The short answer is that the best way to get to The Great Wall of China and get the most out of it (save time, effort and money), is joining a daily tour. Let us elaborate on why-
First, we need to decide which section of The Wall to travel to. Our best recommendation is Mutianyu. This portion of the wall is very well preserved and not crowded with people. It best represents what, we think, an experience on The Great Wall of China should be.
Mutianyu Great Wall is located 70 km north of Beijing, and is one of the best preserved sections open for tourists. There 22 watchtowers line The Wall, which is surrounded by lush forest and rivers. It is one of the least busy section, so you’ll have great photo ops and the freedom to explore at your own pace! Mutianyu is great for ordinary hikers, children, and the elderly, plus there are cable cars that can take you all the way up to The Great Wall itself. To add an extra dose of fun you can take a toboggan slide all the way back down!
So what is the best way to get to the Mutianyu Great Wall?
You can try to negotiate with a local taxi for a day rate or go via public bus. If you opt for the bus, you will need to change several buses and take a taxi from the terminal station to reach your final destination. We suggest making it easy on yourself.
Take a look at some of the options below~
1. Hire a private driver – Great option if you are traveling with friends
Hiring a private driver is one of the most convenient and cost-effective ways to get to the Great Wall. You will be driven directly to the ticketing office to purchase your entrance ticket, then take a free park bus to the base of The Great Wall. Typically you will have a good 3-4 hours to explore. The price can be as low as $99 per person for the round trip if you have at least 3 people.
2. Join a group tour – meet other travelers
This is definitely one of the most fun options. Meeting new people is one of the main reasons we travel. Also, simply in terms of saving time, convenience, and simplicity, this is the best option. It includes your drive to Mutianyu, entrance ticket, guided tour, and lunch. No language barrier issues, no haggling with drivers, just fun! This is the by far the best value for your money to see the Great Wall. You’ll even make new friends to take photos with!
3. If you like traveling in style – Take a private tourbest way to get to the great wall
Opting for a private tour guide also gives you the chance to prolong your Mutianyu adventure. You can choose to extend your trip to also include views of the incredible Huanghua, where you can see a submerged portion of The Wall. This tour includes your tour guide, transportation, entrance fee, a cable car up, and cable car or toboggan down, and lunch. Everything you have in the join-in tour, plus a few more hours. You will see everything you want to!
4. Do it like no one else – hike with the expertsget great wall
If you are looking for something a little more off the beaten path, explore the Jinshanling and Simatai sections of The Great Wall. These areas are a bit farther than Mutianyu and require more travel time. They are great for those seeking serious hiking. These areas are famous for being unrestored. They have been run-down by time and nature and make for an intense hike. These sections should only be attempted if you are an experienced hiker. Expect steep hills and incredible views year-round. It is recommended to go with an experienced guide that knows the area, the residents, and the secrets.
The Great Wall of China is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. If you are traveling from abroad, or living here, make sure that you don’t miss it. As Mao said: “He who has never been to the Great Wall is not a true man.”