question for Peter Neville-Hadley

Oct 10th, 2002, 09:30 AM
Posts: n/a
question for Peter Neville-Hadley


I have seen many of your posts about China and wondered if you could provide some guidance. My mother and I will be going to Beijing for three days in early November. We plan to go to the Great WAll for a HALF-DAY (perhaps rent a private guide/driver). My mother is elderly and won't be able to climb a lot of stairs.

I understand that Badaling is the closest to the city. Is it also the steepest? Where do you suggest we go: Badaling, Mutianyu or Simatai?

Thanks in advance.

Oct 10th, 2002, 07:10 PM
Posts: n/a
Lisa, I copied the following information - source unknown. I hope it can be helpful to you.
We visited the wall at Mutianyu and at that location
there are 2 ways to the top.The first is a cable car the second is a
chair lift.The cable car entrance is along a narrow road far up a hill
but if you visit the wall via private car,I noted,that you can get
permission to drive up and drop someone off at the cable car.The chair
lift is much closer to the car/bus park and would also be drivable by
car.We used the chair lift up the wall,jumping on as it moved by but we
observed that they stopped the chair lift a couple of times for people
to get on or off.When we were there(March) it wasn't very crowded so I
don't know if they would normally stop the lift to help someone on or
off.IMHO it would seem to me that by using(hiring) a private car to
visit Mutianyu your driver would be able to drive you and your dad right
up to the cable car or chair lift.Walking very far on the wall is
questionable for dad but at the upper cable car/chair lift exits there
are flat observations points with great views in all directions.I hope
this helps and your dad gets to see and enjoy the wall.Have a great trip

Oct 10th, 2002, 07:53 PM
Peter N-H
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If you'll forgive my saying so, I don't think it's really appropriate to address an individual through this site, and not is it terribly helpful to do so since others with useful experience to offer may not look at a posting with a heading directed at another individual.

However, for a half-day tour, unless you escape the city very early in the morning, really only Badaling is feasible, at least until the Jingde Highway is finished which will make Simatai and Jinshanling easier to reach, but still leave you spending a lot of time in the car.

All sections of the Wall are steep, although steps up to the wall are constructed at points where the wall sweeps down into valleys and flattens out briefly to cross them. Having taken the chair lift at Mutianyu, I'm sceptical that the short climb up to it can be avoided by car--I remember (perhaps inaccurately) there being steps in the way, and the path being only just wide enough and lined with souvenir stalls. The cable car may well be as accessible as suggested, but there will still be a climb onto the Wall at the other end, as there is at the end of all the lifts.

I'd probably choose Badaling because it can be done in half a day, and because on the way back, by taking the original road and not the new expressway, you can stop at Juyong Guan, even if only to admire the scale of its restoration/rebuild and get two sections of Wall for a single trip. Furthermore, Juyong Guan is much less visited, and the gate tower can be mounted with a single flight of stairs from ground level from where it sweeps up the hillside in two directions.

When it comes to hiring a driver and a car, be aware that taxi drivers will have cartoon-style revolving dollar signs in their eyes, and hotel transport desks even more so. Desks may ask Y1000, and drivers will tell you staunchly that Y450 is the 'set price'. There is no set price, and, meter off, Y200 is plenty (in a relatively comfy Y1.6 per km cab, that is) and if you avoid those hanging around the entrance of your hotel you'll be able to get that price.

Peter N-H
Oct 11th, 2002, 03:48 PM
rita snyder
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Where do you go to find a private car and driver for hire away from the hotel?
Oct 11th, 2002, 05:57 PM
Peter N-H
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There are 67,500 of them at the last count, cruising the streets searching for business, a light in the front window.

Peter N-H
Oct 13th, 2002, 11:31 PM
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Golly, Pete, wake up on the wrong side of the bed this week?
Oct 17th, 2002, 04:21 AM
Ling Ling
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Hello Lisa,

I'm a student from Hong Kong. I have been to the Great Wall in 2000. There are lots of stairs in Great Wall and sometimes the stairs are steep (especially when you climb higher).
However, please don't worry too much about the stairs because I saw lots of elderly went there too and many of them have fun. If your mother find it difficult to climb up the stairs, she can take a rest in the lobby of the hotel(I'm not sure if it is called hotel, can't really remember) at the entrance of Badaling. There were art exhibition and lots of traditional things for sale in the hotel when I went there. Alsp. the restaurant of that hotel provides great food too! (I love the ginger soup very much, it's sweet and hot, very good for drinking after climbing up the great wall because it can make our body warm)

Moreover, i remember there were lots of things for sales (e.g. fur hat, T-shirts, etc..... lots of things for sight-seeing and for buying souvenirs.)
So, I think Badaling is a good place to go.

I have only travel to there once and have never been to Mutianyu or Simatai.
But I think Badaling is good.

Maybe it's because I have a wonderful time there.

wish you have a wonderful journey!

Ling Ling
Oct 17th, 2002, 05:44 AM
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Your posts are great; informative and entertaining but a bit acerbic. Any chance that you could be less cynical and condescending?
Oct 18th, 2002, 07:52 AM
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considering the volume of posts directed at Peter, I can't blame him if he comes across as acerbic. I certainly don't find his replies condescending. I appreciate that he's so generous in sharing his first hand experience
Oct 19th, 2002, 08:34 PM
Posts: n/a
Why all the negativity directed at Peter? I've read a lot of his posts, and have detected no condescension, air of superiority, or acerbic manner. Seems to me he has offered his opinion on things. He does seem to have a propensity to reply to every negative post about him, but maybe I don't blame him.
Anyway, give the guy some slack. Seems like he is trying to be helpful.

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