There is a lot more to the Great Wall than what goes on at the site closest to Beijing, Badaling, which is not so affectionately referred to as “The Great Tourist Trap of China” (don’t go there). Instead, if walking the wall is on your bucket list, why not kill two birds with one stone by taking part in the Great Wall Marathon.
If you’re worried that running a marathon might send you on your heavenly way (I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt) a bit prematurely, I understand. Skip the run but at least hike one of the more primitive and less crowded parts of The Wall. The Jinshangling to Simatai hike is wonderful, but at the time of this writing the area was under restoration. With that in mind, I’ll refrain from suggesting any one place to visit, as it may be under some sort of construction by the time you read this and get there.
Instead, I’ll just reiterate the fact that, if you hope to be even the slightest bit impressed with The Great Wall, you should keep well away from the Disneyland-like tourist area, Badaling. When researching where to go, start with these places–Jiumenkou, Huangyaguan, Baimaguan, Jiaoshuan, Simatai–and see what’s currently under construction.
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