Friday, February 27, 2015

Conquering the Great Wall of China

When I was in high school I remember I had this fascination over Chinese culture especially on the dynasties perhaps because I felt it was very relevant to me since I'm half Chinese haha. On top of that, I've always wanted to visit the Great Wall of China because it is one of the 7 Wonders of the World. After all these years, I'm finally able to tick this on my bucket list!

Last November 2015, my boyfriend and I went to China (Beijing then Shanghai) for 6 days and we made sure to visit the Great Wall! We've learned that the Great Wall has numerous sections that is open to tourists and we initially planned to visit the less restored part which is called the Mutianyu Wall because it has one of the best views of the wall and there fewer tourists which crowded the wall. However, we also learned that it is extremely challenging to go there because there is no direct public transportation going there and language barrier is an issue haha! Since we're pressed with time, we just decided to go to Badaling Wall, which is the usual tourist destination because it's very easy and convenient to visit.

We went to Badaling Great Wall via public bus and here's how to get there:

1. Ride the MRT Line 2 and alight at Jishuitan station Exit A. 
2. Once you're out of the MRT station, immediately turn left and look for this sign located on various lamp posts. Just follow the sign and walk straight to Deshengmen Arrow Tower for about 10 mins.
3. You will be able to see this huge gate or the Arrow Tower to your left. You then need to walk across and go to its left side to get to the bus station. 

4. Ride Bus no. 877 because this is a non-stop bus service that will drop you off at Front Hill or Black Bear Zoo in front of Badaling Great Wall entrance. It is the most convenient and cheapest way to travel to Badaling and journey time will only take about 1 to 1.5 hours.

Bus no. 877 operates from 6:00 am to 4:30 pm daily. We went there early in the morning to spend more time in the Great Wall. We initially planned one whole day for this but because my boyfriend and I are fast travelers, we were able to finish all 12 Badaling Gates/Towers in  just 3 hours haha. :) We were able to get back to the city by lunch time.

Tickets are sold inside the bus itself. Once you enter, you need to tell the conductor how many people you are with so he/she can give you the bus tickets. We only paid CNY 24 or about Php 175.92 per person ROUND TRIP. It's only CNY 12 one way or about Php 87.96

Once you're inside the bus, sit back and relax! :) 
5) After 1.5 hours, we finally arrived at the entrance of Badaling Great Wall. When you need to go back to the city, wait for bus no. 877 in this area as well. 
Before "officially" hiking, you need to pass by the souvenir shops on your way up to the main ticketing booth to purchase your tickets. I suggest you buy water and some snacks so you have something to munch on while climbing the Great Wall. 
6) You then need to pay an entrance fee of CNY 35 or Php 256.55 per person. 

You have an option to ride the cable car which will save you time. Tickets are sold here and it costs around CNY 60 one way for adults and CNY 80 for round trip while only CNY 30 for children and kids under 1.2 meters are FREE of charge.

We didn't ride the cable car anymore because it's additional cost for us. Anyway, we wanted to experience the real hike more than seeing the Great Wall at a bird's eye view.
7) Badaling Great Wall has 12 towers. You may choose to hike all 12 towers but it will take you around 3-4 hours to do it. But it was not an easy hike as some parts especially on the second half are EXTREMELY STEEP!!! I wouldn't recommend it to elderly people or very young children. After the hike, my knees were super weak already especially because we hiked during winter so the thin air made it more worst haha. Also, once you pass by Tower 9 and have decided to go all the way, there's no turning back! the next exit would be at tower 11 already or the Bear Garden/Zoo so I suggest you think twice before trying to finish all towers.

The cable car is stationed on the 8th and 9th tower so you need to get there first before riding it. You can also ride the cable car first going up tower 8 or 9 then hike down so it's easier for your knees but I am not sure how to go to the cable car station at the foot of the mountain.
We stopped at every tower because it's too tiring!!! But every time we see another tower ahead, it kept us going! Our goal was to finish the Badaling Great Wall for a day! :)
This is the 8th Tower. It's filled with tourists since many have decided to ride the cable car going down and vice versa.
There's a slide ride in Badaling Great Wall too however most of the time, it is not working. 

8) When you get to Tower 12 or the northern part of Badaling, you will see some souvenir shops and a zoo filled with various animals like wild bears and camels. You can also buy a gold medal or plaque with "I survived the Great Wall of China" phrase as a unique souvenir. I believe you can have your names engraved to personalize the medal. 
The Bear Zoo is located at the right side from the parking lot. You can also enter from here but your route will be from tower 12 down to 1. This route has less tourists but the hike is super hard in this part.
Woohoo!!!! we survived Badaling Great Wall and I am very happy we were able to tick one item on our bucket list. Going to the Great Wall of China is a must whenever you visit the country especially if it's your first time. It's super worth it and you'll create a memorable experience you can share to your loved ones especially to our future family :)


  1. I was wondering if you guys had made it to the Great Wall!!!! So glad you did... it's high up on our list to get there soon! :) Looks amazing!

    Great wall tour

  2. Totally bookmarking your blog! :) Thanks for the entries. My friends and I are visiting Shanghai + Beijing this June. We already book tour packages (sana pala hindi na), so our expenses should be minimal na lang, no?

    1. Hi Dianne! thankssss!!! :) yup sayang mas mag-cut down pa sana yung expenses niyo but anyway baka naman sulit na din yung tour nyo! :) enjoy China!

  3. The Great Wall of China is the world's longest wall and biggest ancient architecture. Really it’s a very good blog with valuable tips. It is in fact the symbol of china, because anytime you see a picture of the great wall, then you know that picture has something to do with china. A lot of things to enjoy there. One of my friends suggested me Trekclub which gives very good information about great wall. Thank you.

  4. It would be a lovely experience for you to go on that lovely place in China.
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  5. hi, i've been following your blog for travel ideas. Did you took the same route going back to the city? i mean do we need to go back to the drop off area to ride the 877 bus again?


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