My Mutianyu Great Wall Tour 2007

The Mutianyu Great Wall was all ours, my sister and me!
8.30am – 9.30am, December 31, 2007.
You might not believe, but I have proof.

I have been to Beijing many times and had visited some other sections of the Great Wall. Last December, I have chose Mutianyu as part of my Beijing food tour activities.

Arriving At Mutianyu Great Wall At 8am

My colleague in Beijing has arranged a driver (Mr. Jia) to take care of our Great Wall tour. Mr. Jia picked us up at the Peking University at 6.30am, and we arrived at Mutianyu around 8am.

Believe it or not, before starting our tour, we took about 15 minutes to complete our toilet visit. It was so inconvenient to go to toilet with all our thick clothing and gloves, so we took turn to look after the things. The toilet was big, reasonably clean and with auto flush. However you must bring your own toilet paper.

Admission and Cable Car

Mutianyu Great Wall is equipped with cable car and sliding facilities. Because of the cold weather (-5°C), we decided to go for the cable car.

Admission is ¥40 and cable car return journey is ¥50, so each of us had to pay ¥90. Mr. Jia charged us ¥600 for a return trip, including waiting time. Hence, the two of us spent a total of ¥780 for this private Mutianyu Great Wall tour.

It was really freezing showing my face

My sister took her gloves off just for photo shooting

White Mutianyu Great Wall Experience

Cable car journey lasted about 5 minutes, and we continued to explore the Great Wall on our own foot.

Great Wall is usually crowded with visitors. You can rarely find a chance to take a good photo. However if you go early enough, the situation is completely different. Though the place was all ours, we found it difficult to take a good photo, for two reasons. We just didn’t want to pull our hands out of the warm gloves and we didn’t want to pull our scarf down to show our faces.

There was snow on the floor, so we had to take extra care to avoid falling down. Scenery at the Mutianyu Great Wall in winter is certainly less colourful than that of spring or autumn, however the white snow shows a magnificent scene of the northernland. For people like us, coming from the southern part of China, this is really something we want to experience.

Walking on the Great Wall Mutianyu section is not too demanding. The cable car helped us with the initial journey, so we didn’t have to walk too much and can have a very good bird’s eye view of the surrounding mountain ranges. In summer, perhaps some people would want to try sliding down. However due to cold weather, we chose to return on cable car as well.

The most demanding bit of our Mutianyu Great Wall tour was actually weather. It was cold and windy. I don’t mean to scare you, once my hands were exposed, they immediately became paralyzed. I was wondering if I will loss my nose or ears unconsciously.

Questions Regarding The Great Wall

As a Chinese, whenever I set my feet on the Great Wall, I usually ask two questions: One, how was the Great Wall built? Two, where did the enemies come from?

I’m afraid few people had answer to the first question. Though we speculate how the ancient people glue the stones together, how they carried the giant stones up the steep mountain is just beyond imagination.

My question two is easy to answer. Look at the above photo and check the source of sunshine. On the right hand side of the photo is north and where China’s major enemies were.

Mutianyu Great Wall Tour Logistics

Breakfast – We need energy to walk. Therefore we bought some buns from the Oriental Plaza the previous night and brought a bottle of water, in order to do our breakfast on the car.

Camera – I brought my laptop along to store my photos, so I have lots of memory sticks available. Also I put the camera in my jacket’s pocket, to make sure the camera won’t stop functioning due to cold weather.

Toilet paper – We had to bring our own.

Dressing rehearsal – the night before, both of us spent some time in practicing how to dress up in order to protect ourselves from -5°C. I used my Burberry cashmere scarf to wrap around my head, neck and face. I then wore an ear mug to fix the position. Inside I had another woolen scarf, a T-shirt, cashmere short sleeves, woolen pullover and a jacket. After all, I pulled my jacket’s connected hat up and wrap my head, to make sure only my eyes were shown. Breathing became difficult! I wore two pairs of trousers as well as thick gloves.

Lunch – There are restaurants at the foot of the mountains. On our way back, some local people approached us for lunch but we just want to return to the city to do our Beijing cuisine. Some local farmers also tidy up their houses and serve home-made dishes.

Summary of My Mutianyu Great Wall Tour

This section of the Great Wall is less demanding in walking. I think you can even bring your kids along. The whole tour takes almost six hours.

6am – morning call
6.30am – depart from Peking University
8.15am – arrive at Mutianyu
8.30am – 11am – explore the empty Great Wall (the next couple of foreign visitors didn’t arrive until 9.30am, local tourist groups arrived soon after 10am, we have had one complete hour to explore the empty Great Wall)
11.00am – start to return to Beijing
12.30pm – lunch at Daojiachang Beijing Cuisine Restaurant

I hope you’ll find the information here useful when planning your own Mutianyu Great Wall tour.

January 6, 2008

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