Great wall - Mutianyu vs. badaling

Nov 10th, 2005, 11:03 AM
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Great wall - Mutianyu vs. badaling

Planning on going to China in June '06 with our mom who is 80 yrs. old. I'm trying to figure out the best way for her to see the great wall. I've read that Mutianyu is better than Badaling and that there is a cable car there. My questions are:

1. Where do you get the cable car and where does it take you?
2. How is the weather in June? I know it will be summer will it be unbearably hot at the Great wall site?
3. Any advice on best way to do this trip e.g best time of day to go, length of time to stay at the wall etc.

My mom is still pretty strong at 80. She has travelled extensively but has never been to China. So this is a must trip for her.I've never been to China either so please bear with my ignorant questions. Thanks!

Martinan is offline  
Nov 10th, 2005, 11:59 AM
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One thing to note is that when the guidebooks refer to a 'cable car' what they mean is a chair-lift, similar to the ones you would see on the ski slopes - something hits you in the butt and you zoom up the mountain. It's not enclosed in any way. That said, I would still recommend the MuTianYu section of the wall - i walk with a cane and was still able to climb it and it was well worth it.
dante0085 is offline  
Nov 10th, 2005, 12:00 PM
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I went to Mutianyu on a mini-bus tour that parked in a lot below the cable car. The walk up from the parking lot to the cable car station was a distance of about a long city block. It is not too steep but paved or brick and lined by vendor stalls. The cable car goes up the very steep hill to a platform at the top of the wall. From there you can get some great views and walk along the wall a bit on the level and ride the cc back down. The typical route is to walk to the right along the wall and then take one of the paths down the hill from the wall to near the parking lot. The walking along the wall on that route is quite steep at several points and is like climbing stairs.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Nov 10th, 2005, 02:19 PM
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There are definitely cable cars, not chair lifts at Mutianyu.
Marija is offline  
Nov 11th, 2005, 06:24 AM
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Marija - Where do you find the cable car as opposed to the ski lift type of transport? Are the two close to each other?

Have also read that if you walk to the left, rather than the right, that there is a kind of slide back down? Any one know a bit more about this? How is the walk to the left? Is it also a steep and difficult walk?

Nov 11th, 2005, 08:04 AM
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Thank you all for your replies. dante0085 if you could do it with a cane, I'm sure my mom can do it as well! mrwunfl, thanks for your detailed description. When my mom comes for a visit, we frequently go to NYC and she has no problems walking those avenue blocks so the distance from parking lot to cable car won't be a problem. I'm glad to know what to expect. Have any of you been there in the summer months? Thanks!
Martinan is offline  
Nov 11th, 2005, 09:09 AM
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Mutianyu is a much more authentic experience than Badaling, which has been completely rebuilt, with handrails.
dperry is offline  
Nov 11th, 2005, 01:15 PM
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Sounds like if you let her take her time getting up the hill to the cable car she will be ok.

I described the location of the cable car. If there was a ski lift then it was not operating when I was there (Nov 2001). From the cable car platform the main route is to the right. The route to the left, IIRC, was described as good for people who wanted a good hike.

On the "regular" route from the cable car, to the right, you get to a point where you can walk down. Around there is the start of the chute. Looked like you sit on a wheeled sled and ride it down the chute. I saw a man standing at one of the sharp bends, presumably to catch people who don't make the turn. Looked dangerous to me.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Nov 11th, 2005, 03:23 PM
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Hi Marinan,

I was at Mutianuyu in November 2004. it is definitely a closed cable car. Chinovice--I walked to the left off the cable car as far as one can go before the "warning--go further at your own risk" signs, but I didn't see any "slide", just walls and steps.

The walk is is not difficult, but there are some steep steps--maybe 7 or 8 steps at a time--essentially every time you enter or exit one of the garrisons. The steepest walk is from the bus to the cable car.

I recommend Mutianyu to everyone going to China. We were almost completely by ourselves on the wall. It was incredible.

Regarding weather: Although I was there in Nov and it was snowing a bit, it was far colder than in Beijing--I would think the same temperature variation would occur in the summer--it would be cooler than in the city.

I have some great pictures that will show you exactly what Mutianyu looks like and the elevations/steps. Just cut and paste the url below into your browser address window and you will get a very good sense of what you are going to encounter:

(Great Wall at Mutianyu is the last folder on the page. Note: the steps in the picture that are very steep and long are not to be climbed (by regular people)--they are the ones with the warning signs not to go further. You can walk for about a mile along the wall. There is little reconstruction at Mutianyu--it is essentially in its original shape--which is really good shape)

Have a great time. I wish I could take my 80 year old Mom. Lucky you!

BostonHarbor is offline  
Nov 11th, 2005, 04:23 PM
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Hi Boston Harbor,
Really enjoyed your your photos. Thanks. Looked at them all!

Makes it seem real somehow now. 5 more months to go!!!!
Thanks for the clear explanation! I do feel a bit better about it now.
Nov 11th, 2005, 05:33 PM
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thanks for the pics, boston harbor. really nice. whets your appetite for china travel!
hornbill is offline  
Nov 12th, 2005, 05:58 AM
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Your question about the "toboggan slide" as a way to get back down the hill at Mutianyu intrigued me (as I had not seen such a slide when I was there). I did a search and found a picture of a tourist on the slide. Copy and paste the URL at the bottom of this post to see what it looks like.

Frankly, I am quite pleased we did not find the slide as my traveling companion would surely have jumped on it and sped down the hill--leaving me spitting epithets at the top of the slide ;-).

As it was, we walked out as far as we could go (we walked left from the cable car to the "beyond this point you are at your own risk" sign) and then we walked back to the point where we started(the entire walk from the same point took about 90 minutes--not rushed walking, just enjoying the view, taking photos, and exercise.)

The slide must be to the right--at least from the cable car we went on. (Note: There may be more than one cable car/lift? I thought I saw one in the distance as we were descending)

We could have hiked down, but it was cold and slippery so we took the lazy man's enclosed cable car. See for yourself in the picture below if the slide is your speed. It might be more fun in the warm days of summer than it was when I was there.
BostonHarbor is offline  
Nov 12th, 2005, 09:23 AM
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Bostonharbor, many thanks for your reply. What wonderful pictures! We are also planning to go to Shanghai so looking at your albums was a great preview. And yes we are quite blessed to be able to do this with our mom. It will be a trip for mom and just her children. No spouses and no kids for us! The husbands have bravely agreed to hold down the fort for a week! Wish all of us luck! hahaha!
Martinan is offline  
Nov 12th, 2005, 04:33 PM
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Boston Harbour,

Thanks! Really enjoyed those pics of the toboggan slide. So tell me - how did Kim manage to slow down the descent? Is there a brake of some kind that one can use?

Oh yes - Children and animals and photos... = frustration every time LOL

So if I understand correctly, first you walked left, then back to where you started from and then to the right?

Thanks for the extra work to help me!!

Will be there in April. Should be a bit warmer, but not all that much I think.
Nov 13th, 2005, 06:59 PM
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Another plus with Mutianyu is that you get to see a bit of rural scenery on the way, Alli all, it is well worth the longer drive.
andydee is offline  
Nov 14th, 2005, 12:39 AM
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I found some pictures of different sections of the GreatWall.
Check here:

You may also enjoy his blog:
ZhengYu is offline  
Nov 14th, 2005, 02:24 AM
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ZhengYu - Thanks for all of the great pics and the site.

Now then - got a problem. Just how difficult is it to find the slide? I mean Boston Harbour seems to have walked that section of the wall and didn't see it.

If I take a taxi, or a public bus to the section of the Wall at Mutianyu, go up in the cable car and walk to the right, are there a number of descents before one reaches the cable cart?

Does one just keep walking? About how far?

I am getting so excieted about my trip now. Don't know how I will wait till April!!!
Nov 14th, 2005, 05:54 AM
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Zeng Yu, Thanks for sharing the site. Another set of great pictures! Good luck on your trip chinovice! That slide does looks exciting just don't know if I still have the nerve to go on it. Please let us know how you did if you plan on going on the slide!
Martinan is offline  
Nov 14th, 2005, 10:54 AM
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Hi Martinan,
As I get older I get more reckless LOL. Today as a grandma I will do things I would never have dared to do 20, 30 years ago, so... yes, I am hoping to go down the slide...if I don't chicken out at the last minute :~0 ... and if I can find it too
Nov 16th, 2005, 03:17 AM
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This does it for me! I am definitely taking the slide down! -

From LP TT: "They do have brakes.. you can't stop on a dime but you can slow down. On the sharper curves they have guys telling you to use the brake to slow down (its just a lever between your legs if i am not mistaken.) Not dangerous at all if you ask me... the group I was with was playing bumper sleds once we realized speed was not an option due to said photographer in front of us.." =950880&messid=8117982&STARTPAGE=1&parentid=0&from =1&CFID=1955970&CFTOKEN=38724310b46a5d1c-6B2C856F-BFF9-053B-101922C150455A16&jsessionid=78305cb4c514$C3$84$C

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