The Great Wall of China is a humongous collection of fortifications throughout China. It has several famous parts you can visit. In this article I will write about the Simatai Great Wall which is located near Beijing. The sections around Beijing are among the most famous parts, being renovated more frequent and attracting a lot of tourists.
After a 3 hour bus ride from Beijing we arrived at the Simatai with our guided group. The first 10 beacon towers are accessible for the public. We had 4 hours to spend and given 4 options by our guide:
- Going up from the 1st beacon tower by foot and walk towards the 10th beacon tower, see how far you can go up (chance of not making it to the 10th) and walk back;
- Going up from the 1st beacon tower by foot and walk all the way up to the 10th beacon tower, afterwards walk back to the cable car station located at the 5th or 8th beacon tower and go one way down;
- Going up with the cable car to the 5th or 8th beacon tower, walk towards the 10th and walk all the way back, or;
- Going up and down with the cable car to the 5th or 8th beacon tower.
we choose for option 3, going up one way to the 8th beacon tower. The best views can be spotted between the 5th and 10th beacon tower. Just look at the pictures in the gallery below on our Instagram feed.
The cable car has space for 4 people to go up at the same time, but if you want you can take a cable car for your own going up as well. Taking the cable car up is the best thing to do in our opinion, because you see the best parts of the Simatai wall at first and you reach there before the whole group of enthusiasts who want to climb up and down ;-).
Only the first 10 beacon towers are restored and safe for the public to visit, but they are worth every step!
Be sure to bring some snacks and plenty of water for the walk. Good preparation is half the work!
How to get there
Easiest way is by booking a tour and going with a bus. We booked the tour beforehand and it costed us 50,- Euros per person for the bus ride, a vitame bread, a bottle of water, tour guide and a lunch in the W town (Gubei Water Town is located at the foot of the Simatai wall, you can also choose to visit the town instead of having the lunch).
If you are going with your own transport it is good to know that the sight is open between 8 AM till 18 PM from April to October and between 8 AM till 17:30 PM from November to March. There are also options for a night tour which we did not take, more information about times and public transport can be found here.
Why visit the Simatai part of the wall?
The pluspoints of visiting Simatai are as followed:
- The wall is renovated but still has the authentic look;
- There is a cable car which takes you to the 5th or 8th beacon tower, making it accessible for elderly people and children. Going one way costs 90 RMB, going both ways 160 RMB;
- The view. If you are looking down from every beacon tower, there is a beautiful view over the mountains the Simatai are located in;
- As stated above you can combine a visit to the Gubei Water Town with your visit to the Simatai.
How long will you need
Going up one way wit the cable car and walking down taking A LOT of pictures (yes, we love taking pictures) took us around 3 hours in total. But then again, we took our time to take the most of the surroundings for pictures.
The Great Wall is huge! There are different parts which are interesting, like the Southernmost section of the Great Wall of China in Zhejiang or the section near Jiayu Pass which we also visited (blog coming soon).