Mutianyu great wall and the Valleys

Trip Start Dec 21, 2009
Trip End Mar 25, 2014

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Friday, November 5, 2010

Day One: I reached Beijing airport at 5.50am.
My plan for the day was to take the 9 am School Bus to Mutianyu wall section. Mutianyu section is near the Beijing airport and much better, nicer than the Badling section which is nearer Beijing City but very crowded.

At Beijing airport I took a taxi from the official queue. The taxi driver was a good man, kept the taxi- meter on and agreed to wait at the hotel for me while I put the luggage there. I showed him the letterhead with hotel name written in Chinese as many people in Beijing do not speak English. The staff at Novotel Xinquio, were v slow and took long time that the taxi driver got worried but eventually he took me to Kempinski Hotel at 8.40 am. Please keep letterhead of the hotel in Chinese with you all the time and also guidebook with Chinese letters for the attractions in case you need to ask people for directions or to take a taxi.

We did wait for little time for rest of the group and then we set off. The bus was very comfortable and there were seven of us on this tour. Camilla, who was from Lithuania, was also on her own so we teamed up together. We reached the School House at 11.15 am and it is a 10 mins walk to the cable car. 
 It cost me 120 yaun for the return trip and a small afternoon village tour is included in the price.  But I wanted to spend more time on the wall.
Here is link to the Schoolbus as this is ideal for Solo travellers but if there are more then two in your group then you can hire a taxi to take you to Mutianyu wall. A guide is not necessary for the trip to wall.

It was great joy to see the Mutianyu wall and the beautiful scenery. We opted to go left where there are some steep climbs. The weather was sunny and was very warm for November. 
 Here is a useful map for the wall, toilets and the area.

My asthma was a bit high after long flight and slight fog so I told Camilla to go ahead as I wanted to do the walk, more slowly. So I took few breaks to enjoy the views of the valley below. I met Jason & David from Taiwan and we walked the steep towers together. The further down towers were the steeper it became, I think till it got to tower 23-25( not sure). Almost like a ladder but my friends stayed with me all through this. The scenery was amazing and worth the climb. Then there is a ravine so we headed back.

My friends had a flight to catch straight from the wall with taxi waiting so we took pictures together and promised to keep in touch. I had plenty of time to reach schoolhouse at 4.30 pm so I did not need to rush back. So I talked to the visitors and I met Arthur from Hong Kong and he had hiked the whole wall without going on a cable or chair lift.
I met some nice people on the wall and I am glad I was there longer time in order to take in the great views.

I took the cable car back 3.15 pm and I was famished as I did not get good vegetarian breakfast with Austrian Airlines.  I am definitely going to make a complaint to AA when I have time. I had veggie delight at Subway and fresh pomegranate juice.
There was food at schoolhouse but I was not sure if it was vegetarian. There is little fruit market there and other clothes stalls. I bought some berries from a lady in the market. They were yum; I ate them later in hotel after washing them properly.

I walked back to the schoolhouse and the villagers were very friendly. One lady showed me how she was mending the broom, all in sign language.There were other elderly locals sitting and having tea outside, I waved to them admiring their cute puppy dog. They even invited me to have tea with them, so sweet. I believe that you smile at the locals and they respond to you.

At the Schoolhouse we sat outside on tables and it was really nice in there. There were few people eating at the Schoolhouse restaurant. The chef came out to talk to us and told me he would have made me a nice veggie meal. The bathrooms at the Schoolhouse, were clean and well maintained.

The return journey I slept all the way till Camilla woke me up. The traffic was jammed so we decided to take subway to our hotels. Subway in Beijing is very easy to take. 2 Yuan (20p) will take you anywhere. I bought the subway card for a 20 Yaun deposit and 20 Yuan loaded fares which was 4 total.  I used the card for buses as well which was cheaper then 2 Yaun with the card. You can get refund for the deposit for the card at some subway stations only but I did not bother for only 2. 10 Yaun = 1

When I reached the hotel, the lady at desk was not very welcoming and was bit curt. I would recommend that if it is your first visit to Beijing then stay in Wangfujing area or Hutung area which is more nearer the sights with good night life and plenty of restaurants/ shopping malls.  I had the most wonderful day and enjoyed my first day at the Great wall in Beijing.

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smittee on

Hi, Thank you very much for your kind comments. I hope it helps people to plan their trips.

cheers Smite

Alison Ashton on

Beautiful pictures and review, but i would not expect any less from you xxx I visited the Great Wall of China in March 2005 and your photos remind me of what a wonderful time i had too,

smittee on

Thank you very much Alison, I had fantastic time and if you need help/ tips with other places just let me know..Yes the great wall is breath taking and we have good memories :) I also remember the vodka shots we had in Budapest and the Hungarian dance. Sxxx

Errol on

Lovely spirit in your report and nice photos.

We are planning a trip to the wall in September and all of the information is very helpful

smittee on

Thank you Errol and I am pleased you found it helpful.
I hope you have fantastic time and if you need any more information then please do not hesitate to ask me.

Hayes Family Journey on

Thank you for the information! We are going this weekend to Beijing and can't wait..

smittee on

Have a lovely time on your holidays ..

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