One of the greatest wonders in the world lies in China. The Great Wall was named that for a good reason. It’s huge, it’s epic, and it’s the perfect bucket-list destination to put at the top of your list if you have a chance. With travel becoming more accessible than ever, it’s easy to make a journey to the wall a possibility. Personally, I took a day trip there on a layover, which was a great way to stretch my legs after a 14-hour flight to Beijing and get to view a huge cultural icon that was entirely man-made and well-preserved for tourists to still visit to this day.
1 You Can Get a Free Visa For Short Visits
If you’re visiting China for less than 72 hours, you can get a free transit visa upon landing. Rather than pay the usual expensive fee to visit for a longer time, you can take advantage of this transit visa if you have a layover in Beijing or another city in China. It’s the perfect amount of time to get outside the city to visit the Great Wall.
2 It’s a Perfect Day Trip From Beijing
If you’re strapped for time in Beijing, it’s not too far away for a day trip. It only takes about an hour and a half to get from the city or airport to the wall entrance. There are a multitude of ways to get there. A private driver is great if you have a group to share the costs with, and they wait there for you to explore for as long as you want.
3 There’s a Tram Ride to the Top
If you’re not afraid of heights, you can take a beautiful tram ride to the top to start your Great Wall journey. The tiny seat takes you up the mountain over trees below for a great view of the landscape and greenery.
4 The Experience Is Photoshoot Goals
To avoid a million people in your photos, get to the wall as early as possible. Our driver got us there at about 9 a.m. and that was perfect for being some of the few who were willing to wake up early to visit. And what’s better than having an ancient monument like this all to yourselves?
5 Walking the Walk
While most of the wall is heavily restored and not exactly 100 percent of the original bricks that made it up when it was built, it still feels like you’re in a scene from Mulan and you can walk as little or much of the wall as you want. Walking the whole of it would obviously be a difficult task, but some people have definitely done it.
6 All Seasons Are Great
It doesn’t matter what time of the year that you visit because it’ll be lovely no matter what. In the Autumn, the Fall foliage is out and takes over the entire mountain in hues of red and orange. In the Winter, you might see the place dusted with snow. Spring and Summer is the best time to get a view of the wall under the sun with clear blue skies.
7 Find Secret Spots
There’s tons of turrets that have stairways that take you up to the top for a better view. There are also a lot of pathways you can find that have you heading down the mountain if you’re not wanting to take the normal path down.
8 Ride the Slide Down
Did you know that the Mutianyu section of the wall has a toboggan slide you can take to get down the mountain? It’s literally a thrill ride. You control the cart yourself and there are workers along the long track to make sure you’re doing alright as you race down the hill to end your Great Wall journey.