If you get into a conversation that you traveled to China recently or sometime in the past, people will often ask you if you have went to The Great Wall Of China.
Why do they ask? Well, for starters, it's as synonymous with China as the Hollywood sign is to L.A. It's just something that should be on your itinerary. Any one taking a trip to China has to make room to visit this UNESCO place of interest.
Here's some history on the Great Wall of China. It is more than 2,000 years old and it is a monument with a deep history. Shi Huang Ti, the first emperor of China, created and constructed the wall. The wall is referred to as "Wan-Li Qang-Qeng" in Chinese translates to 10,000 li long wall which is equal to around 5,000 km or 3,106 miles in length.
Why was it built? The Great Wall Of China was built to prevent intrusion by aggressive native tribes. The Chinese royal families resided in lavish and extravagant palaces while the tribes had to stay in tents.
For hundreds of years, the wall was being built, reconstructed and extended by successive families in the Chinese royalty. The great wall starts from the gobi desert to the top of the yellow sea.
The best way to feel the culture and appreciate the beauty of the Great Wall is by walking along the bricks of the Badaling the most preferred section by travelers due to its views and full-scale military facilities. It can become quite busy with travelers during holidays.
Travel Tip: As an alternative to the high-season crowds, visiting the Mutianyu section in Huairou is a very good choice, and some prefer it over Badaling, as it offers equivalent beauty and a lesser number of tourists. You have the option of arriving in one of two available cable cars, a chair lift, and a toboggan ride. However, once you are off, there is still some serious uphill walking no matter what method you choose.
The sections of Simatai and Gubeikou are also well worth a visit. The walls here are actually better maintained strong, and the rich natural splendor of the nearby wilderness is still evident. It is a two-hour drive from Beijing which may be a negative but it's still worth the trip for the uber explorer.
There are Beijing hiking groups and tours that have daily excursions to this area and places beyond like the Forbidden City, the Ming and Jungyuan Tombs. Possibilities also include running, cycling, or taking a helicopter to the Great Wall.
Best Time of the Year to Go:
People who have gone there over the years say the best time to visit northern China is on Spring (which is pretty much the case in any city). If that is not doable, then travel there in Autumn. If winter is your only available free time, be prepared as the temperatures can touch zero degrees or less. Like anywhere else that gets lots of tourists, if you want to beat the crowds be an early bird and get there in the morning.