The Great Wall at Badaling

The Great Wall of China runs through various provinces of the country from east to west. However, one section called Badaling, is the most visited section of this historic and iconic wall. It was built in the year 1505 during the Ming Dynasty as a military fortification, highlighting the strategic importance of this place near the capital city of Beijing. While there are other popular sections of this wall such as Mutiyanu and Jinshanling, Badaling is one section which is not only accessible (close to Beijing), but it includes all supporting tourist facilities such as transportation, guides, etc. Badaling has been visited by 372 foreign heads of states such as Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagon, Margaret Thatcher, Mikhail Gorbachev, Elizabeth II and Edward Heath. This section of the Great Wall is also a steep hike, so if you are an adventure junkie, you will like it.

There is also an option of a low steep wall, located across the main highway that leads to Badaling. Some people choose to go there if they do not want to hike. For the steep wall option at Badaling, there are 7 stations that one can climb to get to the summit. While it takes some effort to climb these 7 stations, the views from top are spectacular. In order to get to the hiking site, I recommend contacting tourist agencies that arrange for buses to Badaling from Beijing. Once at Badaling, keep at least 2.5 hours for climbing up, and 1.5 hours for climbing down. On the way to the 7th (highest) station, you may also need to take some rest at intermediate stations. All this will take up time. Wear comfortable shoes and clothing. It gets windy/chilly once you reach higher altitudes. Please be informed that the steps for hiking are very uneven, hence be cautious when climbing/descending.

Check out the pictures below to see my hiking experience:

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                           (On way to Badaling by bus)

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                                               (Entrance to Badaling)

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                                                        (Base Station)

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                      (Views of the wall from the starting point)

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                                                  (Base Station)

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                                                 (Starting the hike)

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                       (Ancient Structures which are centuries old)

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                                (Leaving base station behind)

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                                                  (1st station)

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                                         (Base Station left below)

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                                      (Tourist area/Base Station)

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                                            (Jundu Mountain range)

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                        (Hiking in January meant snow on the mountains)

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                  (Climbing Pathway and Stairs)

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                                                    (5th station)

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                        (Wall on the other side is less steep)

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                                        (Guangou Gorge)

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                                (Guangou Gorge and Juyong Pass)

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                          (Drink Stop and Souvenir Shop)

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                          (Spectacular views of Juyong Pass)

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                   (Train cutting through the Juyong pass)

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                                         (7th station in sight)

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                                           (Climbing Down)

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Items: The great wall of China at Badaling (official website here)

Price: Admission is 45 CNY or ₹454. If taking a cable car, fee is CNY 60 or ₹600 (single trip) and CNY 80 or ₹800 (round trip).

Location: Yanqing, Beijing, China. ‎  Telephone: +86 10 6912 1383

Type: UNESCO World Heritage Site/Adventure

How to get there: Bus/Car (about 50 kms from Beijing). My tour operator for the bus was Gray Line (website here)

Language: Mandarin speaking locals, guides will speak some English.

Notes: Uneven nature of steps means you have to be very careful to avoid injury, give at least 2.5 hours for ascending, 1.5 hours for descending, wear comfortable clothes and shows, may get chilly on top.

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