Is visiting the Great Wall on your bucket list of things to do? Especially if you're headed to be living in China for a semester, it's gotta be! Here are the travel tips you need to know before heading to this incredible world wonder.
We love visiting China, but there's just so much to do in this country that we think that living there — for a whole semester abroad — will mean you can see WAY more than you could in just a short visit. Just think of it this way ... you'll be able to do some of the incredible things on Great Wall as an ILP volunteer than you could as just a tourist.
Pst: Wondering what life is like while teaching English in China with ILP? We're one step ahead of you with this free guide.
Here are all the travel tips you need before you see this place for yourself:
How To Plan A Trip:
The first thing you will want to do is research what part of the wall you want to go to. There are many sections, and some are more touristy than others. Many people visit the part of the wall that is closest to where they are staying. Here's the different parts you can visit and some tips for the Great Wall:
- Juyongguan (Closest to Beijing, most crowded and less interesting)
- Badaling (Close to Beijing, crowded)
- Mutianyu (Further from Beijing, less crowded and has gorgeous mountains)
- Jinshanling and Simatai (Furthest away, less reconstructed, not crowded)
The farther away from Beijing you travel, the less crowded and reconstructed the wall will be. If you are up for an adventure, go to the farthest part of the wall. Just a warning, you will be taking about a 3 hour journey to get there, but it will be totally worth it.
What To Do Going Down?
Now that you have researched all the areas, look at what fun thing your part of the Great Wall offers to get down. Walking down is boring, and after walking all that way up, can be tiring. Here are some of the things you might find:
- Taking a mile long ride in a toboggan
- Take the slide down
- Zip line over a huge river
- Hike down after you've camped overnight on the Great Wall of China!
Some Do's and Don'ts
To make the most of your Great Wall visit, here are some do's don'ts:
- Research before you go! Find the part of the wall that most interest you.
- Try to go during the spring and fall. Summers are fine as long as you don't mind some sweat.
- Try to book a van through your hostel to get you to the wall. Taking a bus can be time consuming and frustrating.
- Consider if you want a tour guide on the wall. You can get a van and tour guide for around $30 if you book through your hostel/hotel.
- Check the weather, and plan accordingly.
- Don't plan on spending any less than 2-3 hours at the wall. The more time, the better.
- Don't forget your water and sunscreen. You're in for a long hike!
- Don't visit on the weekends or holidays if you can help it ... The wall will be packed!
- Expect clear skies. China is known for their smog.
Need help packing for your 10 day vacation? Use these tips!
Thinking about taking pictures like this for yourself? Come spend semester volunteering abroad in China! International Language Programs (ILP for short) is a non-profit who sends college aged volunteers abroad to teach English here part time. You'll have lots of free time to explore your Chinese city, have weekends off to see other cities, plus vacation time to explore sites like the Great Wall of China or a vacation in Southern China. Plus, you'll be volunteering and traveling with an ILP group, so you're not alone!
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