The Great Wall of China in Badaling

By Marianne Schwab | Best Travel Deals Tips Blog

The Great Wall of China is a symbol of Chinese civilization and the Badaling section of the Great Wall is the most representative part of this Chinese Landmark.

When I was in China a couple of years ago, I was able to visit the Great Wall of China twice in two different sections. One trip was with Beijing Hikers to an unrestored area of the Great Wall where we had to get special permission from the Chinese government to visit that area. The other trip was to Badaling and one of the more popular sections visited by tourists. Badaling was built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and is the most well-preserved section of the Great Wall with an average altitude of 3,282 feet.

If you're visiting Beijing, the Badaling section of the Great Wall is located in Yanqing County and just a little over 40 miles north of the city.

I told my friend, Sara Pfau, whom I was visiting in China that I wanted one souvenir from China: A photo of me at the Great Wall. I think if you bring one photo home from a visit to the Far East, this is the money shot (above).

Be prepared for large crowds especially during peak holiday seasons. Also, understand that the Chinese are more used to large crowds and haven't mastered the art of "queing up" as they say in Britain and have a propensity to bunch up instead of line up.

I may be smiling in the photo above, but I was caught in a bottle neck of too many people making their way through a very narrow area. It was actually quite frightening and I understand how people can get crushed in a crowd.

Look closely at the photo above and you'll see that the walkway does not connect to the tower on the hill. A strange anomoly in this section of the Great Wall at Badaling.

The mountain slope is very steep and this feature made it a military stronghold. The Chinese describe the Badaling Great Wall to be like a strong dragon winding its way along the mountain ranges.

The photo above of me and one of my ex-pat hosts in China, Karl-Ulrich Pfau, shows how steep the walkway and stairs are. You do not walk on the Great Wall of China at Badaling, you climb it.

The weather changed dramatically from the time we arrived to the time we completed our Great Wall of China adventure. It started out relatively warm but as the day went on we climbed to higher elevations, the temperatures dropped and a light drizzle of rain started. Colorful umbrellas came out as the drizzle turned to showers and created a rainbow of color in the dreariness of the weather.

The Great Wall of China winds through the mountains of a beautiful countryside in Badaling.

When you get to the watch towers connecting the Great Wall of China, you can enjoy some beautiful views of the area. Don't forget to stop and enjoy a well deserved rest during your climb and capture the view with a photo.

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