When I booked my flight to Bali I was super excited to have a 12 hour layover in Beijing, especially because you don’t need a permit to leave the airport if your stay is less than 144 hours. If you are curious as to how to obtain your permit, check out my blog post here! After visiting the wall first hand, here are my top 9 tips for visiting the Great Wall of China.
Top 9 Tips for Visiting the Great Wall of China
- Get there as early as possible! I booked a tour with China Tours Net so we were out of the airport by 7:30 AM and arrived to the wall around 8:30 AM. The Mutianyu portion of the wall opens at 8:00 AM and it was tourist free for the most part! China Tours also has a VIP pass so that you don’t have to take a shuttle bus up to the wall. SCORE! After spending a little over an hour at the wall that’s when I noticed the tourists start to pile in!
- Do pay the extra $19 USD to ride the cable car up and toboggan down! It made is so much more fun!
- BRING CASH! There are no cards accepted. The entrance fee is included if you book a tour with China Tours but in order to pay for the cable car and toboggan only cash is accepted. You also may want to buy souvenirs or food at the bottom of the hill.
- Bring toilet paper! Luckily my guide had extra but there is no TP in the restrooms.
- If you aren’t sure the local currency download the app Currency Foreign Exchange Rate. I got ripped off on a cab on my first layover in Beijing, so this app is great at knowing the currency exchange.
- Check the weather and dress appropriately! China Tours provided us with giant Olympic sized coats for my visit in November! But the wall can be pretty chilly from October-April.
- Wear comfy shoes! You will do a lot of walking up and down stairs. Definitely don’t wear heels.
- Be careful if you’re flying your drone! I attempted to fly mine – it wasn’t very windy but I was getting all sorts of warnings.
- Have all of your camera gear charged up! I was glad that I brought my Go Pro Hero 6 to use while tobogganing down the wall!
I hope you have a great time at the Great Wall of China! If you’re on a layover be sure to check out my rules for obtaining a Visa-Free permit here!