Walking the Great Wall

From £849 for 10 days
Trip Overview
Stepping out across the peaceful semi-ruin of a section of the Great Wall is like walking in the footsteps of the past. Far from the tourist crowds we are able to get a great sense of the scale and majesty of this remarkable piece of engineering without rushing through in a big group. We trek along various contrasting sections of the wall, both dilapidated and rebuilt stretches. The old sections have a romantic feel, but the new ones may look odd to people who are used to seeing their ancient monuments in a poor state, though since the wall was constructed over a 2000 year period, the new sections are just a continuation of that process. We will get closer to day-to-day life in rural China before returning to Beijing, a city steeped in history yet plunging headlong into modernity.
Essential Info
Starts: Beijing
Ends: Beijing
Ages: Min 16
Theme: Walking
Trip Code: ETCW
Countries visited: China
What's Included


All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 6 dinners included


4 nights comfortable hotels, 4 nights basic guest houses, all en suiteAltitude maximum 1050m, average 600m


5 days point-to-point walking with full porterage

Trip Highlights
-Walk one of the seven wonders of the world
-See rural life first hand
-Spend 2 full days in Beijing
Dates & Availability
Start date
End date
Price GBP
14th May 2017
22nd May 2017
Beijing - Beijing
21st May 2017
29th May 2017
Beijing - Beijing
2nd July 2017
10th July 2017
Beijing - Beijing
9th July 2017
17th July 2017
Beijing - Beijing
30th July 2017
7th August 2017
Beijing - Beijing
3rd August 2017
11th August 2017
Beijing - Beijing
6th August 2017
14th August 2017
Beijing - Beijing
13th August 2017
21st August 2017
Beijing - Beijing
3rd September 2017
11th September 2017
Beijing - Beijing
Show more dates
Itinerary & Notes
Day 1 - Beijing
After arriving into Beijing the afternoon is free to relax after the overnight flight. There is a welcome dinner organised for the group allowing us to sample one of the cities most famous dishes: Beijing duck.
Day 2 - Jiankou
We leave the capital and head into the countryside to the Great Wall, a 3 hour journey to the north east of the city. From Jiankou we trek to the less visited section at Mutian Yu where the Wall is an impressive sight, snaking off across mountains and valleys into the distance. As one of the best preserved parts of the Great Wall, the Mutian Yu section used to serve as the northern barrier defending the capital and the imperial tombs. There are 22 watchtowers on this 2,250-metre-long section. We transfer back to Jiankou where we stay at a guesthouse/homestay. Walk approx. 8km/5-6 hours
Day 3 - Gubeikou
Today we trek to a section of the wall constructed of large white rocks, very noticeable from a distance, built in 1368 during the Ming dynasty. Due to its steep mountains and beautiful scenery Jiankou is a photographers dream, and is where most photos of the Wall are taken. This part of the Wall is unpreserved and wild and we will walk for approx 2-4 hours on a few sections of the Wall; we will bypass a few sections, as they are steep and difficult underfoot. In the afternoon we return to the road and are picked up by our vehicle and transferred to Gubeikou, approx 2.5 hours drive away, where we spend the night. In Gubeikou there will be the option to walk to a nearby section of the wall for sunset. Walk approx. 5km/2-4 hours
Day 4 - Gubeikou
This section of the Wall stretches for more than 25 miles. There are 14 beacon towers, 143 watchtowers, 16 strategic passes and 3 citadels. Gubeikou has long been a town of military significance. We walk along this section before transferring back to spend the night at Gubeikou. Walk approx. 5km/3-5 hours
Day 5 - Jinshanling
Today's walk involves scrambling and steep ascents to the top of ridges. The views from the top of these ridges are spectacular as we walk past numerous watchtowers and beacon towers. Parts of today's walk are on a broken section of the Wall, and during one section of today's walk we will descend from the Wall, in order to bypass a restricted military area, before rejoining the wall and carrying onto Jinshanling. Walk approx 17km/5-7 hours.
Day 6 - Chengde
The Wall here was rebuilt in 1572, during the Ming dynasty, and has been restored but is still reasonably quiet if we start early; it is the starting point for our walk. There are many watchtowers on this stretch looking out across the gullies and ravines of the rugged landscape. The Wall is steep in places and its condition worsens in the middle section - you need to be happy walking on uneven and stony surfaces with some drops off to the side. The views here are excellent, watching the Wall stretch away across the rugged hills. After lunch we transfer back to Beijing via the Summer Palace. Once the playground of emperors and their concubines; the Summer Palace is a vast ensemble of lakes, gardens & palaces, and is the largest and most well-preserved royal park in China. There is also a chance to see the spectacular Birds' Nest stadium at the Olympic Park on the way to our accommodation. **Please note, the itinerary for 2016 stays in Simatai and visits the East Qing Tombs on day 8. For more information on this please see the 2016 trip notes**
Day 7 - Huangyaguan
We take a morning walking tour of the city's hutongs (narrow alleys) to see what is left of old Beijing and its traditions. We also visit Tianamen square, the largest square in the world and able to hold over a million people. Later in the day we visit the Forbidden City with its innumerable courtyards and temples.
Day 8 - Beijing
Today is a full day of free time for you to explore the amazing Beijing as you wish. Get up early to visit Temple of Heaven, and admire the incredible history and architecture of this royal complex of 600 years. Don’t be shy to join the locals in their morning exercise, like Taiji, fan dancing, playing badminton or try your hand at the mop calligraphy. Or go to Lama temple and learn about Buddhism and its importance to Chinese people. For a different taste of Beijing, visit the 798 art district, which gives a modern vibe in this modified loft zone, full of quirky modern art and architecture. Otherwise, hire a bike and dive into the vibrant Beijing streets and hutongs like a local!
Day 9 - Beijing
Fly to London.
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