June 17, 2017

The Great Wall – Just Do It

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Truly, I can’t even begin to give you any real advice on which section of the wall to go to – and especially which is the best. Having been on only two sections, don’t expect any clear cut info on exactly which part to visit. Let me just tell you what I discovered during my hours of research on the wall – skip it.

Seriously, the only thing you need to know is not to go to the most touristy section called Badaling. Other than that, just book it. For what I can possibly imagine as the best experience, make sure you visit a hostel that is able to book a tour for you to a more secluded section and just get on it.

If you’re staying at a popular backpacker hostel, this is pretty common, but should still be questioned for assurance. Also, if you’re really interested in the tour of a hostel, but not the rooms of that same one, don’t worry! Just because you’re not staying there, usually doesn’t mean they won’t be happy to take at least some of your money for their transportation.

Yes, of course if you’re an absolute budget traveler and feel complete confidence in getting there by yourself, and returning without a hitch, go for it! Just be careful of the scams that have happened to every single other foreigner I know that’s attempted to visit the wall without direct transportation. It goes a little something like this: A kind person will politely inform you that this is the bus stop you are supposed to get off at. By the time you realized that where you’re actually supposed to be is not for another thirty miles, the only transportation available will be conspiring cab drivers, waiting to take a ridiculous amount of money from you (around 400¥ or about $58) because you simply have no other choice.

Save yourself the possible (probable) trouble and dish out the $40-$60 for reliable and worry free transportation there and back. After all, this is one of the most spectacular sights of one of the largest countries in the world; if you’re not going to splurge on this, what else is worth it?

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