Located approximately 80 kilometers from the northwestern side of Beijing, is the Huanghuacheng Great Wall. This section of the wall is more ruined, less developed and less known in comparison to the Great Wall sections like Badaling and Mutianyu. However, the Huanghuacheng, the Lakeside Great Wall, or Yellow Flower City still has unique attractions that make it the hiker’s and tourists favorite spot. These include a picturesque scenery characterized by a clear lake, a mountainous terrain full of lush plants, yellow flowers, and animals. The Beautiful views and many photo opportunities make this a place to never forget. If you only have time to do one section of the wall, skip Badaling and come to Huanghuacheng for a day-trip visit.
History of the wall
Before the construction of the Wall, Huanghuacheng had many scattered villages. However, during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the emperor ordered General Cai Kai to spearhead the building of the wall. The primary purpose of the wall was to enhance the defense of Beijing’s northern border as well as protect the graves or the Ming Tombs. The construction of the wall took over a hundred years, and when the General went to inform Emperor Wanji of the completion, the Emperor killed him instantly. Apparently, some of the emperor’s ministers were envious of General Cai Kai’s accomplishment and lied to the emperor that the General, had not only done a shoddy construction work but had spent a lot of money too.
Later on, however, the Emperor realized his ministers deceived him and that the General had indeed constructed a solid wall that exhibited one of the best workmanships ever. Unfortunately by that time the General was already dead. The emperor ordered workers to build a tomb and memorial stele in remembrance of the General. On the face of a large rock, the emperor wrote the words “Jin Tang,” which means “Solid and Firm,” to describe the wall. Hence, the reason why people also refer to the Huanghuacheng Great Wall as Jintang Great Wall.
Attractions of the Huanghuacheng Great Wall
The Huanghuacheng 11 kilometers long stretch comprises of five terraces, six forts, 32 watch towers and twelve beacon-towers as well as many exciting features guaranteed to make your trip pleasurable. These include;
A challenging pristine hiking landscape
A great section of the Huanghuacheng Great Wall is unrepaired and still unrestored. It, therefore, has it original structure, which includes very steep climbing stairs. Despite the absence of smooth walking paths, many hikers find the rough mountainous terrain a perfect opportunity to take on the thrilling challenge of ascending the rugged steps. Besides, the pleasant view of the landscape from the mountain top is worth the uphill climb. If you enjoy challenging hiking expeditions, you will without a doubt have the time of your life.
The wall offers many scenic features. For starters, it is surrounded by mountains blossoming with beautiful vegetation. In summer for instance when the plants bloom, the entire landscape becomes embellished in a beautiful sea of yellow wildflowers. At the mountain foot, there is also a magnificent chestnut garden, which was planted by the Ming Dynasty soldiers. Furthermore, there is a cold and clear lake that receives its waters from nearby springs. Last but not least some parts of the Huanghuacheng wall are submerged in water, and divided by reservoirs. In fact, the Huanghuacheng wall is the only section of the Great wall that is underwater.
Since not many people visit the Huanghuacheng wall, it gives you a more private and personal experience. You do not have to push your way through crowds, shuffle to peep through the opaque bodies to catch a glimpse of the wall’s attractions or even struggle to follow the tour guide’s narration over the noisy crowd. You can easily combine Huanghuacheng with Ming Tomb.
Has the option of boat rides
You can also view the mountain without climbing the steep tedious steps, thanks to the water vessels conveniently available at the lake. Only go down the boardwalk located adjacent to the scenic area and you will come across a pier, from which you can access your cruise. The options include a yacht, sightseeing boat, Pedalo, or the Rowing Boat. If you don’t feel like to do hiking up to the top and down on foot, take a speedboat to the other side of the lake, which can cut a couple of km off the walk. It is a perfect way to appreciate the Huanghuacheng Great Wall.
How to Get to Huanghuacheng
You can get to the Huanghuacheng Great Wall from Downtown Beijing through several methods. The most common ones include;
· The Special Sightseeing bus
· The Public bus
· Private chauffeured transport hire
Hire a car and driver
While all of the modes of transport will get you to the scenic site, the private charter is the most convenient and comfortable of the three. In most cases the car picks you from your hotel or any location you prefer and ferries you to the wall.
If you decide to use the Public bus, board either bus number 916 or the 916Express at Dongzhimen. Make sure its destination is the Huairou Bus station. Once you get to Huairo, take the H21 bus that goes to the Small West Lake station. From the station, the scenic area is a few meters north.
Special Sightseeing Bus
The bus operates from during weekends and peak season travel holidays. The peak season lies between April to October. If you wish to visit the beautiful Huanghuacheng wall using the Special bus, you must first buy a combo ticket for the Huanghuacheng Great Wall as well as the round-trip bus rides from the Dongzhimen Public Transit Hub.
When is the best time to visit the Huanghuacheng Great Wall?
Check the Huanghuacheng weather forecast before you start your walk–if high winds, heavy rain/snow or low cloud is predicted then adjust your plan for another day. The best time to visit the Huanghuacheng is in summer or between April and October. During that period, the site operates from 8:30 am – 5:00 pm on weekdays. However, on weekends, which lie between May 1st to May 7th, and October 1st to 7th, the site opens from 8:00 am – 6:00 pm. From November to March it runs from 8:30 am – 16:30 pm. Whenever possible, avoid visiting on weekends or during public holidays. But, if that is the only time you have, ensure you leave very early at dawn so as to beat the heavy traffic.
Where to eat
The local restaurants below the Huanghuacheng Great Wall server traditional dishes.