Back to blogging and I want to make good on my promise to share my travels with a bang! I had an epically amazing time when I went to Beijing…so much so that I might even be considering a move to China in the future (sorry Mom).
I can’t tell you why I fell in love with Beijing during my visit but I can tell you that I loved the city and would recommend a visit to most people. I can’t say that it’s for everyone but I felt like it was a vibrant city and offered so much in the way of culture, food, experiences…just a place most travelers will enjoy.
Enough rambling…back to the Great Wall. Definitely one of the top things on my Bucket List was to see the Great Wall of China. Now this was just an idea I really had no idea what visiting the Great Wall actually entailed, but I would soon find out. So…here is my quick break down on the Great Wall of China.
The Great Wall is massive…duh, and therefore there are many different places you can actually visit the wall and these places are in various states of repair. You can visit unmaintained parts of the wall, known as “wild,” all the way up to the very maintained parts (the places most tourists go). Now…after a little bit of research I found that there were some tour companies that would take you to the “wild areas” and lead you to the restored areas and this to me seemed like the best of both worlds. You get to see the wall as it stands now, a bit crumbly but still there and then walk your way to where it is just like new…one tour company called it walking back in time.
So, my friend and I planned the 4 hour hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu. And because we are just such rebels we didn’t go with a tour group because I figured my 45 minutes of online research made me an expert on the hike. Not my worst decision (I have a knack for making unwise decisions, especially when traveling) but not my best.
We booked a driver for the day with our hotel and this kind gentleman drove us up to a small village from where we could follow a trail to Jiankou. He even gave us a cell phone to call him when we made it to the other side. Our hotel was really against us completing this hike, they were kind of in shock when we told them our plan and really advised us to go with the tour group option. But, we were undeterred and all they could do was give us a lot of mini water bottles and hope we didn’t die.
Anyways…the hardest part of the hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu (this is based on my own experience) by far was getting to Jainkou. There is a trail…technically but it branches off a lot and is unmarked so really you’re climbing up the side of a mountain for about an hour. Once you get to the wall itself the hike isn’t really too bad and your odds of going to wrong way have strongly decreased.
Despite all this getting lost and grappling branches and bushes to get to Jiankou this hike was by far the coolest thing I did in 2016. It was such an amazing experience…the photos are amazing but really don’t do it justice. The wall is just such an experience…its massive for one and then just to walk on it is so surreal…
Anyways…the Great Wall of China was amazing…I knew it would be and had super high expectation and even those were far surpassed.