Recent Searches
Clear
See all Beijing tours
3,223 tours & tickets
Things to do in Beijing
See all things to do in Beijing
Hot Spring Spa Experiences in Beijing
Hot Spring Spa Experiences in Beijing

Know Before You Go: Visiting the Great Wall of China


Know Before You Go: Visiting the Great Wall of China
Hi, I'm Lydia!

Lydia Schrandt is a writer, editor, and award-winning photographer currently based in Houston. She’s a contributor for USA TODAY 10Best and serves as the first chair of the Editors Council of the Society of American Travel Writers. Her work has appeared in Draft, Time Out Beijing, Travel+, USA TODAY, San Francisco Chronicle, and others.

see more

North of Beijing lies the Great Wall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s one of the world’s largest, most iconic architectural wonders—a must-visit in China. Here are a few things to know before making your visit to this Ming Dynasty marvel.


Choose the right portion of the wall

There's more to this architectural marvel than meets the eye.

The Great Wall of China is actually comprised of several sections, each with its own appeal. The Badaling section, the most popular, is an easily accessible option for a day trip—it can also be combined with a day of sightseeing in Beijing. The Juyongguan and Mutianyu sections have both been restored, but they receive fewer visitors and the latter has a cable car. Meanwhile, those looking for a wild wall experience can head for more remote sections, such as the stretch between Jinshanling and Simatai known for its Great Wall hiking.

Visit independently or with a guide

You can tailor your Great Wall experience to your tastes.

Since public transportation to the Great Wall is a challenge, one of the most convenient and informative ways to visit is with a tour guide. Private and small-group tours typically last six to eight hours. Private tours also offer even greater intimacy and flexibility.

A tour guide talks tourists through the Great Wall of China. Photo: Giulia Marchi / Viator

Opt for a combo tour

Make the most of your limited time in the area.

Travelers looking to make the most of their time in Beijing can combine a visit to the Great Wall with other notable area attractions. Enter the Ming Tombs (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) where China’s emperors of old were laid to rest; marvel at the grandeur of the Forbidden City; or stroll through the lavish lakeside retreat of Empress Dowager Cixi.

Pack and wear the right things

It's important to both prep well for your visit to the wall.

It’s a good idea to wear comfortable shoes when visiting the wall, as many sections require climbing steep stone steps and walking along uneven surfaces. There’s little shade at many of the sights, so don’t forget sunscreen, a hat, and a bottle of water to keep you hydrated either.

Explore more Great Wall of China activities and experiences

Keep reading

Hi, I'm Lydia!

Lydia Schrandt is a writer, editor, and award-winning photographer currently based in Houston. She’s a contributor for USA TODAY 10Best and serves as the first chair of the Editors Council of the Society of American Travel Writers. Her work has appeared in Draft, Time Out Beijing, Travel+, USA TODAY, San Francisco Chronicle, and others.

Keep exploring
See all Beijing tours
3,223 tours & tickets
Things to do in Beijing
See all things to do in Beijing
Hot Spring Spa Experiences in Beijing
Hot Spring Spa Experiences in Beijing