I trekked the Mutainyu section of the Great Wall of China, and it was one of the most incredible things I have ever seen. It’s definitely in my top few travel experiences, and I can’t go on enough about how incredible it is. Just looking at my photos makes me go “Woooooooooooooow!” all over again. If you want to compare it to anything else that’s mind-blowing, think of the Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an.
Mutainyu was first built in the mid-6th century, but the wall that we know today was built, or actually rebuilt, in 1569. It’s the biggest construction scale and the most well-preserved section of the entire wall.
Since it’s about 70km away from downtown Beijing, I wouldn’t go to Mutainyu if you’re only in Beijing on a long layover. You can easily run into traffic problems or get lost on the way there or on the way back. It was appalling how none of the locals knew where Mutainyu was or how to get there, including those who didn’t live far from there at all!
If you’re planning a visit, here are a few tips.
1) The last bus that leaves (Mutainyu) at 5pm. It’s 5 yuan. Take any green bus from the bus stop by the traffic lights across the street from Mutainyu. Get off at Bei Da Jie, then take express bus 916 to Dongzhinimen Station (Lines 2, 13, and the Airport Express). The last 916 bus leaves at 7pm, and it’ll cost you 12 yuan.
2) Eat and pee before you go up! You don’t want nature to call when you’re up there, believe me! There’s nothing to eat up there except for a few older people selling snacks like ice cream bars for ludicrous prices, and you’ll need as much energy as possible. There are a lot of culinary options in the clean village after you pay and before you head up.
3) Dress for comfort and wear good walking shoes! The steps are steep and uneven, and there aren’t railings everywhere. Take your time and enjoy every second of this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Take a million pictures! 😀
Speaking of which, it took me forever to sort through all my shots to pick the best of the best for Photo Friday. As always, I tried to get shots without any photo bombers or if there’s no way, then as few as possible. Enjoy!
One more Mutainyu TIP!
If you are FIT and can pass for younger than 70, don’t hesitate to lie about your age staff ask you how old you are when you’re about to go down the slide. It’s idiot-proof! They wouldn’t let my 76 year-old great-aunt on, who, by the way, runs marathons. She’s more fit than most people I know. She would have been perfectly fine, but she had no choice but to take the lift back down. 🙁
You need to head back down toward where you began, which is the landing that you see on the left. ↓ On my way back, I kept going up the wall so I could go left from the landing.
Walking on walls is such an incredible experience, but the Mutainyu Great Wall is in a class of its own, don’t you think? Just for comparison, here are a few other walls I’ve trekked:
- Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon, South Korea
- Seoul’s city walls
- Xi’an’s city walls – one of the top 4 things to do in Xi’an
- York’s medieval walls
Isn’t the Great Wall of China one of the most incredible things you’ve ever seen?