Carlos Melia – The Great Wall of China

Author: , June 14th, 2015

Great Wall of China - Carlos Melia

After several weeks of being away traveling across China and then France, today I resume my postings and blogging. So much to catch up. I’ve recently spent over 20 days traveling in China and Hong Kong. My first post is about one of the absolute highlights of our trip, The Great Wall of China.

The Wall snakes its way up and down mountains and stretches, in total, for 5,400 miles. Built in numerous sections, work on the Wall started as early as BC 500 though it was only in about BC 215, when China became the country that we know today, did various sections start getting linked and the Wall take on its current form. Meant as a defence against the invading Mongols it was never a success, as the Mongol Invasion in 1211 proved. The Ming Dynasty Emperors once again set about rebuilding the Wall though it was never again used as a defence mechanism, instead slowly eroding and in parts, completely crumbling away.

Great Wall of China - Carlos MeliaA number of Wall sections have been restored and the most interesting, yet accessible, is at Mutianyu. After some careful research, and listening to the advice of local expert partners, I decided that we would visit the Mutianyu Gate section of The Great Wall of China. The reason for this is, because despite being further away from central Beijing, this gate is not so frequented by tourists, therefore the driving time, counting traffic is shorter. In approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes, we went door-to-door from our hotel in central Beijing to the Mutianyu Gate. And I must say, that the drive was quite lovely. The solitude of tourists, made it look even more impressive.

Mutianyu offers great views as well as the chance to walk (read: climb) along a stretch of the Wall, exploring the battlements and guard towers. For those with more energy we highly recommend a visit to the Wall at Jinshanling as this more remote section is much less visited and allow what we call “The Wild Wall” experience. Perhaps even consider a 4- 5 hour trek along the Wall.

Honestly, we couldn’t have picked a better day for our Half Day Private Tour of The Great Wall. We had unusual clear blue, smog-free skies, which made a great difference, from what we expected. And I must say, that overall our stay in China, we only had a few days of heavy smog. Upon arrival to Mutianyu we took the cable cars to the top, which took approx. 10 minutes. Once at the top, well… better show you that write about it right. See the video below of the mighty Great Wall of China.

We spent the entire morning walking along, up and down, enjoying the spectacular views and the mighty presence and extension of the wall over the lush green landscape. I have to say, that during all my travel I have been lucky to experience and visit some of the most relevant sites, and without a doubt this was one of those unique moments. The Great Wall of China, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Chinese historical marvel. One of the most common myths about the Great Wall is that the wall is continuous: one long stone dragon designed to protect China from northern invaders. While the Great Wall is indeed thousands of kilometers long, its distance is a result of several sections added together, using different materials, that include more than just stone.

Upon the end of our visit , our charming guide, had a surprise for us. She said… ” How are we going to get down back to ground level…”. Mutianyu Gate has a system of toboggans that will take you down in full adrenaline and enjoyment in approximately 10 minutes (mind the speed you reach… ).

After our visit to the Mutianyu Gate, we drove for over 10 minutes, to enjoy a light lunch at the Schoolhouse Restaurant which was the former school building of Mutianyu village. And after that, back to Beijing to complete our tour.

I have many more posts coming your way on my exploratory one month trip to China and Hong Kong. To include reviews on tours, attractions, experiences, restaurants, airlines and hotels. Stay Tuned.

By Carlos Melia – Full Story at the Carlos Melia Blog | China Gay Travel Resources