Skip Badaling if you go to the Great Wall

I have been to the Great Wall three times now - two times this year. The first time I went, which was about ten years ago, and I visited the Badaling section. The clearest memory I have, was of the KFC at the parking lot of the wall. I am not sure if it is still there, but I have seen on television shots of the Beijing Olympic logo and a massive “One World- One Dream” sign, put up near the Great Wall.

My second trip was to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall. It was also pretty commercial, with a chairlift going up to the wall from the car park and a huge toboggan ride taking you back down. Don’t get me wrong, the toboggan ride was great fun, but the experience wasn’t too authentic.

My third trip just last month, was to the Huanghuacheng section. We had hired a tour guide for the day and at Huanghuacheng he advised us we could go to the part that cost 40RMB or the part that cost just 2RMB. I asked which was better and he said the latter option.

It was a bit of a walk up to the wall and the path was steep. I was only wearing sandals, which made it more difficult. Once you get to the wall, you have to climb up an old rusty ladder to actually get onto the wall - no chairlifts here. The views were spectacular on the wall and it had hardly been rebuilt at all. There were no side barriers on the wall to stop you from falling over, but the experience felt more authentic. The climb along the wall was also very steep. There were only a handful of other tourists, so it felt great to just sit back and take in the views.

Great Wall China

Great Wall China

Great Wall China

Great Wall China

Great Wall China

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