A visit to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall in all four seasons
Another part of the Great Wall of China that I regularly visited was Mutianyu. This part of the Wall is about seventy-three kilometres out of Beijing which is about and hour and a half drive. I always booked a driver and did the same when I sent my visitors there as it was so much easier than finding buses and sticking to a rigid timetable.
This section of the Wall was first built by the Northern Qi Dynasty over 1,400 years ago. It was re-built and strengthened during the Ming Dynasty and the main part which attracts the most visitors is a 2½-kilometer section which was fully restored in 1986.
What I love about the Wall is that the surrounds look so different in all seasons; the Wall is slippery during winter in the snow and boiling hot in the dreadfully hot summer days.
There is a cable car to take you to the top and after you take a walk along the wall you have the option of taking the cable car back down or hopping into a toboggan and riding the way down. There is an option of walking up and down which takes about an hour each way and said to include about 4000 steps…I wouldn’t know this as my mode of transport was always the cable car and toboggan.
Under the westernmost towers, on the side of a grassy ridge, is a 200 metre long phrase 忠于毛主席 which means ‘loyalty to Chairman Mao’ It is said that Chairman Mao once wrote: ‘If you don’t get to the Great Wall you’re not a good man.’ (source: http://www.chinahightlights.com)
Of course as with anywhere in China, there are many Chinese entrepraneurs selling all sorts of everything with many foreigners paying way too much for t-shirts/Chaiman Mao caps and many other things. The fruits and foods are always delicious and worth spending a few RMB on.
After my first visit to Mutianyu in 2010 I had my photograph taken with a couple of good looking fellows dressed in Chinese attire; it was great to see them during another visit in 2013…for a few RMB (about$6 or so) you can have your photograph taken. Same lovely fellows; same lovely smile from the one on my left.
Unlike Badaling which is one of the most commercial and busiest parts of the Wall, Mutianyu is great to visit because it’s not at all crowded so you can spend time taking photographs without thousands of people in them.