen Tourist Bus Line

From Qianmen Tourism Distribution Center, the bus departs at 08:30. The ride will take 2 - 2.5 hours with the ticket fare of 30 Rmb.

       It’s true that probably it is more comfortable riding in a car than a bus, but if you would really like to skip the hassle and possible mishaps and take a tour to the Great Wall, join legit tours, not something off the streets like those. BOOK A TOUR here, you will have all the logistics figured out.

How to go to Mutianyu

About the Mutianyu Section

       This part of the Great Wall located in Huai Rou District is fully restored and it’s about 3.4 miles long. This section is safe for all ages, less crowded than  Badaling 八达岭 Great wall and just an hour and a half bus ride away (65km) away from Beijing! It can be reached easily by bus from downtown without transfer.
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        The Mutianyu great wall was first built during the Northern Qi Dynasty (550-557), measuring 8 meters in height, and about 5 meters in width. During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), General Tan Lun and General Qi Jiguang, rebuilt Mutianyu and strengthen its defensive potential. Both sides of Mutianyu Great Wall have crenelated parapets, some saw-toothed, for soldiers to fire arrows to defend against enemy invasion. This feature is very rare in other sections of the great wall.
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      This part of the wall (5,400 meters) is densely dotted with watchtowers, all 22 of them distributed at close intervals (about one every hundred meters), not just along the main wall, but also on the branch wall (for example the No. 11 Watch Tower). From the map above you can see a rare triangular formation of three interlinked watchtowers, which doesn't exist in other parts of the great wall.

       We took the chairlift and arrived near tower 14. The walk from tower 14 to tower 23 is the most scenic but some part is quite steep. From there we went along the wall to Watchtower No. 15 and then started to head back down towards Watchtower No. 6 where we took the toboggan down near the South Entrance.

       Big Corner Tower (No. 1 Watchtower) is connected with Mutianyu in the west, with Gubeikou in the east, and with a branch city wall in the south. The tower looks like a corner from each angle, so it is called Big Corner Tower.
       I love the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, coz it is so Instagrammable every corner!
How to go to Mutianyu
How to go to Mutianyu
How to go to Mutianyu

How much to spend in Mutianyu Great Wall? 

Great Wall Entrance: 45 Rmb (this is a must, unavoidable)
Baidu Shuttle Bus: 15 Rmb (this bus gets you from the tourist center to the base of the Great Wall)
2 ways Cable car/ chairlift/ Toboggan: 200 Rmb
In total, you will have to spend at least 260 Rmb in Mutianyu great wall. To skip the line, book your cable car and Mutianyu tickets online.

What to do at the Great Wall, Mutianyu?

       To reach the top of the Great Wall, you may either hike, take the Cable Car or the chairlift and Toboggan.
How to go to Mutianyu
If you choose to hike, this is the scenery along the way:
how to visit Great Wall of China independently

Cable car

                            Adults      Children
Single Trip       100 Rmb     50 Rmb
Round Trip       120 Rmb     60 Rmb
From the north entrance, the cable car will send you up to the No. 14 Watchtower.

Chairlift / Toboggan:

The ride on the 2 rider chairlift is thrilling.
At the Zhengguan Terrace (No. 6 Watchtower) near the South Entrance, you’ll find the single rider personal wheeled toboggan, which will send you down the valley on a winding track.
                         Adults        Children
Single Trip      100 Rmb     50 Rmb
Round Trip      120 Rmb     60 Rmb
how to visit Great Wall of China independently

When to visit Mutianyu

In spring, when cherry blossoms bloom all over the surrounding mountain and it is breath-taking.
In mid-October, when autumn put a gold blanket across the mountain tops with gold.
In winter, when the great wall is covered by fluffy snow.

Other popular things to do in Mutianyu Great wall

       Mutianyu Great Wall connects the  Jian Kou 箭扣 Great Wall section(also known as the wild great wall) in the east and the Baima Pass section in the west. If you walk past watchtower 23 from Mutianyu, you will pass a lady telling everyone that we will be responsible for our own lives beyond this section.
       The Mutianyu-Jiankou trail (5-6 hours) is a popular thing to do at the Great Wall, as well as the night watch in Simatai 司马台 at night  On this trail, you can see the most pristine, unrestored part of the great wall, Jiankou in comparison to the restored Mutianyu.
       Remember, always start your hike from Jiankou because if you do, you will only be spending 1-hour hiking up and 4 hours down hike (instead of the other way around).
how to visit Great Wall of China independently

       If you wish to stay the night nearby, I recommend Mutianyu Great Wall Villa and Brickyard.

       A Helicopter ride over the Great Walls, if you have the budget, will sum up your visit to the Great Wall nicely. 

Itinerary of Mutianyu Great Wall

* 0700 – 0715: Subway to Dongzhimen (15 mins)
* 0715 – 0835: Bus from Dongzhimen to Huairou Beidajie (1 hour)
* 0835 – 0905: Bus from Huairou Beidajie to Mutianyu (30 mins)
* 0905 – 0950: Buy tickets, use the washroom (45 mins)
* 0950 – 1150: Tower 14 to Tower 23 (2 hours)
* 1150 – 1350: Walk to Tower 6 (2 hours)
* 1350 – 1410: Toboggan (20 minutes)
* 1420 – 1700: Bus back to Beijing (2 hours 40 minutes)

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Thank You for Reading! This post is based solely on my honest opinion or personal experience. If you have a different opinion, feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below!
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