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Walking the Great Wall
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At a glance
Trek one of the seven wonders of the world, the Great Wall of China
Trip Highlights
Start Destination
End Destination
What's included
  • 8 breakfasts
  • 6 lunches
  • 6 dinners
  • All accommodation (see below)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Arrival & departure transfers

All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 6 dinners included. Food is cheap in China and you can avoid the spicier regional food if you wish. The food on this trip is fantastically varied with lots of new flavours and 'things' to try. Gastronomically the trip can be divided into two parts: 'tourist hotels' and 'local hotels'. In tourist hotels the breakfast is normally a buffet, with a huge spread of Chinese and western food, including coffee, juice, breads, cakes, fruit, eggs, bacon and a wide variety of noodle and stir fried dishes. Dinners are normally taken in the hotel or local restaurants, serving rice with assorted vegetables, pork, fish, chicken and duck dishes with flavours roughly approx. imating those you would find in a Chinese restaurant in the UK. In the local hotels, breakfast includes rice porridge, dumplings, eggs, noodles, etc, however, we tend to augment this with fruit and cakes where available. Dinners are taken in local restaurants where the food is heavily flavoured with ginger, garlic bamboo shoots and chilli. Don't be surprised to find river snail, sparrow or even dog appearing on the menu! Lunches are taken in local village restaurants and will normally consist of noodle soup or stir fried vegetable noodles. Expect an audience most lunches as the locals crowd around to watch the 'big noses' trying to master the use of chopsticks! Vegetarians are well catered for but please inform us before departure of any special dietary requests. Please note that in China the availability of certain specialized products for restricted diets, e.g. gluten-free or dairy-free, is minimal or non-existent and we strongly recommend you bring these specialized dietary items from home. Strict vegetarians may find the diet rather limited to stir fried vegetables and eggs as all the soups are made with meat stock.

Day 1
Depart London
Day 2
Arrive Beijing; free afternoon.
After arriving into Beijing the afternoon is free to relax after the overnight flight. Tonight is also a good opportunity to sample Peking duck famous to Beijing.
Day 3
Transfer to Mutian Yu and trek past watchtowers before transfering to 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. We go 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. Approx walking time 5-6 hours. In Jiankou we stay at a guesthouse/homestay.
Day 4
Morning trek around Jiankou with its steep mountains and beautiful scenery; transfer to 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.
Day 5
Walk along the wall near 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. Approx walking time 3-5 hours before returning to Gubeikou.
Day 6
Hike past villages to 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. Approx walking time 5-7 hours.
Day 7
Walk over mountain ridges from Jinshanling towards Simatai, past ruined and restored watchtowers.
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 section at Simitai is sealed from Jinshanling, and currently not accessible. The views are excellent, watching the Wall stretch away across the rugged hills. After lunch we take a 3 hr transfer to the East Qing Tombs where we walk the impressive Sacred Way apon arrival. The Qing Royalty spent their living summers in Chengde, and it seems that they chose this spot for their 'final' journey. Altogether there are five Emperors, 14 Empresses and 136 imperial concubines/princesses buried in the main site, with further tombs in the surrounding mountains. The infamous Empress Dowager Cixi is one of those buried here. We will stay in Qingfeng Hotel for the night near East Qing Tomb. Approx walking time 4-5 hours.
Day 8
Drive to Taipingzhai and trek to Huangyaguan.
In the morning we will visit the famous East Oing Tombs themselves. We will then take a 2 hour transfer to Taipingzhai, where we walk past various forms of watch towers, and the largest tower of the Great Wall 'Phoenix Tower'. The most unusual feature here is the street of eight diagrams, a labyrinth set up to stop invaders. Huangyaguan Great Wall also holds an annual international marathon race. Approx walking time 3-4 hours. We spend tonight at a local farmer's guesthouse/homestay and have the opportunity to see how families live in this area.
Day 9
Transfer to Beijing; afternoon sightseeing.
Today we transfer by road back to to Beijing (approx 4 hours). In the afternoon we will enjoy the sights and sounds of China's capital. Todays sightseeing will include the Forbidden City with its innumerable courtyards and temples, and Tianamen square, the largest square in the world able to hold over a million people, the cities hutongs (narrow alleys) to see what is left of old Beijing and its traditions
Day 10
Arrive London
Arrive London.
Prices & Availability
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