The impressive Great Wall of China spreads across a distance of 20,000 kilometers from Gobi Desert in the west to the Yellow Sea in the east. This is the longest wall in the world and is also one of the planet’s most famous attractions.
Built more than 2,300 years ago, this wall listed as a UNESCO site has a width of 7 meters and a height of 6 to 14 meters with more than 25,000 battlements that snake a path along thick forests and steep mountain ridges.
Unlike what most people believe, the wall is not really a continuous one and instead, it is composed of several sections intermingled with mountains that serve as a natural defense.
Aside from being the longest wall in the world, the Great Wall of China is also the largest ancient architecture. Its amazing scenery serves as an attraction to millions of local and foreign tourists alike. However, not everyone gets to enjoy their experience at the Great Wall to the fullest.
To ensure that you have a better than usual trip to the Great Wall, there are several important dos and don’ts you should keep in mind.
- Check the weather before you leave to ensure that you won’t be hiking the Great Wall in the midst of a bad weather condition.
- Choose the most suitable section of the Great Wall to visit. It would be a big help if you can research and compare the different sections to make your decision-making easier.
- Visit the Great Wall during fall or spring when the weather is fine. Summer is considered as the peak season with exhausting heat and large crowds. While there is a smaller crowd during winter, the problem is that it can get dangerously cold.
- Go on a hiking trip to the Great Wall so you can best appreciate the landscape and have a real feel of this extraordinary historical architecture.
- Bring food and water if you have plans to go a long hike on the Great Wall. You won’t find any shop on the wall while restaurants are located all the way down in the valleys.
- Prepare well for the hike. Make sure you wear windbreakers and hiking boots. Take some walking poles with you and gear to protect you from the sun such as sunglasses and hat and apply sunscreen as well. Use waterproof gear as needed.
- Experience the toboggan slide away when descending the Great Wall of China if you will be visiting Mutianyu or Badaling, especially there are children with you.
- Watch your steps. Take extra care to avoid falls, trips, and slips as well as loose bricks or ricks at the wild sections of the wall.
- Visit Mutianyu, Juyongguan, or Badaling sections if you got some problems with mobility. These sections of the wall are more wheelchair-friendly. Mutianyu and Badaling have somewhat disability-friendly cable cars that can take you up to the wall.
- Bring your own toilet paper and stop by at the valley restrooms before you ascend the Great Wall because you won’t find any toilets once you get to the wall.
- Don’t wear shoes with open toes when hiking the Great Wall of China even during hot summer months to keep your toes protected.
- Don’t fall for tourist traps or those group tours to the Great Wall offered by tour guides or drivers by the road. These people will only take you for a low quality and quick visit to a section of the wall that you didn’t even ask for, with tiresome and long round of stops just to get more money from you.
- Don’t go camping on the wall because it can get uncomfortable and dangerous during inclement weather, not to mention that carrying additional weight will only affect your hiking experience. Aside from that, this activity is also not allowed in majority of areas next to the Great Walls.
- Don’t visit the wild Great Wall all by yourself. Make sure you travel with your friends so you can help each other out. You can also look for a professional guide who will ensure that you don’t get lost and to ensure easy access as well.
- Don’t go to the famous Great Wall sections during Chinese holidays or weekends and other peak season. There can be huge crowds at these sections such as Badaling.
- Don’t take pictures from unsafe areas. It is important to get a secure and solid footing and avoid moving about if you are standing near loose bricks or rocks and steep drops. Don’t put your camera or yourself at risk for the sake of taking photos.
- Don’t leave your trash on the wall or the mountains. Always maintain the cleanliness of the wall so that other travelers will also be able to enjoy the view to the fullest.
- Don’t walk or run too fast when you are on the wall, particularly when going down. There might be some loose stones and bricks here and there that can compromise your safety.
- Don’t climb on the watchtowers’ windows especially those that were not restored yet as these might collapse.
- Don’t expect so much from the facilities, specifically the ones in less traveled sections of the wall such as Gubeiko and Jiankou.
Visit the Great Wall of China Today
Travelers who want to stay away from large crowds of tourists in China (https://www.travel-rs.com/china/) can find some un-restored parts of the wall where they can explore and hike. However, be warned because the government of China sometimes blocks off the whole sections or fines unauthorized trespassers.
According to the authorities, they only want protect these sections. If you want to visit the Wall, your best point of departure would be Beijing where you can ride a taxi or public bus or take a tour from there. Head out late in the afternoon or super early in the morning to beat the crowds of tour buses, especially if you want to go to Badaling.