Visit the Great Wall of China
When it comes to popular travel destinations, The Great Wall of China does not come to mind. This seems strange to us here at Visitalot, hence the reason for this guide. We want to put The Great Wall back on the map, so to speak, and put it back in its rightful place. If you want to learn more about this wonder of the East, read on.
The Great Wall of China is a collective name for a series of fortifications built along the historical northern border of China to secure said border and to protect themselves against nomadic enemies that would roam the lands north of the border. The wall was built by many different dynasties and then rebuilt by many others, the most modern addition to the wall was made by the Ming Dynasty (1386-1644)- at that point the wall was over 6,000 kilometres long. The wall also functioned as a cultural symbol for the Chinese and even went someway to better the economy.
I Bet You Didn’t Know That?
Below are a few facts about The Great Wall of China that you probably will not have known.
- Nearly one third of the wall has disappeared without trace- no one knows what has happened to it or where the remnants are.
- Despite what you may have been told, The Great Wall of China cannot be seen from space without some kind of aid.
- The Great Wall of China is not one continuous straight wall- there are side walls, curved walls and some places where there is no wall at all.
- Aside from it being not one continuous, straight wall, it is not even one wall. Some parts of the Great Wall have multiple walls for additional security.
- Building the wall was actually seen as a punishment rather than any kind of honour. The kinds of people who built the wall were criminals and captured POWs.
- It is also known as “the longest cemetery on earth”. This is because of the huge number of workers who died trying to construct the wall.
If you need any more reasons to visit this absolute gem, tucked away in China- read on.
Where Is It?
Because the wall is so long, it passes through a huge number of Chinese provinces and you can see the wall and walk on the wall from a large variety of locations. With that said, if you want to walk the whole wall, which takes quite a long time, or just some of the wall, then it is best to start in Jiayuguan Pass in Gansu Province and finish at Hushan Mountain in Liaoning Province. This is walk that passes from the Westerly point of the wall all the way to the East and you will pass through 15 different provinces on your walk. However, if you do not fancy the trek then there are smaller walks and tours that you can take.
The Great Wall of China enjoys lovely views and some great photo opportunities, however, all of that can be ruined by bad weather and large crowds. Here is the complete guide to the kind of weather you will experience and what kind of things to wear to make that bearable.
From March to May, the temperature on the wall will be relatively mild spanning from 11-24°C, if it is at the lower end of that spectrum then you may want to bring a light jacket to keep you warm. When it comes to crowd numbers, Spring is quite light and you should not expect many others around.
In Summer, the temperature is understandably hotter and will be at an average of over 30°C, therefore, a hat, sunglasses and some sun cream come recommended by everyone here at Visitalot. The higher temperatures also brings out the tourists and it is in Summer when you will experience the most crowds.
In Autumn, the temperatures are similar to that of Spring and so is the equipment you will need and so are the crowds.
In Winter, the temperatures are usually well below freezing and as a result of this the crowds are almost non-existent. However, if the lack of crowds sounds tempting, make sure that you pack some warm clothes like a coat, gloves and maybe even a scarf.
Where to Stay and What to Do?
Knowing where to stay and what to do when you’re at the wall is important and will turn a good trip into a great trip. Read below to find out all the best and most interesting places to stay and things to do around The Great Wall of China.
When you think of an authentic Great Wall experience, something similar to the Brickyard Retreat comes into your head. The traditional slopping rooves, the spa and the lovely, light filled rooms all make your stay that little bit more special. Also, coming from a practical sense, they have a restaurant and a free breakfast for those who stay there.
The Great Wall itself is only an 8-minute drive away from this lovely hotel and with that comes all of the walks and guided tours that you can do. The walks can be with a guide, although you will need to book one beforehand, or they can be independent it is up to you. However, if you want a little bit of variety, then, a little longer away, 1 hour and 20 minutes away, lies Jiankou. This is particularly rugged section of the wall famous for its breath-taking mountain views and its steep climbs. The steep climb may sound off-putting, but if you put the effort in then you will be met by a view that can be seen nowhere else in the world- a true once in a lifetime opportunity.
Home of the Great Wall
The Home of the Great Wall is a great option for those who want a little bit of luxury to go along with their trip. The Home of the Great Wall is actually a certified four-star hotel and the reviews give it a 4.7-star average rating from over 1,200 different reviews. The reviews all describe how close it is to all of the major attractions and the great views that you can get of the wall and the surrounding countryside.
Much like the above hotel, the Home of the Great Wall is very close to the wall and is only 6 minutes by car- with distances as small as this you can probably walk as well. As always, from there you can get guided walks and tours some of which you may ned to book in advance and pay extra for and some can be done independently. You can also visit Jiankou which is only 1 hour and 20 minutes away- an area of the wall with steep hills and stunning scenery, something you will definitely want to visit. However, a slightly different place that is very close to here is the Mutianyu Great Wall- this is a section of the wall that is very well preserved, is very accessible and has a great many watchtowers. This is a part of the wall that many will miss- make sure that you are not one of them.
Great Wall Farm Stay
This third hotel is a slightly smaller one and is more like a Bed and Breakfast than a hotel. However, you should not be disparaged because this smaller hotel has a really homely feel about it and the quaint nature of this hotel has a certain character about it that not many others can replicate. It also has the quality to match as this smaller hotel comes with a 4.7-star rating from over 300 reviews. The friendliness of the staff really shines through when reading these reviews and for many guests this was the true highlight of the place.
As usual, the hotel is near to all of the major attractions in the area like the Great Wall itself, Jiankou and the Mutianyu Great Wall. You may also be interested in some of the lesser known attractions in the area surrounding the hotel. A 46-minute drive away is Beijing Huaibei International Ski Resort, this is the place to go if you are an avid skier or snowboarder or even if you wanted to just take some pictures of the lovely views you can see from the resort. Yanqi Hu is a similar distance away and is the site of a lovely lake and a convention centre. If you are sick of the hills and just want somewhere nice and flat to walk about, then here is the place to be- if you can find all of the ingredients for a picnic then that is a great option.
We hope you enjoyed our guide on the Great Wall Of China, Don’t forget that we have loads of other unusual and weird holiday destinations around the world. So don’t forget to have a look around the rest of our site for your next dream holiday