6 Books to Read Before Hiking the Great Wall of China

Find Out the 6 Books You Should Read Before Visiting the Great Wall

The Great Wall Of China by Leonard Everett Fisher

 

Get ready to go to the Great Wall in Beijing for the hike of your life with some great reading material. Whether you are interested in illustrated children’s books or highly detailed hiking guides for beginners—we have a book for you. Check out these six books you want to read before you take a hike on the Great Wall.

1. The Great Wall Of China by Leonard Everett Fisher

A children’s picture book, “The Great Wall of China” was published in 1995. However, it holds up to the best of time. Learn about the history of the Great Wall of China in this illustrated edition. Perfect for families bringing children to hike the Great Wall in Beijing.

2. The Great Wall: From Beginning to End by Michael Yamashita and William Lindsay

Follow the journey of National Geographic  photographer Michael Yamashita as he takes readers on a picturesque hike on the Great Wall in “The Great Wall: From Beginning to End.” Along with Great Wall tour guide William Lindsay, these two authors explore the complex history of the wall.

Meanwhile, Lindesay provides his verbal accounts of what he has witnessed while working on the Great Wall of China in Beijing. By the way, Lindesay has run the entire length of the wall as an activist in support of protecting this monumental feat of mankind for many more years to come.

Great_Wall_Cover

 

3. The Great Wall: The Extraordinary Story of China’s Wonder of the World by John Man

In The Great Wall: The Extraordinary Story of China’s Wonder of the World, readers are taken on a photographic journey. Gain an in-depth perspective of more than just the construction of the Great Wall. This nonfiction book explores the Chinese historical monument in the circumstance of Chinese history at the time.

4. Take a Hike! The Sierra Club Kid’s Guide by Lynne Foster

“Billed as the kid’s guide to hiking and backpacking, the famous Sierra Club published “Take a Hike! The Sierra Club Kid’s Guide” for the general public. Released in 1991, this book explores basic first aid on a kid-friendly level. Medical conditions and injuries like bee stings, blisters, and bugs are explored in this colorful camping children’s book. As you prepare your little ones for an experience of a lifetime at the Great Wall of China, give them this go-to guide for helpful hiking advice.

books to read hiking the Wall

 

5. Dayhiker: Walking for Fitness, Fun, and Adventure by Robert S. Wood

Dayhiker: Walking for Fitness, Fun, and Adventure was published in 1991 by the author of “The 2 Oz. Backpacker: A Problem Solving Manual for Use in the Wilds,” Robert S. Wood. The book teaches beginner hikers how to use a compass, handle first aid on the trail, read a geological map, and other helpful tips. A valuable source of hiking information that is well received by any Great Wall of China hikers.

6. Follow the Trail: A Young Person’s Guide to the Great Outdoors by Jessica Loy

Jessica Loy presented “Follow the Trail: A Young Person’s Guide to the Great Outdoors” in 2003. This youth-oriented nonfiction book teaches children how to spend time safely enjoying and appreciating the great outdoors. Taking a hands-on approach, the book shows kids how to recognize star constellations and teaches them games they can play while camping.

It also comes with campfire recipes, animal tracking advice, things to do on a rainy day, and how to set up camp. Perfect for readers in grades three to five who want something more in-depth and explanatory than illustrated or fiction books on the Great Wall of China.

follow the trail

 

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How to Enjoy Beijing During A 20 Hour Layover

Top Things to Do in Beijing in 20 Hour Layover

Woman sitting in airport and waiting for her flight, woman using phone in airport departure area

 

Beijing is full of delightful historical attractions, excellent food and lively entertainment spots to choose from. 20 hours may sound a little bit short to tour Beijing, but you can actually enjoy the best of Beijing if you know what to do.

Morning–Mutianyu Great Wall

No trip to Beijing, whether short or long, is complete without paying a visit the Great Wall of China. Mutianyu Great Wall is around 1.5 hours of driving from the airport by road. Regarded as one of the best examples of Ming Dynasty Great Wall, Mutianyu is fully restored with the convenient facilities including cable car, chairlift and toboggan.

Mutianyu Great Wall is open to visitors from 8am until 5pm between 16th March and 15th November, 8:30am until 4:30pm between 16th November and 15th March. To make sure you get to the Wall from the airport before it closes, early morning arrival at Beijing airport is highly recommended.

To really enjoy your trip, and to not be rushed,  2 -3 hours is comfortably sufficient to visit Mutianyu with plenty of relaxation, resting, picture taking along the way. You can climb atop the Tower 20 to enjoy a bird eye’s view of the Wall. The view is particularly breathtaking on a clear day.

Admissions are charged at 45RMB plus another 15RMB for the round trip of shuttle between Mutianyu parking lot and the entrance. Child pricing applies to children between 1.20 and 1.40 meters tall; children under 1.20 meters tall are allowed free entry.

How to Enjoy Beijing During A 20 Hour Layover

 

Noonish

If you get hungry after your tour of Mutianyu, you can have a good, fair priced meal nearby.  Check out the list below (in no particular order) for some good restaurants near Mutianyu.

  • Kao Shan Tun Northeast farm dish restaurant (20 minutes’ drive from Mutianyu ), Chinese restaurant, Food include Kung Pow Chicken, Sauteed Mushrooms , and Local Barbecue Fish. One of the few local restaurants open late. It’s around 50RMB per person without drink.
  • Xiaolongpu Restaurant (10 minutes’ drive from Mutianyu), dishes from around China, including Sichuan, Canton, Northeast, and even Beijing. A good place for a quick meal to or from Mutianyu.  It’s around 40RMB–50RMB per person without drink.
  • Fish Chef (15 minutes’ drive from Mutianyu)near Mutianyu Roundabout famous for the rainbow trout barbacue,  It’s around 50RMB per person without drink.
Chinese home made meal: Overhead flat lay. Four dishes, rice and decoration. Striped potatoes, Cucumber with garlic, fried green beans, fried pork with red onions

 

Afternoon–Forbidden City & Tiananmen Square

If you love exploring historical attractions, then the best place to start is the Forbidden City. It is perhaps the most famous museum in China, and only second to the Great Wall as a tourist destination.

For over 500 years, the Forbidden City have housed the Qing and Ming emperors up until 1911. The Forbidden City was opened for public visitation in 1925, and it was made a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 1987.

This massive museum spans an impressive 720,000 square meters and holds more than a million rare and valuable works of art. The Forbidden City is open everyday of the week except on Mondays. The timings run from 8:30am in the morning until 4:30pm in the afternoon. Admissions are charged at 60RMB in Summer, and 40RMB in winter.

South of Forbidden City is Tiananmen Square. It is one of the key landmarks for visitors en route to the Forbidden City. The sheer size and historical significance of Tiananmen Square make it a must see place for travelers around the world. If you are very much fond of history and have sufficient time, you can visit the national museum nearby.

Bronze lion at the Forbidden City,Beijing,Chinese cultural symbols

 

Early Evening–Nanluoguxiang or Wangfujing Street

Both Wangfujing Sanck street and Nanluoguxiang are popular areas for nightlife. On Wangfujing street, there are plenty of places to eat including the usual suspects like McDonald’s, KFC, Starbucks. You might want to try skewered scorpions, beetles, starfish, etc on Wangfujing Street.

There are numerous restaurants and shops scattered along Nanluoguxiang, and they range from the ones offering old and traditional stuff to the modern and contemporary ones.

If you feel like clubbing, hail a taxi and go to Sanlitun bar street–the city’s first bar community.  There are many American and European style bars in the area with live music and restaurants and coffee shops. It is a good place to end the night.

How to Enjoy Beijing During A 20 Hour Layover of Beijing

 

Final Thoughts

You can do a lot of exploring in Beijing in 20 hours. Once you have finished a day of sightseeing and a night on the town Beijing, you will be ready to go to the airport for your connecting flight! If you have an extra day, visit Jinshanling Great Wall.

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5 Tips for Introducing Your Kids to Hiking

Essential Tips to Make the Adventure Fun for the Whole Family

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Spending time in nature has many benefits, both physically and psychologically. Nature exposure has been linked with improved cognition and lower incidence of mood disorders. From a physical health standpoint, spending time outside on a regular basis results in lower inflammation, higher levels of Vitamin D, and a whole host of other benefits.

It’s no mystery that one of the best ways to give your child a leg-up in life is to introduce them to the joys of nature at an early age–and one of the best ways to do that is to take your child on a hike.

1) Don’t be overly ambitious–pick your hike carefully!

There’s plenty of great trails available for seasoned, grown-up hikers, but a trail that’s too difficult can sour your child’s first hiking experience. Pick a trail that’s short and easy enough to not overstretch your child’s abilities.

AllTrails is an excellent website and app that allows you to search and filter trails according to length and difficulty; it can help you find a trail suitable for children.

2) Pick a hike with a waterfall, river, or other attraction

A simple stroll through the woods may be pleasant for an adult but could be a little boring for a child. Trails with water attractions and other features will provide a more engaging hiking experience and make them eager to return or go on new adventures.

If you want your child to be excited about your next outing, bring them on trails that that feature waterfalls and other exciting features, such as rock scrambles, overlooks, and animal viewing points.

5 Tips for Introducing Your Kids to Hiking China

 

3) Pack plenty of water and snacks

If your kid gets hungry or thirsty on the trail, they’re not going to enjoy anything. In fact, they may equate such an uncomfortable experience with hiking and resist going on the trail with you in the future.

If you want to instill a lifelong love of outdoor adventure, see to their physical needs. Make sure you stay hydrated and bring plenty of healthy snacks.

4) Dress in layers

It’s equally important to make sure your child is appropriately dressed for the trail. Temperatures can change rapidly and rain can take you by surprise.

Take a look at the forecast before going. Make sure your child has the appropriate outerwear to protect against cold, sun, and rain.

5 Tips for Introducing Your Kids to Hiking China Beijing

 

5) Give yourself plenty of time

Be prepared to walk slower and take plenty of breaks. After all, you’re taking your child on a hike–not a forced march. Allowing them to walk at their own natural pace will ensure a much more enjoyable experience and make them eager to try it again.

Closing Thoughts

A love of nature and outdoor recreation is a wonderful gift you can give to your child. Many individuals who were exposed to nature at an early age carry this into adulthood, providing them with a wonderful source and recreation, enrichment, and grounding. It’s important to ensure that your child’s first hiking experience is a pleasant one.

5 Tips for Introducing Your Kids to Hiking Beijing

 

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5 Tips for Worry-Free Flying with Kids

Top Tips for Keeping Kids Happy on Board

Young mom, playing and breastfeeding her toddler boy on board of aircraft, going on holiday

 

Flying can be frustrating even in the best circumstances; add kids to the mix and you’re often in for an exhausting and exasperating trip. Fortunately, you can learn from the experiences of the thousands of weary parents who have come before you and make the best of flying with children. While no one can guarantee a smooth and silent flight, some smart planning, careful packing, and a positive attitude can help make your flight as pleasant as possible.

1. Pick The Right Time to Fly With Kids

For trips under two hours, the best time to fly is when your children are awake and cheerful. Depending on their age, this may be right after naptime, early in the morning, or in the early afternoon.

Your children should be able to get through a short trip with a minimum of misery, especially if you’ve provided enough snacks and activities to keep them happy (more on that later).

You’ll want your children to be at their most alert and agreeable for the flying experience, since even short flights with kids involve the hassle of going through security, waiting at the airport, and sitting still on the plane.

For longer trips with your children, consider choosing an overnight or “red-eye” flight. This is counterintuitive, but experienced parents will tell you that it works.

Try to pick a flight that takes off around their bedtime. Dress your kids in their pajamas, bring their favorite blanket, pillow, or stuffed animal, and encourage them to fall asleep as soon as the plane gets moving.

The sound of the airplane engine provides a surprisingly soothing white noise, and kids are usually able to drift off while seated. If you’re lucky, you might even get to sleep as well. And, when you arrive at your destination, your kids will be rested and ready to go.

2. Pack the Right Snacks for The Flight

No matter how you travel, savvy parents know that the right snacks can make all the difference in a child’s mood and attitude. When you’re flying, don’t depend on the airline to provide any snacks for your family. Instead, bring along small amounts of healthy, satisfying snacks that will keep your kids going strong.

Don’t fall into the easy trap of bringing sweet treats in an attempt to please or bribe your child. Any short term happiness will soon be eclipsed by your child’s stomach ache, cranky mood, and restlessness. Similarly, avoid chocolate, soda, or anything else with caffeine.

Even if you don’t expect to sleep on your flight, you don’t want your kids to be fidgeting or bursting with energy. Instead, choose snacks that are high in complex carbohydrates and proteins. Whole wheat crackers with nut butter are ideal, as are bananas, pretzels and hummus, and candy-free trail mix.

3. Keep Your Kids Entertained on the Plane

While many flights offer in-flight entertainment,  it is often unreliable, rarely child-friendly, and costs money.

Be prepared and make sure you bring your own entertainment to keep your kids quiet and happy. Exactly what you bring will depend on your child’s age, interests, and attention span, but a few general tips apply.

First, make sure you bring your own headphones. You can easily find cheap pairs for a couple of dollars, far less than the airline would charge you if you purchased them on the plane.

Headphones will allow you to enjoy your own entertainment without annoying your fellow passengers. And, if you are provided in-flight television or movies, you can often use your own headphones to enjoy them for free.

There’s more to entertainment than just staring at screens, of course, and even the most dedicated TV-watcher or gamer will need a break. Along with your headphones, smartphones, and tablets, be sure to bring more hands-on entertainment.

Coloring books and crayons, a mini-Lego set, or small puzzles all provide tactile entertainment without making a big mess. For older children, encourage them to take pictures throughout their travels and document their journey in a travel diary.

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4. Dress the Family for Comfort and Flexibility

No matter where you’re headed, make sure you dress your children in comfortable clothing that’s made for movement. For little kids, choose elastic-waist pants so they can quickly and easily use the restroom.

For everyone, dress in layers, starting with a soft light layer and working up to a warm hoodie or jacket. Even if you’re traveling to a hot climate in the summer, it can get very cold on the plane, and many airlines no longer provide blankets for overnight flights.

And here’s another clothing tip for flying with kids: whenever possible, dress them in very bright colors. There are few places more chaotic than the baggage claim and security line when you’re trying to keep track of your bags, paperwork, and kids all at the same time.

If your child is wearing a fluorescent orange or hot pink shirt, it’s that much easier to keep them in your line of sight at all times. Some families with multiple children even take it an extra step and dress all of them in the same bright color, which makes keeping track of a group even easier.

5. It’s All About the Attitude

Finally, be a role model for your children when you’re flying. They see and feel your own responses to stress and will react accordingly. It’s hard to keep calm when you’re rushing to the gate, and it’s easy to get grumpy or annoyed while flying, but your positive attitude can make all the difference.

Teach your children that flying is an opportunity that not every child gets and that they should be grateful for it. Explain that they should “expect the unexpected,” so they won’t be distraught if things don’t go exactly according to plan. And focus on the amazing aspects of flying that grownups often forget.

Talk about how fast your plane is going and how far up in the sky it is. Follow along on a map or look out your window and see the clouds below. With the right mindset, every flight is an adventure and an experience they’ll remember for a lifetime.

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Hiking the Great Wall – How to Choose the Right Hiking Socks

Best Socks For Great Wall Hiking Trips

Two pair of socks drying on a clothes line during an adventurous hike in the mountains.

 

A good pair of hiking socks can make all the difference between an enjoyable Great Wall hike and an uncomfortable one. The critical layer that separates your feet from the harsh, hot environment of your hiking boots should not be overlooked when hiking the Great Wall of China. Find out what the pros we recommend when it comes to choosing the right hiking socks.

Best Material

Slide over, cotton; synthetics stand up a lot longer to the rigors of the Great Wall of China. Socks made from Merino wool are highly prized in this foot fight. Merino wool is soft yet tough thanks to anti-bacterial, breathable fabric. However, you’ll pay the price for it.

So if you are searching for a more affordable option, or you want vegan hiking socks, consider synthetics. By the way, cotton does have its place when hiking the Great Wall; it’s just better for short day hikes where your feet have a rest after a while.

Silk is another material you will find when shopping for hiking socks. While the material is a natural insulator that is lightweight and wicking, it is not going to handle the rigors of the Great Wall.

legs of the traveler in hiking boots with trekking poles

 

Your best option is to choose hiking socks that are made from a combination of materials. This way you get the warmth of wool, the wicking of silk, and the affordability of cotton and synthetics.

Best Design

You might be a dedicated bootie sock wearer in your regular life. When it comes to hiking socks, though, you need a sock that will stay with you. Well, your ankles at least.

Choose ankle socks with enough grip to hold up when you are hiking. You also want thick enough socks to withstand the rubbing and chaffing that could potentially tear your feet to shreds. So long, but not too long, and thick, but not too thick. These are the ideal hiking socks for the Great Wall of China.

How to Choose the Right Hiking Socks beijing

 

Additional Features

Speaking of wicking, you want to find socks that will soak up sweat away from your feet. This helps prevent blisters and trench foot on those especially hot and humid hiking days along the Great Wall of China.

You also want to buy socks with some type of cooling technology. For instance, highly ventilated socks are designed with a variety of fibers to keep the air flowing and your feet dry.

Other features to consider are additional padding, but only if you account for how your boots will fit with this bulk. Flat seams, mosquito repellent, and antibacterial material will all serve you well as you venture out on the Great Wall of China during your next trip to Beijing, China.

Old boots,socks, photo camera and sunglasses on rustic table

 

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