While travelling on a budget you always look for cheap solution to discover new places. This time we wanted to visit the Great Wall of China. An organised tour will typically offer a package from Beijing to Badaling (one of the entrance to the site) for about 60 to 90 dollars for the day.
First this is quiet expensive and second the tour will take you to the most touristic place. So no chance for you to have some quiet time to enjoy the scenery. So here is how you can easily and safely go to the Great Wall of China for less than 10 dollars and escape the crowds.
- You want to go to “Mutianyu” entrance at the Great Wall.
- In Beijing get to the tube station called Dongzhimen. Exit the station to the Bus Transport Terminal
- Get the Bus 916 Express (Dongzhimen Shuniuzhan – Huairou Qichezhan). There are two buses 916. The Express one is the more direct one. There is a Chinese sign next to the “916” to indicate it is the Express one. It will take you about 30min to 45min. Cost around 6 Yuan.
- Stop at the Bus station “Huairou Beidajie”.
- Cross the road to the other side to get the Bus H23 (Tiekuangyu – Yujiayuan) or H24 (Xinglongcheng – Yujiayuan). Cost around 4 Yuan.
- Stop at the 8th bus stop (a 15min ride) and walk to the entrance ticket office. The bus stop is just under a bridge (see picture below)
- At the ticket office, take a ticket for the park entrance (30 Yuan) and for the bus ride (15 Yuan). The walk to the entrance of the Great Wall is not far (about 2km) but after a long day you will be glad to have taken this ride to get down.
- The bus will take you to the main entrance. Here you are in front of the Great Wall. You have various option to go up : the stairs or the cable car at an extra cost.
From Mutianyu gate you can walk in a day from Tower 1 to Tower 32. We recommend to head to Tower 32 and more if you want to see part of the wall that has not been restored. It is a little bite more challenging and steep but worth it. Have a good pair of trainers on you. Around Tower 22-23 you will think the path is blocked but go over the small wall on the right side and continue your walk. For a more touristic path with a café, shops and cable car, head to Tower 1 and come back to Tower 16 up to Tower 20.
On your way back to Beijing take the H23 and then the 916 Express. The 916 bus runs from 4:50am to 18:50pm, H24 runs from 9:40am to 16:50pm and H23 runs from 5:50am to 19:00pm. Make sure you check the bus schedule and give yourself some time to get down the Great Wall and catch the buses back to Beijing.
On our way we met few tourists like us. This journey is completely safe. Please be aware that many taxi or mini bus drivers will try to convince you to stop at the wrong bus station or that buses run only every hour or that there are no buses at all or that it will take you hours to get to the entrance. But Buses are running fine, they are regular, and it will take you no more than an hour and about 10 Yuan one way. Ask the bus drivers to make you stop at the right stations.
Last final point the ticket prices are indicative and we used the IC card (Beijing transport card).