Great Wall of China

Aug 23rd, 2005, 08:32 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 85
Great Wall of China

Leaving for PEK Sept 3. Can anyone tell me which location of great wall would be have least amount of stairs. Problem with knee. I've heard cable car only takes you half way and many stairs to the top at Badaling. Is a guide needed for great wall? Would hotel near Tiananmen Square be easier for self touring Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City? Thanks
dilen is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2005, 11:08 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
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The Great Wall snakes along the mountain tops and ridges, and I don't think it would be possible to avoid steep stairs and walkways whichever section you visited. I've been to Badaling, and some areas are so steep, I practically crawled up on my hands and knees! I did not take the cable car, but saw it. If I remember correctly, once you exit the car, you have to climb up a flight or two of stairs to get onto the wall itself, so I'm not sure how appropriate that option would be for you. With that said, I'd recommend that you visit the Wall nonetheless. Just to touch it - just to see it up close. It's not to be missed!

In regard to your choice of hotels in Beijing, location is not crucial since taxis are so cheap and plentiful. But visiting Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City both involve a lot of walking, and there are stairs leading into and out of the various buildings. Just take your time! Soak up the history!

And I don't think guides are needed at all. Beijing is very easy to manage on your own. If you do a lot of reading beforehand, you'll be well prepared.
OJudy is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2005, 12:28 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
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Hi Dilen,

I would hate to have you miss the Great Wall. I suggest that you go to Mutianyu rather than Badaling. It is about 30 minutes further from Beijing, but I think well worth the extra time. It has fewer visitors and is in better shape with far fewer steps. The cable car takes you all the way to the top with only about ten steps to get you to the top of the wall. There are some steep steps,but only five or six at at time while entering/exiting the garrisons. I was there in November. It was snowing lightly on fall leaves--just gorgeous. We had the wall to ourselves! There was no one else there. I took many pictures and if you review them, you can see exactly what the visit at Mutianyu would be like. I show one picture of very steep stairs, but that was at the end of walking a (relatively) easy mile. These steep steps are off limits with a warning side not to go further (although many did).

Below is a link to my Great Wall photos and you can make up your own mind. If your knee is really bad, you could just take the cable car up and stay at the top and walk a few yards. It is gorgeous from any vantage point.

(the great wall at Mutianyu is the last folder on the page. There is also a folder on Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden city)

Regarding the Forbidden city,I agree with OJudy, I would absolutely do it on your own. Just take your time and wear really comfortable shoes.

I stayed at the Grand Beijing near Tienanmen Square and it was glorious. Expensive, but glorious.
BostonHarbor is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2005, 02:35 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 69
Hi Bostonharbor,
Just looked at your photo album and you took some really beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing. We will be going to Beijing & Shanghai on 8/31/05. We will be staying at Westin Shanghai. Did you stay there? I am having trouble confirming whether their room with 2 single beds is really double or single beds? I read on the web from somebody's feedback that it is double bed, yet, we called the hotel and cannot get an answer. The reception desk people did not understand the question. Can you help? Do you recommend the Westin as a convenient location for travel with kids. We have a 2 yr old and 4 yr old traveling w/ us. Thanks.
MomJC is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2005, 06:47 PM
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Hi MomJC,

The Westin Shanghai is spectacular. I stayed there for five nights. I was astounded at the quality of the hotel. It is simply gorgeous. Chihuly sculptures everywhere (he is the latest craze in glass sculpture)

We had a two-bed room--they were queen beds I think. We had a nice suite with a wonderful art deco living room. HUGE bathroom. We didn't ask for a suite, we just got one. We didn't know why, but in looking at the floor plans on the back of the door, I saw that almost all of the rooms in the hotel are suites. There is a sliding wood wall between the bedroom and living room, so you could put the kids to bed and have a nice evening in the living room. There is access to the bathroom from both bedroom and living room. Wonderful flat panel TV. I can't imagine a better place to stay in Shanghai.

And--Oh my God--have your husband watch the kids and go to the spa for a massage. I have never been to such a beautiful, spiritual spa. You will not want to leave.

There is a terrific Italian bistro restaurant on the mezzanine of the Westin that has really good pasta, so you'll have an easy, fun place to take the kids out.

The location could not be better. It is only a three block walk to the Bund and cabs are plentiful and cheap. Make certain you get to the French concession. Fun atmosphere, great food. Tres chic.

The concierge service at the hotel is also very good.
BostonHarbor is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2005, 07:40 PM
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MomJC, I rambled a bit....

Short answer--they would definitely be double beds. They just call them single because no 4-5 star hotel puts couples in double beds anymore. Double beds are now meant for one person--thus--"single"

This is a five star is a Westin--an American hotel. They would never have *actual* single beds. That is so old Europe ;-)

As I mentioned, our two beds were at least doubles--and very comfy.
BostonHarbor is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2005, 09:37 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 69
Thanks BostonHarbor, WE are in a King rm w/ a crib right now. I will change it to a 2 single beds. Can't wait till we get there. WE love the Westin chain since they are very consistent.
Thanks again.
MomJC is offline  
Aug 24th, 2005, 05:38 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 711
Last thing MomJC,

I noticed that the concierge folks at the Westin Shanghai had a far better grasp of English than the young people at the front desk. If you call the hotel again, talk with the concierge first and have him/her talk with the front desk people--they can even conference in the front desk.

Have a great time!
BostonHarbor is offline  
Aug 24th, 2005, 11:47 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 729
Thanks for the post dilen, I had the same questins. Boston Harbor, what time of year did you go? Saw snow on your shoulder at the Great Wall. Was it cold? Am thinking of going late December. Probably more snow I would bet. Great pictures!
BabsB is offline  
Aug 24th, 2005, 02:32 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
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Hi BabsB,

I was on the Wall October 25th. It was raw and misty with a dusting of snow. I'd say the temperature was around 40F with gusty winds which made it feel far colder. It was much colder than Beijing which that day was around 60F. However, the wind let up and the sun came out and it was gorgeous--the fall foliage was as colorful as Vermont. As you can see from the pictures, we had the entire Great Wall practically to ourselves.

In December, I would really bundle up. It will be really cold, especially if there is a wind. However, I have seen pictures of the Wall in the snow and it is breathtaking. "There's no such thing as bad weather, there are just bad clothes"

The industrious merchants manning the ubiquitous shopping gauntlet on the way to the tram sell gloves, hats, scarves and countless t-shirts and sweat shirts. If you forget something or need another layer, it will be there for you--not to worry.
BostonHarbor is offline  
Jul 13th, 2009, 11:49 AM
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 30
Hi All,

Another posting ..... I really want to experience the raw, back country Great Wall..... well away from any tourist and tourist areas.

Is there even such an opportunity or tour group that helps one to experience this type of adventure?

Travel Chic
TravelChic13 is offline  
Jul 13th, 2009, 01:31 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 25,154
Why don't you start a new thread? You'll likely get more answers. But meanwhile see
thursdaysd is offline  
Jul 19th, 2009, 05:20 PM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4
Hi Travel Chic,

The Great Wall Forum has some good suggestions on where to experience the "real" Great Wall:
bryanf is offline  
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