One of the wonders of the world, the Great Wall of China is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visitors to China who don’t go to see this wonder will miss an experience of a lifetime. As seen from space it seems that Great Wall slithers like a giant snake across 5500 miles of China’s landscape. Over 2000 years old, China’s historic wall is truly a wonder of the world. Tourists must be prepared to be awed by its majesty.
- The best way to see the Great Wall is to depart from the city of Beijing. Prior to traveling, its recommended to check with the Chinese government to see what visas or travel documents you will need to visit. For all its modernization and urbane exterior, China still is a communist country and does have restrictions on travel.
- The best time to go is in the early mornings or late afternoon in order to avoid the tourist groups. Plan to leave Beijing early and plan the trip to the Great Wall as a day trip. Tourism buses are available in the city or you can arrange with your travel agent to travel with a tour.
- For older travelers and families with children the best place to visit the wall is Badaling. It is the most visited part of the wall, but walking there is easier and there are no sheer drops for children to hurt themselves. It’s a bit of a tourist trap so expect many Chinese selling tourist items. A trip to the Badaling part of the wall is often coupled by tour companies with a visit to the nearby Ming Tombs.
- Simatai is one of the wall’s most beautiful points, but people afraid of heights should be aware that it is also one of the steepest points of the wall. Visitors should expect steep climbs and a long walk. It’s recommend that you carry a backpack and good hiking shoes. Food is scarce and drinks are expensive so bring your own for this trip.
A final word on tours when visiting the Great Wall of China: Most tour groups make detours to jade factories, Chinese medicine centers, and other places that sell things to unwary travelers. When booking a tour check to see what is on the itinerary, before booking. For people who are experienced hikers, there are tour groups that specialize in booking Great Wall of China hikes. These adventures are an amazing way to side the Great Wall.