Visiting The Great Wall Of China
The uneven stone steps stretched upward at a precariously steep angle as we climbed further toward the lookout tower.
The day had started out with gorgeous clear blue skies which were a change to the dreary grey and smog-filled sky that had greeted us every one of our four days in Beijing so far.
Today was the day we had set by for visiting-the-great-wall-China and as we stepped out of our hostel our hearts filled with joy at seeing the blueness of the sky.
We’d booked on to a trip advertised in our hostel after researching the best areas of the Great Wall to visit.
After making our way out through the tiny side streets to the main road our bus arrived and we settled in for the 3-hour drive out to the wall.
We’d read that the Jinshanling area was one of the best places to see the Great Wall which wasn’t overrun with tourist like other parts of the wall.
As we headed out into the countryside the landscape changed with mountains now pushing upward from the earth.
And then, there it was, our first sight of the Great Wall winding its way across the top of the mountains like some huge serpent.
The Magnificent Great Wall Of China
The bus dropped us off and we received our entry tickets for the wall.
This was the Zhuanduo Pass where we would start our walk along the wall to the Eastern Five Window Tower.
The climb up to the wall was steep and hot in the sunlight as the large group organically split up with people finding their own pace.
Once upon the wall proper, we were greeted by an amazing 360-degree view of the wall and mountains.
The wall stretched off into the distance as far as we could see in either direction.
The Start Of Our Great Wall Walk At The Zhuanduo Pass
We’d read about the wall being very crowded and picked an area to walk that is less visited than some other sections but we were still surprised to find ourselves some points the only people there as the group spread out.
I don’t know what we really expected of the wall but it was quite different to anything we had imagined.
We hadn’t imagined that in parts there are no steps but the stone floor rises at a very steep angle and is quite difficult to walk up.
Thankfully today was dry as I should imagine the ground is very slippery and almost impossible to climb these sections in the wet.
As we walked we found ourselves joining three other people, a couple and a girl on her own who were all from the UK.
We talked at length as we trekked this beautiful and unimaginable architectural feat.
The wall itself has been built over many different eras and stretches ( with all of its branches) for 13,171 miles.
The Jinshanling section we were now walking was built in the 14th century Ming era, and stretches for 7 miles and is one of the most striking sections where it climbs steep slopes.
The Amazing Views Of the Surrounding Landscape
One of those very steep sections now invited us to climb it’s unbelievably steep stone steps.
It was unnerving, to say the least, to stand upright with the steps only just in front of your face.
Atop this section lay the watch tower that was our final destination, the Eastern Five Window Tower which gave us impressive views across the mountain tops under a wondrous blue sky.
It was with sadness that we descended the hillside away from the magnificence of the Great Wall to rejoin our bus back to Beijing but we’ll never forget the experience and would return in a heartbeat.
The Climb Up To The Eastern Five Window Tower
The overall highlight of our trip to Beijing was our day walking on the Great Wall.
It is beyond impressive when you stop to think of the overwhelming scale of the project to build this enormous wall and the effort and lives it took in its creation.
The views are amazing and worth the effort of the walk to get away from the more crowded sections of the wall.
If you want to visit this part of the wall.
We were part of an organised trip from Beijing that dropped us at the Zhuanduo Pass and we walked independently to the Eastern five Window Tower where we descended the hillside to where the bus picked us up and drove us back to Beijing.
The walk took us approx 3-4 hours to complete.
This section of the wall is the Jinshanling section that is shown in this map.
Trip runs to many other parts of the wall that are more crowded and touristy with cable cars and even toboggan runs down the hill side.