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Walking the Great Wall
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Mutian Yu - Jiankou
Leave the capital and head into the countryside to the Great Wall, a three-hour journey to the north east of the city. Visit 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.
Jiankou - Gubeikou
Today, 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 you'll 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, return to the road and where you'll be transferred to Gubeikou, approx 2.5 hours drive away, where you'll spend the night. In Gubeikou there will be the option to walk to a nearby section of the wall for sunset.
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.
Today's walk involves scrambling and steep ascents to the top of ridges. The views from the top of these ridges are spectacular as you walk past numerous watchtowers and beacon towers. Approx walking time 5-7 hours.
Jinshanling - Simatai
The Wall here was rebuilt in 1572, during the Ming dynasty, and is the starting point for the walk today.
There are many watchtowers on this stretch looking out across the gullies and ravines of the rugged landscape.
After lunch, take a three hourr transfer to the East Qing Tombs where you'll 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. The infamous Empress Dowager Cixi is one of those buried here. Stay in Qingfeng Hotel for the night near East Qing Tomb. Approximate walking time 4-5 hours.
East Qing Tombs - Taipingzhai - Huangyaguan
In the morning, visit the famous East Oing Tombs themselves. You'll then transfer to Taipingzhai, where you'll 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. Spend tonight at a local farmer's guesthouse/homestay and have the opportunity to see how families live in this area.
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