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Irina11 Jun 22nd, 2007 02:14 PM

Great Wall - Simatai? Zipline? Mutianyu? Need more information...
We are going to be in Beijing in the end of July and would like to spend a full long day on Great Wall.

1.I am thinking of skipping Ming Tombs and better enjoy Great Wall as much a possible? Am I right to do so?
2. Simatai or Mutianyu? Which one offers the best views/experience? We are fairly fit so hiking should not be a problem, but I understand in July will be very hot and humid so I am not sure 3/4 hours hike from Jinshangling to Simatai is the best in this time of the year.

I can not find detailed information to plan a day in Simatai or Mutianyu section.

3. Simatai:
East or West? East is more difficult but is it more beatuful as well? How can a combination of cable car and hike work? Does cable car go to the summit or it goes part of the way and then you have to hike? For how long? Where can we get on Zip Wire? At the same place as cable car? What is the best way to plan a combination of cable car/hiking and zip wire? Does Simatai section have restored part of the Wall as well?

Are there areas to hike as well? Is hike instead of cable car or after we take a cable car? What is the best way to plan a day? Cable car/hiking/toboggan?
Can you get to unrestored parts in Mutianyu or it is not allowed?
What other section of the Wall can we combine with a trip to Mutianyu?

Is it any way possible to go to Simatai and Mutianyu in one day?

Any advice is really very much appreciated.

ekscrunchy Jun 22nd, 2007 02:17 PM

You should also do a search here and look for the article on Jinshaling that I posted here a few months ago...

You can hike up to the Wall from the entrance to Mutianyu, instead of taking the chair lift.

luvtootraveltwo Jun 23rd, 2007 05:23 AM

we went with Mr. Li (highly recommended on Trip Advisor)
out to Mutianyu at his suggestion and were very happy. The drive there was interesting and not overly long (maybe 1 to 1 1/2 hours from memory) We took the cable car up and then you can walk for hours. It wasn't too crowded but it was very hot (we went in July 2005. I think Simatai is quite a long drive. Badaling is too crowded and much more touristy.

Irina11 Jun 25th, 2007 01:36 PM

Thanks for responses.Luvtootraveltwo, do you have email for Mr Lee? We'd like to do Jinshangling to Simatai hike but are concerned with July hot weather. Is there anyway to shorten this hike?

gyangiri Jun 25th, 2007 11:20 PM

one new option is you can take an afternoon train to Gubeikou
and stay at Mountainyoga's Great Wall Camp
in native Indian style Tipis in a valley by a section of untouched original Great Wall
enjoy drumming, dinner, meditation, ear candling, and accommodation in Tipi with camp fire
then hire a local guide for the Jingshanlin-Simatai treck early morning the next day
back to Beijing in the afternoon or stay with the yoga camp for more days

ekscrunchy Jun 26th, 2007 05:01 AM

American Indian tipees at the Great Wall?

Ben Jun 26th, 2007 06:35 AM

I don't know about the tipi accomodations, but I can endorse starting out a hike at Gubeikou. One our first day of hiking from Gubeikou we didn't see another soul (in late August). We spent the night in a small village (I forget where), and hiked the next day to Simatai. August was hot, but not unbearable. The first portion of our hike was much better than the second portion, which was more "restored" and had more people (and hawkers).

Shanghainese Jun 26th, 2007 09:27 AM

gyangiri: Since you are the contact listed for Mountainyoga, please be advised advertising is prohibited on Fodor's.

moniquesd Jun 26th, 2007 06:03 PM

My daughter and I just returned from China and Hiked the Simatai portion of the wall. We hired a driver/guide in Beijing who took up on wall that covered 12 guard towers. We hiked around 6 miles roundtrip-catching a zip line at the bottom. We were deposited on the riverbank and a boat was waiting for us to transfer us to the visitors center. We loved the hike and were happy we did not take the cable car up-the views were fabulous both ways! It was extremly hot so an earley start is recommended.

Irina11 Jun 27th, 2007 01:53 PM

Thanks very much for info.

Moniqued, how long did the hike took? Where did you find a driver/guide? Did he hike with you?

Zhengzhang, if we take a cable car to the 8th tower, then we can hike to the 12th? Is 12th one is the last one that we are allowed to go? How long would it take?

moniquesd Jul 1st, 2007 07:37 AM

Irina11- It took us around five hours up and back. Yes you can get to the 12 from the cable car. I think the cable car deposits you at the 8th or 9th tower, from there you can go in either direction. They have closed off beyond 12 or 13 after some accidents occurred. We arranged our guide-and car through the Grand Hyatt in Beijing. He picked up up at 7:00a.m. to-get an early start because of the heat. We started at the base with our guide that informed us that the local guides will assist us as well. My daughter and I had our guide Jamie hike with us and was extremely good-perfect English and former school teacher! He also took the Zip line across the river with us. The guides that reside there spoke no English but communicated with Jamie with information that maybe of interest about the Wall. Most of these guide have grown-up in the area. The kick back to the "volunteer guides" is that if you wanted to purchase a trinket from them that would be appreciated. My purchase was a book on this section of the wall. The government allows them individually to hike the wall 2 times per day. I would highly recommend hiking up and back and prepare for the heat. There is water available along the way.

moniquesd Jul 1st, 2007 07:41 AM

Irinall-I forgot to mention that it took us around three hours up and back at an aggressive pace with many of photo opportunities. The drive from Beijing was around 2 1/2 hours and interesting.

althom1122 Jul 1st, 2007 08:18 AM

Monique - what was the cost of the driver/guide for the day?

Irina11 Jul 3rd, 2007 12:54 PM

Moniquesd, thanks very much for the info. How much the hotel charged you for this trip?

luvtootraveltwo Jul 3rd, 2007 11:34 PM

irina my apologies for the delay in reply i have been away.
I used Mr. Li who owns the Beijing Taxi Company his website is:

i'm not sure of the cost- and i'm not sure if he himself does the drive any more. He didn't climb the wall with us, just left us at the bottom- you are not forced to walk any particular length of the wall, just walk for as long as you feel comfortable and then back- it's very strenuous and very hot and you will know when you've had enough.
good luck.

moniquesd Jul 5th, 2007 09:08 AM

Irinall- the cost for my daughter and I was around $250 dollars. The Hyatt did a great job handling the
arrangements-you may want to check out their website for details. We choose an Audi sedan for comfort and safety although there are other prices available. We loved the ease of travel!

BeachGirl247 Jul 8th, 2009 12:33 PM


ChinaJim Jul 8th, 2009 07:23 PM

Simatai is gorgeous. Well worth the trip out there. You have magnificent views and the wall in it's glory all to yourself! The cable car is a short ride up, and then it is a short hike up onto the wall itself. You can then spend several hours hiking the wall. They didn't have the zip line when I was there, so can't answer that, but I definitely recommend Simatai! A couple hour drive from Beijing each way - just hired the "big taxi" I hired at the airport to take me to the hotel. Spoke good English and he charged 700RMB($100) R/T.

Kevin99 Jul 11th, 2009 02:04 AM

Simatai is fantastic,3 of us went to there with konglin,cost 1000yuan 150USD.It is amazing.We went up from Jinshanglin,walked all the way to Simatai about 5 hours.
Konglin drives a very comfortable car and spoke very good english.

bryanf Jul 19th, 2009 06:32 PM

1. You're wise to skip the Ming Tombs to give you more time at the Great Wall!

2. Neither! Simatai is overrated and Mutianyu is overcrowded. Try these recommendations:

3.See this forum for Simatai reviews, maps, and information on accessing the closed part of the ridge (east) beyond tower 14.

4.You can walk from the restored area to the unrestored area at Mutianyu if there are no guards present (there usually aren't) and if you don't mind ignoring the signs.

Is it any way possible to go to Simatai and Mutianyu in one day?

Possible but you would need the entire long day and you would still only have a couple of hours at each place. So I would not recommend this. If you have one day, pick one Great Wall location.

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