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Published July 20th 2018
My Top Ten Tips
The Great Wall of China stretches almost ten thousand kms across the northern part of China. It was built in stages, around 2000 years ago, more or less, and has served a variety of purposes, including protection against raids and invasions, a border to control allowing transport of goods along the Silk Road, regulation or encouragement of trade and the control of immigration and emigration. It was also used to keep the rabbits out, according to an advert on Australian television.
There is a series watch towers, troop barracks, garrison stations, and gunwales along the length of the wall and many sections of it have proved suitable for use as a transportation corridor.
Almost ten thousand kms
It's a must-do if you're in the vicinity of Beijing and, of course, you can pay a lot of money for a tour with fifty of your closest friends on a coach stopping at expensive souvenir shops on the way, or you can get there all by yourself. It's easy, here are my top ten tips.
1. Head for your nearest Beijing subway station and purchase a metro card. This will make your journey smoother and may give you priority over cash-wielding tourists if there's a big crowd.
2. Go to Xizhimen station. Exit at Beijing North Railway Station (just follow the signs).
3. Head for the first floor of the station building and catch the fast train (also known as S train).
4.If the S train isn't running, due to unforeseen circumstances such as a torrential downpour which was my experience, catch the 877 bus. It's easy to find, 500m east of the train station and there are lots of signs along the way to help direct you.
6. The area where the buses stop is busy. Very busy. Head up the hill. Ignore people selling taxi rides, it's not really that far, especially by comparison to the walk you are about to do. However, if you want to conserve energy, there's a free shuttle bus.
Lots of people, buses, hawkers, maybe even a torrential downpour
That's great information Karen and some unusul pitures of the wall which I have only previoulsy seen as very crowded. I notice the Chinese are catering to the English tourists and being able to read the signs is no doubt very helpful. I have never been to the wall and can only wonder at the grandeur of it.
A good summary Karen. I did this particular part of the Great Wall a few years back in early January. Blue skies provided some comfort against the near-zero temperatures. And yes, plenty of people selling anything and everything.
Information is out of date. S2 no longer goes from Beijing North. Leaves from HuangTuDian train station. Take Subway line 8 (Green) or 13 to Houying. Underpass connects Houying to HuangTuDian. Direct trains to Badaling are infrequent. (29 Apr 19). We bought tickets but there were a load of people waiting. There was uncertainty about which trains were direct so we gave up. Will arrange transport / tour instead.
I did this way back in 1973 when I travelled to China with Gough Whitlam he didnâ€™t go to the Great Wall. When I went there were no crowds just a few Chinese dressed in grey uniform which they all wore back then I remember going to the toilet block it was a row if slits on a concrete floor you squatted everyone just looked at me no privacy. I was the only westerner ( except for a couple from the Embassy i went with). The Great Wall was in need of repair then I was young and fairly fit but it was still quite a Work out. We drove there in an old black car the driver was Chinese he thought it was his lucky day back then I was a red head so I brought him luck. It was a wonderful day I donâ€™t think I want to go back Iâ€™ll just keep those memories of a different time so much seems to have changed.