Tips for Visiting The Great Wall of China

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whew! we have had an action packed few days here but i must capture our experience and share some tips for visiting the great wall of china because it was truly incredible. INCREDIBLE!

we visited the Badaling part of the great wall, which is the most famous part about 45 miles north from beijing. taxis here are much more affordable than in the united states so the cab ride there was only about $40 USD. the taxi cabs aren’t allowed to drive up closer to the wall so they drop you off and you get on a bus that takes you closer to the entrance of the wall.

the great wall parking lotuse the restrooms here because there aren’t many on the wall. you can also buy water, snacks and souvenirs here as well. as you can tell, it was rainy and blustery when we went so we bought some very sexy and cheap rain panchos. oh and  hat!

IMG_0062the great wall is incredibly affordable, only costing 40 RMB or about $7 USD to get in.

we had our trusty tour guide, felix, with us who is a 26 year old master’s student at a university in beijing and he was forced to hang out with us while in beijing! he claims we were some fun and he enjoyed himself too. it was such a luxury to be with someone who knew A TON about the country and spoke mandarin!

this is the entrance to the great wall:

the great wall of china ravery and felixapparently, this area of the great wall of china averages about 3,280 feet above sea level. walls are made with stones and bricks. tt was designed so that five horses or ten soldiers could walk side by side. the tallest point is called ‘Beibalou’ is 3,330 feet (1,015 meters) above sea level.

very very important note…if you have knee issues or health issues, this will be incredibly hard for you to climb because there are many steps and is CRAZY steep in many places. it was hard for us in places and we are pretty in shape folk. there is also this warning sign to not use your cell phone during thunderstorms either. the more you know.

the great wall gentle remindersi would highly recommend getting there early before hoards of people show up. we arrived just before 9am and it was relatively empty (people aren’t kidding when they say china is very crowded, especially beijing). all the cool people in china hold up peace sings or thumbs up when you take photos. be sure to do that.

IMG_0070we also had multiple strangers approach us and ask for photos because we are quite tall and quite white. it was pretty hilarious. i hope i held my fingers up cool enough for their photos too!

the great wall around beijing was first built in the spring/fall of 770 BC – 476 BC. emperor Zhudi ordered the great wall rebuilt as a key defensive project against the northern enemies. it took 8 years to restore Badaling and was completed in 1505.

i kept having these weird feelings like i was in a dream. it’s hard for mind to conceptualize standing on the great wall of china because i never really thought it existed in reality, let alone i would get to visit it.


IMG_0084some of the steps are very little and most all are uneven but you can see how steep it is!

IMG_0082other parts of the wall have MASSIVE steps that were basically a lunge to get up them. i hope you like my sexy foot attire with exposed ankles!

teh great wall of china stepsdo you think we participated in PDA on the great wall of china? you better believe it!

IMG_0091the rain slowly started to let up which allowed us to see more and it was quite beautiful as the leaves were changes across the valleys too!

IMG_0077some parts of the wall got so steep that i had to cling to the railing for dear life. you could get seriously injured if you lost your footing. you can’t really tell in this photo but eventually i was bent almost backwards at a 90 degree angle because of the steepness. this was definitely my work out for week (no really, my only workout since we’ve been here).

the great wall of china steepness chelseasome people were crazy and thought it would be a better idea just to run down the steep hill…this made me very nervous because i just kept picturing them face planting. you can also see it start filling up with many more people.

the great wall running downas we do in all countries we visit, we bring our italian flag which reads “peace” and are currently on the hunt for a picture frame to put this photo in! we did this in malaysia and thailand just two months ago!

the great wall of china peace flag!chelsea avery great wall of china peopleafter we made it to the 8th tower, we decided we wanted to try to make it for a quick tour through the ‘forbidden city’ before my husband gave a speech that evening. it took about 1.5 hours to climb this far and we noticed some sliding cars on our climb up. mostly older adults and young children were using them but when on the great wall and you want to get down in a matter for 5 minutes…pay $13 each and slide down!

the great wall of china slide downthat old man was yelling at me to stop taking pictures and get in line already, jeeeeeeez i’m car number 4 not 7!

it was hilarious and totally worth it. if only the people who built this could see the great wall of china now!

IMG_0101i took some video of this but unfortunately youtube is blocked here so you must patiently wait until i return to the united states to share!

**there is also an option to pay about the same price to be brought to a higher point on the wall in cable cars if you can’t or don’t want to climb up and down the wall.

i couldn’t tell if we got to see this because we used the slide to get down but my husband said hey babe, look at this:

the great wall of china bearsi literally shrieked because i had NO idea that i was so close to bears as i was trying to recover from the almost-roller-coaster-like ride down the mountains (i hate roller coasters). there were at least 20 different bears in random enclosures as we exited this part. oh china!

great wall of china filling up

i highly highly recommend visiting the great wall of china if you ever have the opportunity (or create the opportunity!).


-arrive early to have a more peaceful and less crowded experience

-carry water and snacks with you because you will exert lots of energy

-use the bathroom before you start your trek up

-pay attention to the time because it does take quite a while to get up and back and you don’t want to miss your bus

-visit the great wall on a weekday and not close to chinese holidays because many people will be there

-stretch after you get done because my calves hurt for 2 days after this!

we visitied quingdao, a coastal city this weekend for district 85’s conference where my husband rocked his keynotes and i gave my first workshop in china! more on that soon and now we are in shanghai for a few days! happy monday!

ps. as a reminder, we cannot access facebook or twitter from here so it would be very helpful and mean a lot if you could help share this article on tips for visiting the great wall of china!


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  3. Courtney!

    December 11, 2014 at 9:42 am

    Great advice! The Great Wall is definitely on my bucket list. The photo of you two kissing is adorable. I’d definitely frame that one! I laughed out loud over those bears. What a strange thing to have!
    Courtney! recently posted…#TBT Travel: Hawaii (August 2014) Part I

    • chelsea

      December 11, 2014 at 3:49 pm

      thanks for checking it out, courtney! so glad to hear it’s on your bucket list because the great wall is truly spectacular! good thing i warned you about those bears because SO weird!

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