Make sure you have the right things in your backpack before visiting the Great Wall!
Pst: You might want to check out this China Destination Guide to help you plan the rest of your time in Beijing.
Visiting the Great Wall of China is a must-do. There are tons of ways to experience this world wonder (We're big fans of camping on the Great Wall) but no matter what your visit looks like, you'll need a good backpack, packed with the right kind of supplies to make your trip a success.
There are lots of tips for visiting the Great Wall (like how to get there, the best ways to get down and how you can run the Great Wall marathon), but none of those tips will be useful if you don't properly prepare your backpack for the journey.
What to bring to the Great Wall of China
- Lots of water
- Bug spray
- Travel first aid kit
- Toilet paper/hand sanitizer
Lots of water
You're gonna need lots of water so you don't get dehydrated on the Great Wall. Bring a good water bottle that will keep your water cool and at least 40 ounces. It's so important to stay hydrated while your hiking, especially if you go during the hot seasons.
The Wall is not flat by any means. There's portions with steep, steep stairs and rolling hills. Exploring it will get your heart pumping a bit, and you'll want to stay hydrated.
There's some restaurants outside of the Wall but nothing really while you're walking along it, so you will need to stock up on some snacks to bring along with you. Don't bring anything that can melt or get ruined if it gets too warm. Bring things like granola bars, Cliff bars or anything that will sit in your stomach longer. Oh, and remember to take your trash with you (now is not the time to litter).
You will be out in the sun for a really long time, so protect yourself! Even if you go during colder months, make sure you put some on your face and anything that isn't covered. Just because it's not hot doesn't mean you can't get burned.
Again, you're gonna be outside all day long. There is no point in coming home with unwanted souvenirs on your skin. Bring a travel size bottle and plan on sharing with your ILP group.
Bring a light weight poncho that can fold up nice and neat in your pack. If you get caught in a rain storm, you'll be so happy you have it to not only protect you, but to cover your back pack as well! You can also bring a small umbrella that folds up and will easily fit inside your backpack.
Again, you'll be in the sun all day. Bringing them will protect you from the sun and keep you much cooler. There isn't much shade on the wall, and you'll want your sunglasses to help protect your eyes; in the winter, the sun reflects off the snow, and in the summer, the sun can be blinding.
It's always a good idea to have cash (just not too much) on you at all times, especially in a foreign country. In certain sections of the Great Wall, you'll find vendors selling drinks, snacks, candy, even ice cream. If you'll be going to a more restored version of the wall, you'll want cash in case you want a bit of snack.
Travel-sized first aid kit
It's never not a good idea to have a little first aid kit on you (it's even just a good idea to have it while volunteering with ILP). You never know if you're going to get a blister and need a bandaid. Best to be prepared so you can enjoy your time with this World Wonder.
I mean, hello, you're on the Great Wall of China. What better Instagram photos are you gonna get (oh BTW...go ahead and follow the ILP Instagram to see all the current ILP China volunteers' adventures)? It doesn't matter what kind of camera you have, just bring it.
Toilet paper/hand sanitizer
Traveling in China, you'll quickly learn to always have these two things on you. They do not provide toilet paper (and sometimes sinks) in their public restrooms. The Great Wall is no different, so make sure you have them handy.
Riding elephants in China, visiting the Shanghai Wild Animal Park, volunteering with Pandas -- that's just a few things off the top of my head you could be doing if you decide to volunteer with the International Language Programs in China! Ready to start that application? Click below.