Badaling and China’s Great Wall Museum
The section of the Great Wall at Badaling is beautifully restored. Dating back to the Ming Dynasty, this part is easy to reach from Beijing as it’s just 70 kilometres from the centre of the Chinese capital. A drawback of the location near Beijing is that it can be quite busy with visitors, but if you have enough stamina, just keep walking east or west until it becomes less crowded. In Badaling you’ll also find China’s Great Wall Museum, focused on the construction of the Great Wall and the history of the dynasties.
An authentic wall segment at Jinshanling
One of the most unspoilt parts of the Great Wall is located near the village of Jinshanling, 125 kilometres northeast of Beijing. Over a trajectory of 10 kilometres, many original features can still be admired. As it has been decided to keep this segment in its original condition, you may have to do some climbing. It is also possible to stay the night in the village, which hosts the Chinese Wall Marathon in May every year.
Wall by the sea
The Great Wall meets the Bohai Gulf, in the northern part of the East China Sea, at Shanhaiguan. Some 300 kilometres from Beijing, this beautiful spot can easily be reached by express train, which takes around 2.5 hours. This part of the Great Wall was built during the Ming dynasty and stretches out some 20 metres into the sea. To the locals it looked like a dragon drinking from the water, hence the name Laolongtou – old dragon’s head.