Results 11-20of 21 Reviews
April 4, 2004
From journal Night Train to Beijing
April 19, 2003
We made use of our hotel's travel agency and reserved a full-day trip to a part of the Great Wall called Simatai. We had intended to try and walk from Jingling to Simatai -- reputed to be a four to five hour walk. Unfortunately, the travel agency could only offer us a two hour walk on the part called Simatai. The package included transport to and from the Great Wall, a guide, and lunch -- all for RMB380 each.
We were fetched at 9am by the guide and a driver. There were two other Americans who joined us. It was a two-hour long drive in a comfortable station wagon, which gave us the chance to nap and view the locals in their daily lives. We drove past locals felling trees. They seemed to be in exactly the same spot when we drove back.
Our guide shared her knowledge with us, but didn't share the experience of the actual hike with us. We were basically pointed in the right direction and told to return within 2 hours. I'm in pretty good shape but the air pollution in Beijing had already taken its toll (that's the story I'm sticking to). There was a short walk to get to the Wall. On the way, we encountered some dubious-looking signs, construction, and locals ready to be our walking partners.
The hike was steep at times and taxing at its worst. Along the way, locals attempted to sell us everything from drinks to snacks to books on China, none of which were of great interest to one so sweaty and out of breath as myself. I made it as far as the sixth tower, my husband the 11th. We could only go as far as the 16th tower because after that, the path/wall is so deteriorated that it is forbidden to walk on. But I figured the view from about the 3rd tower encompassed it all -- absolutely . . . magnificently mind-blowing -- the way it stretches to what seems like infinity and the realisation that we were basically standing on a mass grave -- all for the protection of the capital city and the Emperor.
All in all, we were on the wall for about 2,5 hours. Lunch was near our starting point. Our guide made an amusing comment about the restaurant we ate at: "It not the best food, but restaurant clean," which was kind of ironic when the "chef" came stumbling out of the kitchen with a live red snapper that he dropped on the paved pathway near us. He went back inside, the fish died, and then a lady came out to behead and de-scale the fish.
From journal Historical Emersion in Beijing
March 29, 2003
We decided to go despite the weather leaving a ground cover of white snow. If nothing else, we thought it would provide a different experience. We arrived about 90 minutes later after driving through more rural villages that offered a look at what I actually expected to see in Beijing. The buildings were somewhat run down, had large, colorful signage (in Chinese Characters, of course) and offered views of people about their tasks or visiting with other shopkeepers. Some were playing cards, others sweeping their spot of concrete, some setting out their goods. It struck me many times during the trip the amount of hard labor people endure in their daily life. It's nothing to see bicycles with carts filled eight feet tall and six feet wide of goods. How these people managed to pedal these heavy loads, much less navigate in traffic is beyond me. I saw carts with laundry, fruit, mattresses, wood, all piled sky high and pedaled by people of all ages.
90 minutes later we finally see our GREAT WALL! I have been dreaming of this for years! I could hardly believe my eyes! It was so beautiful. This morning showed blue layered mountains as far as the eye could see through the beautiful haze. Pictures here.
From journal China Discovery
San Jose, California
December 20, 2002
The Great Wall is composed of tall solid stone walls topped with walkways connecting watch towers and other military installations. It follows the natural contours of the countryside, crossing rivers and climbing steep hills. As the many signs in English will explain, the wall was built and rebuilt across many centuries and many dynasties.
No matter which portion of the wall you visit, you will only see a small portion of the full expanse. Getting to the wall is easily done by either group tour or taxi. If there are two or more of you, the latter is probably the best way to go. Getting onto the wall takes a bit of a climb and once on the wall there are few level portions. As common in China, there are few accomodations for the disabled. The extent to which you can explore the wall will depend on your level of fitness. Even if you can only visit a small portion, however, you will be treated to amazing views and an experience you'll never forget. Bring bottled water and LOTS of film.
From journal Simultaneous Centuries
Hamilton Square, New Jersey
October 24, 2002
From the entrance, you are offered two choices of a climb: steep and REALLY steep. I've called this an "athletic" sight because the better your shape, the more you'll be able to take in. We chose the steep side, and I climbed about half-way up before deciding I'd gone far enough to get a good view. Some of my classmates made it much further (the panoramic picture of the wall below was taken by one of them -- thanks, Mirek!)
Having climbed as far as I wanted and taken some pictures, I headed back down to stop in the shops. I spent about $20, and bought Chinese outfits for my three nieces, a cloisonne vase, a set of wooden dogs and a wooden dragon. Bargain with the merchants -- they'll often come down as much as 50% from the original asking price.
Our tour guide dispelled a long-held belief about the Great Wall, which is that it can be seen from the moon with the naked eye. The Great Wall is the only man made structure that can be seen from space with the naked eye. However, space starts 50 miles from the Earth's surface; looking at the Wall from the Moon would be like looking at a piece of string from 100 miles away!
Making a recommendation on this is tough, as I can't help but be influenced a bit by the guide books panning of the sight. If you are interested in a less touristy area of the Great Wall and have the time to travel further from major cities to see it, by all means do so. But do NOT leave China without visiting it somewhere.
From journal MBA Students on the Loose in Beijing
July 24, 2002
There are different starting points to see the wall. We choose the see the south end which is the most popular and accessable from Beijing. There are other options which I have heard should be even more beatiful, but we were satisfied with what we saw.
Words can not describe the view but basically it is a very broad wall where you can walk on top and this gives you a beatiful view of the landscape.
The wall was used the protect the Chinese people agenst their enemies and you should try to imagine being a soldier gaurding the wall hundreds of years ago against an unknown enemy.
You need to be in good condition to get the full experience from the wall. You will see the most rewarding sights when you walk for at least a few miles.
From journal Beijing - silk marked & The Chinese wall
September 30, 2001
From journal The Trip to China in 2001
by world designer
Rancho Santa Fe, California
January 6, 2001
From journal Beijing- A historical wonder
September 30, 2000
From journal China budget tour
Satellite Beach, Florida
September 15, 2000
From journal A Recent Trip to Beijing