Our next day in Beijing with another busy day ahead it was tIke to visit the magnificent Great Wall of China. Before we left the uk we did some research on the best place to visit. The main tourist spot is at a place called Badaling, but after looking at a lot of images and also watching the UK’s TV series “An Idiot Abroad”, with Carl Pilkinton, it showed what looked like a football crowd walking along it, so we decided to give this section a miss . So with some further research we settled on going to a section a little further outside of Beijing at a place called Mùtiányù. This is far less touristy, in fact it was very quite when we went as we were outside the main tourist season.
The Chinese started building the wall some 2000 years ago and the wall covers a distance of 5,500 miles. We sourced “which as it turned out” a very good company on the internet run by a chap called Miles Meng. “In fact he is listed in the Lonely Planet guide book which we discovered later”. The journey takes about 2 hours and cost 700¥ (for the car not per person) this is around £80. If you decide to visit the Badaling section of the wall you can take the train from Beijing north rail station, but if you decide on Mùtiányù then you need a taxi or private tour. The trip doesn’t include the entrance fees, these will cost 100¥ for the return cable car trip and 45¥ for the entrance totalling around £17
Top Tip instead of taking the cable car back down take the toboggan or luge it’s much more of a fun way to get down.
Visiting the wall in March like we did was perfect, there was no crowds, it was cold “there was still snow on the ground” and there were clear blue sky’s. Seeing the wall in the flesh so to speak was just amazing, in fact it was quite emotional. Another wonder of the world ticked off.
What a difference a good nights sleep makes. Our attitude today was totally different. After a nice breakfast it was off to discover Tienanmen square and The Forbidden City. We took the metro which is very simple to navigate. Unlike London’s tube network though there is no one day travel card option, you have to buy a single journey which costs 3¥ ( around 40p UK ). You can buy your ticket at the kiosk, ” just point to where you want to go on the tube map” or use the automatic ticket machines which have a English translation option.
Top Tip when using the metro be mindful if you are on a time schedule. Because if you are are traveling at peat times, everyone entering the metro has to pass their bags through an airport style security scanner and the queues can get rather long. On arrival at Tienanmen Square we we confronted by another long queue because of yet another security check “Security is very tight in China”. Once inside The Forbidden City it was immediately apparent that all the hassle before hand was most definitely worth it. The complex covers a vast area and took us the whole day to explore. My activity tracker showed that we had took 28,275 steps totalling 12.9 miles over the day. THe Forbidden City is truly a amazing place. Entrance fees are very reasonable too whigh at time of travel was 40¥, which is around £5. Also I would recommend once inside visit the museum as some of the artifacts and intricate jewellery on display are stunning. This will cost you an extra 20¥ but like I said well worth it. When yo enter the city you have to enter the by the Meridian gate, which is where the ticket offices are, but I suggest that once you have explored the city, leave by the North Gate, walk across the road and enter Jingshan Park (small entrance fee) and if you have got the energy after a very busy day walk up to the Wanchun Pavillion to get a great view of the city from up high. A perfect end to a perfect day, we were certainly in the swing of things now.
The Chinese don’t do queuing it’s just their way, so there is a little bumping and boring. There is no malice or anger involved, like I said it’s just their way. So stay calm and go with the flow.