Airport to Great Wall, how to get there?


Getting from airport to Great Wall straightly is a memorable journey if you have more than 6 hours stop over in Beijing. On a 72 hour Beijing visa free stopover, you are allowed to reach Great Wall from the airport by using taxis, private car / van. As there’s no direct bus service from airport to Great Wall, The best way to visit Great Wall from the airport is to book a private car tour. It is a quicker, convenient and cheap way to travel to Great Wall from the airport.

What is the closest airport to visit the Great Wall of China?

Most of the popular sections of the Great Wall are located around Beijing. That being so, Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) is the closest airport to visit the Great Wall of China. If you’re flying in from anywhere in the wrold or in China, chances are you’ll come through here.

Which section of the Great Wall should I visit from the airport?

Visiting Mutianyu- the closest part to the airport (PEK) is highly recommended if you have 6 -14 hour stop over in Beijing. It should take no more than 1 hour 20 minutes to get there each way. You can do Mutianyu Great Wall either independently -getting a cab from the airport to Great Wall. It should cost around between RMB 600-800. Be aware most cab drivers in Beijing speak very little English. Or alternatively, you can pre-book private car tour to Mutianyu through travel agents or specialist tour operators.



At Mutianyu, you do have to be prepared to walk on some fairly rough and demanding terrain for about half hour, though most part of Wall is quite flat. Having some good footwear is a good idea before you go. Using cable car/chair lift can help you avoid the initial climb up. You may want to entertain yourself by riding toboggan down. The toboggan is a favorite among kids and it’s very safe to use.

Engaging in advance a car company to meet-and-greet is a good idea. Your driver will take you out to Mutianyu directly and back. You have time to visit, and have driver wait, then return you to the airport by certain time to catch your next flight.

If your outbound flight is international and your main bags are already checked through, then you’ll need to be back at the terminal about 1.5 -2 hours before your departure, in order to have time to deal with immigration and security, and get your boarding pass for your next flight.

The distance between the Beijing airport to the Great Wall

Beijing airport (about 66 km) Mutianyu Great Wall, 1.5 hours by road;
Beijing airport (about 68 km) Juyongguan Great Wall, 1.5 hours by road;
Beijing airport (about 78 km) Badaling Great Wall, 1.5 hours by road;
Beijing airport (about 90 km) Jiankou Great Wall, 2 hours by road;
Beijing airport (about 77 km) Huanghuacheng Great Wall, 2 hours by road;
Beijing airport (about 144 km) Jinshanling Great Wall, 2.5 hours by road;
Beijing airport (about 139 km) Gubeikou Great Wall, 2.5 hours by road;
Beijing airport (about 139 km) Simatai Great Wall, 2.5 hours by road.

2014 first experience on Mutianyu bus 867

We decided to check out the Mutianyu after we heard Mutianyu bus 867 service would reopen in later March of this year. There are a couple of big advantages to visiting Mutianyu Great Wall. It is easily accessible as a day trip from Beijing and it’s much more enjoyable to walk than Badaling.



We arrived at bus station at 8.10am on March 26th, and waited until 9.10am then the bus left Dongzhimen. The 53 seat bus was comfortable and wasn’t full. There were more than 10 stops along the way including a stop at Hongluo temple, which is not far from the wall.



There is no need to worry about which stop to get off, it will be the last one. We were dropped off at Mutianyu No 4. parking lot at 11.55am. The ride was long – nearly 3 hours. After riding chair lift, we walked up to tower 10, then got off the wall by chair lift again as there was a long queue at toboggan station, and back to No,4 parking less than 1.5 hours.



The 867 bus picked us up at the exact same spot as it had left us off. The bus left promptly at 2pm, and dropped me off at Sanyuanqiao at 4.10pm. All in all, we had a very short stay at Mutainyu.



It would have been better if we had taken the one departed at 7am from Dongzhimen or waited for the later one departed at 4pm from Mutianyu. Simply put, if you have full day and you are little bit adventurous, you can try it. If you have short time to Mutianyu (half day), a private car tour could be a better option.


Bus departure times: from Dongzhimen to Muianyu: departs daily at 7am and 8.30am. From Mutianyu to Dongzhimen: departs daily at 2pm and 4pm.

2014 China holiday dates

There are  7 main holidays in a year, including New Year’s Day, Spring Festival (Chinese new year), Weeping graveyard Festival (Qingming Festival), May Day, Dragon Boat Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day. Public Holiday Calendar below gives detailed information of 2012 China holidays dates.

2014 China holiday dates

Weekday Date Holiday name Holiday type
Wednesday Jan 1 New Year’s Day National holiday
Thursday Jan 30 Spring Festival Eve Observance
Friday Jan 31 Chinese New Year National holiday
Saturday Feb 1 Spring Festival Golden Week holiday National holiday
Sunday Feb 2 Spring Festival Golden Week holiday Common Local holidays
Monday Feb 3 Spring Festival Golden Week holiday Common Local holidays
Tuesday Feb 4 Spring Festival Golden Week holiday Common Local holidays
Wednesday Feb 5 Spring Festival Golden Week holiday Common Local holidays
Thursday Feb 6 Spring Festival Golden Week holiday Common Local holidays
Friday Feb 14 Lantern Festival Observance
Sunday Mar 2 Zhonghe Festival Observance
Saturday Mar 8 International Women’s Day Observance
Wednesday Mar 12 Arbor Day Observance
Thursday Mar 20 March equinox Season
Saturday Apr 5 Qing Ming Jie National holiday
Sunday Apr 6 Qing Ming Jie holiday National holiday
Monday Apr 7 Qing Ming Jie holiday National holiday
Thursday May 1 Labour Day National holiday
Friday May 2 Labour Day Holiday National holiday
Saturday May 3 Labour Day Holiday National holiday
Sunday May 4 Youth Day Observance
Saturday May 31 Dragon Boat Festival holiday National holiday
Sunday Jun 1 Children’s Day Observance
Sunday Jun 1 Dragon Boat Festival holiday National holiday
Monday Jun 2 Dragon Boat Festival National holiday
Saturday Jun 21 June Solstice Season
Tuesday Jul 1 CPC Founding Day Observance
Friday Jul 11 Maritime Day Observance
Friday Aug 1 Army Day Observance
Saturday Aug 2 Double Seven Festival Observance
Sunday Aug 10 Spirit Festival Observance
Saturday Sep 6 Mid-Autumn Festival holiday National holiday
Sunday Sep 7 Mid-Autumn Festival holiday National holiday
Monday Sep 8 Mid-Autumn Festival National holiday
Wednesday Sep 10 Teachers’ Day Observance
Tuesday Sep 23 September equinox Season
Tuesday Sep 30 Special Working Day Weekend
Wednesday Oct 1 National Day National holiday
Thursday Oct 2 National Day Golden Week holiday National holiday
Thursday Oct 2 Double Ninth Festival Observance
Friday Oct 3 National Day Golden Week holiday National holiday
Saturday Oct 4 National Day Golden Week holiday Common Local holidays
Sunday Oct 5 National Day Golden Week holiday Common Local holidays
Monday Oct 6 National Day Golden Week holiday Common Local holidays
Tuesday Oct 7 National Day Golden Week holiday Common Local holidays
Wednesday Oct 8 Special Working Day Weekend
Thursday Oct 9 Special Working Day Weekend
Friday Oct 10 Special Working Day Weekend
Saturday Oct 11 Special Working Day Weekend
Sunday Oct 12 Special Working Day Weekend
Saturday Nov 8 Journalists’ Day Observance
Sunday Dec 21 December Solstice Season
Thursday Dec 25 Christmas Day Observance


As many suggested that golden week could be the worst time to visit China. Millions of visitors arrived in the capital city over the National Day “Golden Week” holidays. Hundreds of millions of tourists crowds into Badaling Great Wall, Tian’anmen Square and other tourism destinations in Beijing.

Simatai reopening–2014 experience report

View from the distance, you could see Simatai Great Wall and the water town.


Feb 4, 2014 Update: according to Gubei water town Co., Ltd, Simatai Great Wall opens daily between 9.00 – 16.30, (How long Simatai Great Wall stay open for is still not clear.) Visitors are allowed to walk through East 1st tower to East 10th tower. Admission fee: 40RMB p.p, Gubei water town: 80RMB p.p.

Simatai Great Wall ticket reservation must be made at least one day in advance. (You can call 010-8100 9999 to reserve your tickets in theory, but I am not sure the staff can speak English or not).



Last year, I went to Simatai around Beijing to check the construction site of Gubei water town under neath Simatai Great Wall. Simatai has been closed for developing the nearby Water Town tourist attraction since 2010. The re- opening date is not clear.

This year I decided to check out Simatai again. The main reason for this is because we want to check out the exact date of reopening of Simatai, and Simatai is also one of my favorite sections of the Wall around Beijing, it’s worth visiting again.


View from the bridge, Simatai Great Wall is in the distance.

Navine and I left for Simatai at 8am, on Sunday, 29th, Dec, 2013. The road to Simatai was clear early in the morning, which made the driving a lot pleasant. Even when going through the toll gate near Simatai, I could see that there were significantly change going on the road than I saw last year.


Cross the bridge, you will enter into the water town.


By the time we arrived at Simatai, it was around 10.30am. We went on a weekend, so I had thought there would be as many people. In fact I was wrong, we only saw several security guards and workers at the newly constructed parking lot.

The security guard claimed that Simatai is still closed and will officially reopen on May 1, 2014. In other words, we were not able to enter Simatai Great Wall today. The good news was that it’s possible to walk around Gubei water town, so we decided to spend most of the morning in the water town area, check out the interesting buildings.


Navine with the security guard. You can see the road is much better than last year.

Gubei water town is not a real historical Chinese town, it’s a upgraded version of Wuzhen water town in Zhejiang province. It was also designed and presided over by Wuzhen water town developer.



The town is made up of several separate areas: the tourist area, five star hotel area, club area. There would be various western restaurants and pubs here, including a Peking duck restaurant that was confirmed by the security guard. You can chose to stay overnight in one of the many hotels and hostels there. In summer, you could take a trip in a boat round the water town. I guess the town would be very commercial in the future.





At about 12am, we walked back cross the bridge and met the young security guard again. He was very nice and told us that Ice lantern festival would be held at Simatai water town in January, 2014. He suggested us to come back again during the festival if we got a chance. We thanked him and said goodbye to him then drove back to Beijing.

The afternoon was spent on Haidilao hot pot restaurant in Beijing where we had a yummy lunch. Haidilao is a very popular restaurant and famous for its hospitality and authentic Sichuan cuisine. The food was great and the service was really attentive. We paid 285RMB for the meal, while not super cheap, still within reason.




8 Quick Facts about Huanghuacheng Great Wall

Huanghuacheng is largely restored, remote but more easily accessible. Hiking from Huanghuacheng to Xishuiyu is simply an ideal day trip or weekend excursion. It is an awesome place where you’ll experience uncrowded adventurous hike and the power of nature. Below are 8 quick facts about amazing Huanghuacheng Great Wall.


1.) The Wall is named, Hang Hua Cheng, or “ the Yellow Flower City” and it’s located 65 km North of Beijing.


2.)  Huanghuacheng Great Wall was built in 1404 during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).


3.) Huanghuacheng is about 10.8 km (6.7 miles) long and combine with a summer resort, mountains and lakes.


4.) Huanghuacheng is called “water Great Wall” as it’s divided into three sections by water, and part of the Wall is underneath the Wall. 


5.) Huanghuachneng is ruined, wild, and part of it is restored to some degree.


6.) When summer comes, the yellow flowers are in full blossom and cover the whole mountains and villages, it’s very beautiful and pleasing.


7.) Hiking the Great Wall from Huanghuacheng to Zhuangdaokou or Xishuiyu requires 3- 5  leisurely hours.


8.) The difficulty of Huanghuacheng hike is moderate, but always safe. It’s an ideal place if you like beautiful scenery, mountains, lakes and peacefulness of it. You could easily spend whole day here.