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December 4, 2019
Of course, the top thing on my list when I started planning my trip to Beijing was to climb The Great Wall of China. As usual, I just planned my trip around a flight deal I found, so I’m glad it just happened to be Beijing, which is close enough to The Great Wall. During my planning, I came across Viator. I knew I wanted to book a tour for this part of the trip after past experiences with tour guides – I always learn so much! And The Great Wall is something that is certainly full of history. Anyway, I found this tour company through a Beijing info app I downloaded.
Turns out, Viator is actually owned by TripAdvisor, so I knew it was definitely legit. There were tons of options, and we went with a private tour (including transportation and lunch, score!) for The Great Wall (Mutianyu) and Summer Palace. This was the third or fourth tour website I looked at and it was by far the most affordable, and it had the most options. The experience was exceptional – I will definitely be using Viator again for future trips!
The Great Wall is about an hour and a half away from Beijing. But get this, it’s still technically in Beijing. Talk about a huge city! To be fair, we did go during rush hour, but the wall is about 75km away from the center of Beijing (which is The Forbidden City – they use this as the starting point for any distance measurements in Beijing!). Like I said, our tour was wonderful and I can’t say enough great things about our tour guide, Lena. She was so knowledgeable and we learned so much about Beijing, both the history of the city as well as current laws and way of life.
When you get to the wall, you have two options: you can take a cable car both up and down, or you can take a chairlift up and a slide down. I 100% wanted to do the slide!! So bad! But my mom wanted to do the cable car, so we went with that. We actually ended up in the same cable car that Bill Clinton sat in when he visited The Great Wall during his presidency!
Besides the rich history, my favorite thing about the wall was of course the view. It was a pretty clear day (especially for Beijing!), so the view was awesome. The grass wasn’t quite green yet, but there were a few spots with pretty flowers and trees. There is this one tree there that is decorated with red ribbons and gold charms and stuff. Our tour guide said it’s for good luck!
We were there in April, so the weather was perfect. I was excited to go with a casual outdoorsy look. I rarely wear these shoes and wear the jacket even more rarely! The outfit was perfect though because I had secure shoes, and I wasn’t too cold. When I was researching ahead of the trip, it looked like it might be a little chilly at The Great Wall, but it was actually hotter up there than it was in the city! I ended up taking my jacket off. I also probably worked up a sweat from so much walking too!
I’m so glad I got to have this special experience with my mom. It was so cool to explore China with her, and she had so many great questions for the tour guide, which really kept things interesting. We had an amazing time and I can’t wait to share more! Thanks for coming with me mom, I love you! Isn’t she such a cutie?! We forgot to take photos together when we were there. Oops!