The wall is an incredible piece of engineering that stretches over 6,000 km from the eastern coast of China all the way to the mountain ridges north of Beijing. Originally constructed to protect the Chinese empires from the Mongolian 'barbarians' of the north, the Wall ultimately failed in its purpose but remains a poignant reminder of the power of the Middle Kingdom.
Day 1: Beijing
Arrival transfers from either Beijing airport or train station are included. The balance of the day are free for you to start explorations of this vast city, or manage jetlag
Markets, old hutongs by rickshaw, Tiananmen Square and more
Accommodation: Dong Fang Hotel or similar.
Day 2: Jinshanling – Gubeikou
Today your walk on the Great Wall starts.
Travel is by private vehicle to the Jinshanling section of the Great Wall. A guide will either meet you here or, travel with you from the hotel. This first stage of the trek takes 5 to 6 hours and has some very steep parts and narrow paths. Your guide will provide a picnic lunch, which you carry yourselves.
The walk from Jinshanling to Gubeikou follows the original unreconstructed wall, with many steep, crumbling staircases and ruined watchtowers that are overgrown with vegetation along the way. At Jinshanling, the wall zigzags up the steep terrain and straddles peaks like a suspension bridge. Be prepared for some tough going. Yes it will be a tiring day but also a very rewarding one, particularly on a clear day when you can see range after range of mountains unfolding in the distance. Tonight you’ll stay in a basic local guesthouse with dinner provided.
Gubeikou Section: You will meet other trekkers all along the routes, individuals and groups. It is a popular thing to do for corporate 'bonding' and charity fund raising.
Day 3: Wohushan - Taipingzhai - Huangyaguan
After a hearty trekkers breakfast you continue your trek to Wohushan (Crouching Tiger Mountains) Great Wall. This section of wall stretches for more than 25 miles. The route comprises of 14 beacon towers, 143 watchtowers, 16 strategic passes and 3 citadels. The section has not been restored since the 16th century and, though some towers and sections are in nearly perfect condition, in some places they are not.
The highlight of the Wohushan section are the ‘Sister Towers’, two watchtowers that look like two sisters standing by the river hand-in-hand. You will walk for about 2 to 3 hours, enjoying spectacular views of the wall winding into the distance. You then drive 2 to 3 hours to the Taipingzhai section of the wall, stopping for lunch on the way. The afternoons, trek approximately 1.5 to 2 hours moving down to the Huangyaguan section. This portion was constructed on such steep parts the wall can look like it is going straight up or down. Taipingzhai is home to a range of watchtowers types, most notably the Guafu (Widow) Tower - built during the Ming Dynasty from money donated by the widows of frontier soldiers in remembrance of their loved ones. It is then about an hours drive 1 hour to drive to your next accommodation. Dinner either at a local restaurant on the way, or at the hotel.
Accommodation: Qingfeng Hotel or similar
Day 4: Eastern Qing Tombs - Beijing
After breakfast today you are transferred by private vehicle to the Eastern Qing Tombs. The Eastern Qing Tombs are the final resting place of 5 emperors: Shunzhi, Kangxi, Qianlong, Xianfeng, and Tongzhi. It is one of the largest and best-preserved tomb complexes in China, stretching across 80 square kilometers, and is also the burial site of 15 empresses, 136 concubines, three princes and two princesses of the Qing Dynasty. This was the last imperial dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1911.
Listed as a World Heritage site at the turn of the millennium, the tombs are described as a “masterpiece of human creative genius”, featuring richly decorated halls and towers that show the importance that the Chinese placed on an afterlife. After a local lunch continue back to Beijing (approximately 3 hours).
Accommodation: Dong Fang Hotel or similar.
Day 5: Beijing
Programme ends after breakfast.
For someone who has not been to Beijing before you should consider more time to explore aspects of Beijing itself. There are the well known historical highlights - Tiananmen Square, Heavenly Palace, Forbidden City etc, but then there are many more. We can organise private guiding for any of the many options. We also recommend taking a walking guide with you for a day. They use feet and public transport to move about and you can accomplish rather a lot with their assistance.
Notes: You should be used to some walking if you choose this reasonably comprehensive trekking programme. Sturdy walking boots and a walking pole are recommended. Naturally one should carry your own water and relevant purification if you intend to top up on route. During the summer months hats and other sun protection is a wise move.
We can customise arrangements. For example, shorten the tour; go to one place and do excursions from the accommodation.
This does not operate during winter months :) Notes on wall sections.
Price: Based on 2 persons A$1223 per person is a guideline price. This is based on the ‘middle season’. Some variations might apply during high seasons, or if hotels within the style indicated, are not available when booking.