What comes to your mind when you think of China? Food? Chinese culture? Or maybe The Great Wall of China?
On our trip to the Philippines, we had a stop in Beijing. Passing the hours during an airport layover can be painful and boring at some point. To kill time, we decided to visit the Great Wall of China.
GREAT WALL OF CHINA
The Great Wall of China is around 21.000 km long (all sections included), which means that the wall is the longest wall in the world. This includes also walls which ones are broken, not maintained or old wooden one. But with the wall, we mean the system of several defense lines and fortifications from the mountains to the Yellow Sea. It was built by more than 20 dynasties ruling the imperial over centuries. While China was always protected by the Pacific Ocean on the east and Tibetan mountains on the west, The Great Wall was built to protect the territory from the northern invaders.
As one of the largest man-made structures on Earth, it was granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 1987. While it can be even seen from space, The Great Wall can be 7 meters high and it is 6 meters wide.
MUTIANYU OR BADALING ?
In Beijing, there is actually 72-hour visa-free transit access available (in some cities also 144-hour visa-free transit). Short-term visitors can receive a temporary visa at the airport. We checked the Mutianyu entrance and Badaling entrance. We decided on Badalin because it is a good connection from the airport to there. And actually Badaling is the only great wall section which you can directly reach by trains.
HOW TO GET TO BADALING FROM AIRPORT?
Our flight landed around 6:00 a.m., so we arranged a free visa to go out of the airport. We left around 8 a.m. from TERMINAL 3 (T3) with Airport express train. We left the train in the last station DONGZHIMEN and took the subway line 13 to HUOYING.
Next, from HUOYING you can follow the signs that lead you to HUANGTUDIAN station (train S2). Because we were late (they have a schedule for the train) and the next train was in 2 hours, we took a van from this point to Badaling. But if you are early enough it is train S2 from HUANGTUDIAN station to last station BADALING. It is 10 – 15 minutes walking to the entrance. Driving with trains will take you around 2 hours.
Entrance fee: 35 CNY (low season)
Cable car fee: 100 CNY (low season)
*HERE check entrance fees.
The temperatures were below freezing, so we cut our visit a bit short. We took a cable car as well. But, depending on the length of your layover, you can spend hours walking on the breathtaking structure full of history and with the views of mountains and landscape around.
“The total length of this section is 12 kilometers with 43 watchtowers, however only 3.74 kilometers and 19 watchtowers have been restored and opened to visitors. Badaling section averages about 7,8 meters tall and 6 meters wide”.
We walked on and around The Wall one hour, just enough to see and explore the history of this engineering phenomena. It was quite a lot of people, but still not so much to not to take good photos 😉
- Badaling Great Wall. https://www.travelchinaguide.com/china_great_wall/scene/beijing/badaling.htm (accessed February 9, 2020).