Beijing best time and Great Wall

Jan 21st, 2005, 12:43 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 50
Beijing best time and Great Wall

Please recommend the best time to go to Beijing to avoid crowds and peak season. I am thinking about going in first week of September; is this a good time?

Also, how far is it to get to the Great Wall of China from Beijing?

Thank you,
bp is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2005, 04:34 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 27
bp - September is a great time to go to Beijing. My husband were in China, including Beijing, the last two weeks of September 2004. The weather was great - high 70s and sunny (when the sun was not blocked out by the horrendous pollution!) There did not appear to be a lot of tourists there at that time of year, although I have no basis for comparison. The only tourist site that was uncomfortable crowded was the Summer Palace. We visited on a Saturday which undoubtedly is one of the more crowded days to visit. (We didn't have a choice of days given our schedule.)

With respect to the Great Wall, do a search on this forum, or pick up any travel guide. In a nutshell, there are four places from which you can visit the wall in the vicinity of Beijing. The most popular spot is Badaling. This means that it will likely be very crowded. It is apparently the spot where all the tourist buses go. We went to Mutianyu. It is about a 2 hour drive from Beijing. We thought it was a fantastic section of the wall, although again, we have no basis for comparison. There was almost noone there. We could not believe our good luck. We went on a Monday morning; the sky was a crisp blue, the temperature was 75; we were in heaven. We climbed as far as you could go in one direction and at the peak, had the place to ourselves for a good 20 minutes before some fellow travelers arrived.

Have fun. You will love Beijing.
jam40 is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2005, 06:47 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,602
September is an excellent time to go-it should still be quite warm, even hot, the first part of Sept. in Beijing at that time. I can definitely recommend April as a great time of year as well. I was told that May was horrible, because the capital is overrun with Chinese tourists from the provinces, and you can't even see the pavement at Tianamen Sq. at this time. The flowers were all in bloom when I was there the middle of April-during the day it got up to a whopping 89 degrees, and pretty much stayed around that temp. the whole time I was there, even at night it was 75-80! We really lucked out on the weather, it seems. This is above the norm, but it does seem to be a lot warmer in Beijing than it used to be-so keep that in mind, and check the internet (Yahoo weather) for average temps. and 6 day forecasts for the period you'll be there.

As for the Great Wall, it depends on which particular site of the wall you decide to visit. My advice? Avoid Badaling, where the majority of the tourists and tourist buses go, like the plague. It was horrible when I was there-total congestion, hordes of people walking the Wall, so I could barely see it, much less enjoy the experience. Better to go to Mutianyu, or even better, Simitai, with its spectacular views, and rather harrowing steepness. Simitai is a bit further from Beijing than Mutianyu-both about 90-100 km. from Beijing, and the time it would take depends on the method of transportation you choose. Cheapest would be bus, but you would have to change a couple of times, and it would take a few hours, or you could hire a car and driver for a flat day rate. Check this board for driver recommendations if you want, or wait and negotiate a car and driver outside your hotel when you get there. It's not at all difficult to do.
Spygirl is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2005, 11:42 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 2,501

My wife and I went to Beijing in March in 2003. It was freezing when we came there but when we went to the Great Wall at Simatai there were hardly any people there and it was great. I have posted a long trip report with lots of pictures on my homepage Maybe you can find some useful information there.

Stavanger, Norway
gard is offline  
Jan 24th, 2005, 02:43 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 177
Greetings from Beijing
The first week of September is a great time to go to the wall. Better yet, go September 1st if possible. That is the day all schools in China start the semester (yes, even if it falls on a Sat or Sunday) and so the sights are empty that day.

Skip Badaling. Go to Mu tian yu and take the cable car up, walk along for 2 hours, then take the tobaggan down. Or head to simatai or for further afield, Jing Shan Ling is completely un-restored!

Figure 2+ hours in a taxi to Mutian yu.

Avoid Oct 1-7 in China. National Holiday and the place is as bad as the May holday, as the other person said, and you can't, literally, see the cement on tiananmen square
Bchen is offline  
Jan 24th, 2005, 01:11 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
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jam40, Spygirl, gard and Bchen,

Thank you all for your suggestions and information. You have helped me a great deal.

Best Regards,
bp is offline  

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