If camping overnight on one of the coolest World Wonders isn't on your bucketlist, it totally needs to be — all ILP China volunteers absolutely should look into doing this.
If simply going to the Great Wall of China and taking some great pictures isn't enough for you, camping overnight might be the adventure you're looking for! You'll be able to soak up so much of the sites than if you were to just visit for a couple of hours. When you're actually living in China for a semester, you'll be able to plan out time to visit Beijing and cross this off your bucketlist
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Seriously, this experience is usually a highlight of any Beijing trip and ILP China trip because it's unreal. Think about it — actually camping on the Great Wall of China! Here's what one volunteer had to say about it: "This experience was without a doubt the highlight of China for me (besides my kids, of course). DO IT DO IT DO IT!
"The hike was a little difficult, but your guide will go as slowly as you need. The Great Wall is absolutely incredible, and this is the most perfect way to see it, in my opinion. The stars were to die for and we woke up to watch an incredibly beautiful sunrise. We even made it all the way to the unrestored part of the Wall. I can't imagine having gone to Beijing and not doing this."
Alright, now onto the details:
Can I Do It On My Own?
Nope — it's against ILP policy to go camping without a guide while you're on a semester with us, and it's also illegal to camp on the Great Wall without a guide, according to the Chinese government. Plus, you'd need to track down all of your gear, plan for food, and figure out a way to actually get up on the wall ... Yikes.
It's a good thing it's not an option to do it yourself because there are awesome tour companies who figure it all out for you.
Who Should I Go With?
There are many tours out there that will help you camp on the Great Wall. Make sure you do your research though; look for groups that will pick you up in Beijing, arrange transportation to the wall, supply you with the gear you need (water, food, hiking backpacks, sleeping bag, flashlights, etc).
In the past, volunteers have had awesome adventures with China Travellers, and even have a favorite guide, Kellie. She's living in Beijing and has some awesome Instagram posts — check her out at @kel_koo.
Another ILP volunteer went with China Travellers and got the chance to have lunch at a local farmer's home ("the best food I've had in China") before hiking up to the wall. Then, after the sunrise and a morning hike on the Wall, her ILP group had breakfast at the same home. Fun!
How Much Will It Cost?
The prices vary on who you decide to book with but China Travellers' tour will cost you around $160 (but they do offer a student discount) and that will include your transportation, food, water, flashlights, English tour guide and all your camping gear. Make sure you know what your tour includes and be prepared.
Don't miss this once in a life time opportunity to do something amazing! I mean...think about the bragging rights you will have when you get home! You can also check out these Great Wall tips for more info on this can't-miss adventure.
Do you want to learn how you can serve abroad with ILP (International Language Programs) in China? (Yes, yes you do!) We'll make this easy, just click below: