Building large-scale walls in China is a real art, refined with the creation of imposing city walls and putting up the impressive Great Wall, with an estimated length of over 20,000 km! The modern name is given by the union of the names used in the past: Changcheng, which means "long wall" and wànlǐ, which means "without end".
For this reason, it is absolutely impossible to visit China without spending at least one day on the Great Wall. We collected some information about the different section and we decided to visit the Mutianyu section.
Although it is easily reachable from Beijing in 1.5 hours by bus, it is less traveled than the nearest Badaling and will give you the opportunity to solo visit in some part. We entrusted the agency Mubus , which organizes daily morning trips to this section of the wall. The service is efficient and accurate, all the guides speak excellent English and the value for money is very good. In addition, the tour is aimed exclusively at visiting the Wall: you will not waste time in shops or be forced shopping, as happens sometimes in organized tours. The groups are quite numerous: 4-5 buses leave every morning. Do not worry if the group is large: once you arrive at your destination, you will have more than 3 hours to visit the wall in complete autonomy.
You have two choices to reach the top of the wall, run by two different companies. Getting on and off the cable car from turret 14 or getting on the chair lift and getting off the toboggan from turret 6. With our guide we evaluated the different alternatives and in the end we opted for the first solution, which takes you to the most scenic part of this section . Moreover in case of rain the toboggan is closed, so you could also risk buying the ticket for nothing. Once the choice was confirmed, our guide took care of purchasing the tickets, which he handed over to us as soon as we arrived at the destination.
Mutianyu winds along a path of just over 2km recently restored, which boasts splendid watchtowers from the Ming era. We have covered the stretch from tower 14 to tower 23. Once you reach tower 20, you need to climb over the wall that delimits the restored area, to continue until 23. In this section, you can enjoy solo the beauty of the wall. Could you imagine what a thrill to travel this stretch alone, observing the profiles of this grandiose work getting lost endlessly along the ridges of the mountains? It seemed almost impossible to be in front of an ancient building so imposing, which has remained intact to the present day.
The turrets are about 100m apart, but keep in mind that especially towards the end, the difference in height is felt. You will have indeed to take into account some additional time compared to what is required for a flat route and also slowdowns in some points. In the time available to us, we managed to travel leisurely the stretch between 14 and 23, dedicating a lot of time to photos: they are never enough in this place! In the 15 minutes we still had, we also continued to turret 13, which added nothing to the section we had already visited. Tower number 4 Zhengguan Tai would probably have been worth a visit, but it was too far away for the time we had.
The visiting options of the Great Wall are certainly endless, but if you have available only one day and this is your first visit, Mutianyu represents the optimal solution.