The Great Wall of China was built as a fortification mainly in the historical northern borders of China to defend the Chinese empires against enemy and military incursion. During the reign of China’s 1st Emperor, Qin Shi Huang (秦始皇, 220 – 206 BC), sections of the wall were joined together to make it bigger and stronger.
The wall is one of the world’s Seven Wonders and the only construction on the Earth that can be seen clearly from space. It was listed as a World Heritage by UNESCO in 1987.
For my recent holiday in Beijing, the first item on my itinerary was to see the Great Wall. In fact I think it is a MUST DO for anyone who is visiting Beijing as Mao Zedong (毛泽东) once said “不到长城非好汉” which means ‘He who has not climbed the Great Wall is not a true man’.
We went to the Mutianyu section which is about 70km from Beijing. As it is a little farther than the Badaling section, it’s therefore less crowded with tourists.
I hired a tour guide who also doubled as a driver for the trip. We left our hotel, Jade Garden Hotel around 7.30am to avoid the rush hour. We used the highway and had to pay RMB20 in toll charges. After 1½ hours of driving, we arrived at the wall.
Without wasting much time, our guide helped us buy the entrance (RMB45) and cable car tickets (RMB80 return). If you have the stamina, you can opt to hike all the way up. However as we wanted to save energy and spend more time on the wall, we took the cable car up to tower 14. The entire section is about 2.5km with 23 watch towers.
First sight of the wall just took my breath away!!
Mom and aunt were really excited that they finally got to walk on the Great Wall.
As we were early, the wall was relatively deserted. We spent some time taking in the view before starting our climb.
A unique feature found in this section of the wall is both the wall’s inner and outer sides have parapets to defend against enemies coming from the two sides.
View of the valley below.
Our aim was to climb up to tower 20 and that was where we want to go. We were all prepared for the climb.
One of the 2-storey watch towers – soldiers stand guard on the top while the lower level served as troop barracks.
View of the wall from inside the troop barracks.
Visitors taking a rest before continuing the steep climb up to tower 20.
And the climb begun. It was quite taxing climbing the steep inclines.
The final stretch…………….also the steepest.
But the 360 views from the top was well worth the effort. The wall stretches as far as the eye can see.
A panoramic view of the surrounding countryside, mountains ridges, pine & cypress trees in early autumn colours.
After catching our breath, it was time to make our way down…………….making our way back ALL the way.
The undulating stone walkway, stairs and steep inclines really test one’s stamina.
Four of the 23 watch towers, each about 100 metres apart.
The wall is surrounded by mountains ridges and wood forests.
Mutianyu Great Wall are crenellated with merlons to enable arrows to be fired during enemies attacks.
Nearing our starting point at tower 14.
One final look at the Great Wall before heading down.
There was the customary line of vendors selling various merchandise and souvenirs – prices vary greatly between the stalls. So one has to bargain to get a good deal.
We spent almost 4 hours at the wall before leaving for Ming Tomb. We really enjoyed the Great Wall as the weather was good. We had great view as the day was clear. Best of all, there was not many people at the wall throughout our visit.