It’s not difficult getting a trip to the Great Wall of China, you get loads offered daily, but most cost within the region of 200+ yen, That’s an absolute scandal by all accounts and if there is one way to make sure you get the best deal it’s to do what the locals do. And the locals get the bus. So after a bit of messing about and research we found out where to get the bus. It cost 12yen each way and takes about an hour or so. Not long out of Beijing and the bus starts winding up through the mountains and it’s not long before you get a glimpse of a part of the wall.
Funnily you pass all the coaches crammed full of tourists with the bus driver smiling gleefully knowing full well he has well and truly ripped off each passenger by astronomical amounts.

Anyway, upon arrival at Badaling (which supposedly is the best place to see the wall from Beijing) you are kicked off quite unceremoniously about ½ km from the entrance – Which is literally a road full of tourists. There was the usual touts selling everything from dodgy looking ice pops to pretty much everything in existence. But in China the touts are not like places like Egypt where they just goad you and pester you constantly. Usually all it takes is a simple “No thank you” and they disappear to try and peddle their business elsewhere. But some do try it on; I had told both kids that if anyone offers them anything they are not to take it. And so far they haven’t.

It cost 60yen to go on the wall and words cannot really describe the amazing site it is. Whereas the Grand Canyon leaves you breathless, the Great Wall of China not only leaves you breathless but it gives you a few kidney punches and forces your jaw to the floor. It truly is an amazing place.

The kids were mesmerized, on the bus I had explained the history behind it (ok I made most of it up since I have no real idea about it) but they loved it. Not just the beauty of it but how high it was, how steep it was. How steep! I had no idea that it was such a grueling walk. I had heard that it took someone 2 years to walk the full length but I assumed that he was stopping for a beer every few km’s. I will buy the man a few beers, anyone who can walk the full length is a great individual – we were absolutely knackered after 5 minutes. That said we did manage to walk to the highest point and we were absolutely suited!…Until of course we saw that there was a higher part in the distance. We didn’t go further, we decided to walk back down since the heat and gradient had taken its toll.

Again we were completely mobbed at the wall and the kids had plenty more poses to pull.

On the way home on the bus we were all tired and falling asleep, I asked the kids if they had enjoyed the day and Abi said “It’s been ace” and Charlie assured me that he enjoyed it so much that when he grows up he will return and trek the full distance. I hope he sees it through and if he does decide to do it who knows – Maybe ill join him (but we will be stopping for a few beers every few km)


Just a dad trying to live the dream with my kids.

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