Aside from being the capital of China, Beijing is also the most important gateway into the well known Great Wall of China . The Great Wall can be visited in many places along its length and its condition ranges from ruined to excellent. Access also ranges from very easy to quite challenging.
Along the length there are a number of places to visit the Great Wall. The closest to Beijing are also touristy and the most crowded. So if you want some peace and quiet, choose a section that’s further from the capital.
Getting from Beijing to Badaling
Badaling section of the Great Wall can be easily visited as part of a day trip from the capital of Beijing. The good part is that on the weekdays, this section is not very crowded but you’d certainly want to avoid the weekends.
To get there, from Tiananmen Square take either bus 5 to the last stop or line 2 metro to Jishuitan station. Now walk to the bus station and take bus 919 to Badaling. The buses to Badaling leave in the morning so the last one is around noon; on the way back, the last one is around 4 p.m. so by 3:30 p.m. you should be in the station. The travel time is about an hour and the buses are quite crowded.
The bus from the center costs 1 RMB, while the metro ticket is 2 RMB. The bus fare for the bus 919 is 12 RMB.
>>read more about Bus travel in China
There is also a train from Beijing North Station but make sure to call ahead and ask for the times of departure (they often change the hours). Trains run daily between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. , leaving every 40 min from Beijing. The fare is 6 RMB / US$1 one way.
Once you arrive, follow the rest of the passengers. The entrance to the wall is about 800 m from the station and it’s hard to miss. Entrance fee for visiting the wall is 45 RMB / US$7.50.
>>read more about Train travel in China
Getting from Beijing to Mutianyu
Mutianyu is further from Badaling but is less crowded. However, the big problem is that the only direct bus (bus 867) only runs during the tourist season (March 15 to November 13). The bus departs from Dongzhimen outer bus station, which can be reached from the Dongzhimen subway (take exit H). The ticket is 16 RMB one way and the travel time is about 2 Â½ h. The entrance fee to visit the Wall is 45 RMB.
- At the time this article was written the Simatai section of the wall has been closed for repairs.
- Jinshanling Section is also within easy reach of Beijing but there aren’t any public transportation options; the only way to visit this section is to ask the hotel to get a taxi for your trip.