The Great wall trek from Jinshanling to Simatai is a 7-8 km trek on the Great Wall in the northern part of China, around 150 km from Beijing. This place is relatively less crowded than the Badaling Great wall which we had visited earlier during our trip. The Chinese name for Great wall is “Chang Cheng”. So we had to visit Jinshanling Chang Cheng. During our stay at Beijing we visited the popular tourist destinations. After visiting the crowded Badaling Great wall, my wish to do the trek on the Great wall became more intense. We discussed with few locals and chalked out a plan for a day trip to Jinshanling.
We started at around 6 am from our hostel and headed to the main bus station and took a bus to Miyun County. In two and a half hours, we reached Miyun. The great wall was almost 80 km. We booked a cab which dropped us at Jinshanling, the starting point of the great wall trek. The same cab would pick us in the evening from Simatai section and drop us back to Miyun bus stand. Along the way, we could see some sections of Gubeikou Great wall on the cliff top. We reached the starting point of trek, Jinshanling at around 10.30 in the morning and had noodles for brunch with a bottle of water.
Jinshanling lies in the border of the Beijing and Hebei province in northern part of China. It is covered under snow for more than six months in a year. We were there in October, the beginning of the long winter season. I wore my jacket and started the hike. We refrained from taking the rope way and decided to hike to the top of the hill and started the trek. In an hour we reached the Great wall. I could see the wall extending over the mountains as far as my vision goes. There were only a few people on the trail. A local explained me the route. It had multiple damaged sections which we had to negotiate to reach Simatai.
The whole stretch crossed 4-5 hills and around 30 watch towers. It was already 11.30 am. The first section was mostly well built wall with stairs for ascent and descent. After crossing a few watch towers we started to feel the difficulty, as we reached a broken section of the Wall. It was broken midway so we had to jump down and hike along the bushes to find a trail to the next patch.
The panoramic view of the wall along the Simatai stretch was visible in front of us. We crossed a bridge over a stream and reached the Simatai section where we had to pay for the tickets again. Since it was very late, we had to rush to our cab. It was just in time for the bus. The dramatic day ended with dinner at around 10.30 pm at night as we hogged onto Beijing duck and chicken stew in a shop next to our hotel. The Great Wall of China day trek was grand success.
Thing to know-
The sections of Great Wall which one can visit-
Badaling– The most popular, most preserved and nearest to Beijing. A day trip from Beijing can be conducted at ease. Be ready to beat the crowd at the wall.
Muthianyu-Around 70 km from Beijing
Jinshanling & Simatai– It is around 150 km km from Beijing. The section of the Great Wall is less crowded and has a good trekking route. Some sections of the Great wall were badly damaged at the time of my visit. Do check the current status before venturing. I read in travel websites that the trek was closed due to restoration of the Great Wall. You can check the current status here
Gubeikou– Near Jinshanling
Laolongtou or “The Old Dragon’s Head”- Situated 300 km from Beijing, it is where the Great Wall ends into the sea.
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