The 8 Best Great Wall of China Tours of 2019

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The Rundown

01 of 08

Best Classic Great Wall Experience: Beijing Private Tour to Badaling Great Wall

Long Qing Gorge

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For a chance to visit the most iconic part of the Great Wall, book the “Beijing Private Tour to Badaling Great Wall.” This eight- to nine-hour tour starts with hotel pick up and narration on the way to the Badaling Great Wall – a popular part of the wall with incredible views. Plus, for an opportunity to reach the highest point for great photos a ride to the top in a cable car is included in the ticket.

Next, spend two hours exploring the wall before taking lunch at a local restaurant, right before enjoying a scenic cruise around Longqing Gorge, which is dotted with steep rocks and sublime cliff faces, before returning to your hotel.

02 of 08

Runner Up, Best Overall: VIP Beijing’s Forbidden City Tour

Forbidden City

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If you’re interested in visiting two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in one tour, consider the “VIP Beijing’s Forbidden City Tour,” which also includes a visit to the popular Badaling Great Wall ruins.

The tour includes early morning pick up at Beijing hotels in the Fourth Ring Circle Highway before making a pitstop at the Forbidden City. Here, you’ll take a guided tour of this imperial palace to view the Treasure Hall and the Clock Exhibition Hall, where more than 200 bejeweled, antique clocks from imperial China are on display.

Next, you’ll climb to the highest point, Jingshan Hill, to witness great views of the city and gardens, followed by a lunch break of authentic Peking duck. The tour concludes with independent exploration on the Great Wall before returning to the starting point.

03 of 08

Best Budget: Private Mutianyu Great Wall Tour

Great Wall of China

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For an affordable trip to a part of the Great Wall with independent hiking, consider the “Private Mutianyu Great Wall Tour.” The Mutianyu portion of the wall is located 40 miles north of Beijing and is a very well-preserved portion with breathtaking views. 

The five- to six-hour experience begins with hotel pick up by an English-speaking driver in a private vehicle. The trip also includes tickets to the wall and transportation back to the hotel, but approximately three hours of exploration at the wall is done independently without the driver, so you can experience the age-old wonder on your own terms. Other extras such as cable car, chairlift, or toboggan slide can be purchased separately.

04 of 08

Best Combo Trip: Private Tour Great Wall of China at Juyongguan

Juyongguan Pass

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Explore the Juyongguan Pass, one of the most famous parts of the Great Wall, on the “Private Tour Great Wall of China at Juyongguan,” and visit the legendary Ming Tombs for two top attractions in one tour. 

After being picked up from the hotel in Beijing, spend time hiking on a portion of the Great Wall that’s home to a city tower, a watchtower, and was once a meeting place for the emperor.

Following lunch at a local restaurant, the eight-hour tour continues down Spirit Way to the Ming Tombs to see the 36 stone statues of officials and animals that date back to the 15th century. You’ll also see Changling tomb, known as the largest and best-preserved of all the royal mausoleums, before returning to their hotel.

Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08

Best Challenging Day Hike: Private Great Wall Hiking Tour

Great Wall of China

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Those interested in experiencing the Great Wall away from the crowds should consider the “Private Great Wall Hiking Tour,” to explore the Great Wall of the Northern Qi Dynasty, an unrestored and far less populated part of the wall. 

The nine-hour tour begins with hotel pick up in Beijing for a two-hour drive along Jinhai Lake and Yangzhuang Reservoir. Then spend three to four hours hiking the Sanjiebei Wall up to the highest point along this stretch of the Great Wall – where you’ll find three province boundaries meet. The tour also includes a stop at a small mountain village for traditional homemade cuisine cooked by local chefs before returning to the hotel. The route is very scenic, however, the surfaces are uneven and can be challenging.

06 of 08

Best Multi-Day Adventure: 3 Day Private Hiking Adventure

Gubeikou

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If you’re an active traveler who wants to spend several days on a challenging hike along the Great Wall, consider the “Three-Day Private Hiking Adventure.” This tour includes round-trip hotel pick up in Beijing, plus accommodations in a guesthouse and a hotel near the wall when you finish hiking for the day.

You’ll spend four to 10 hours per day hiking between 1,640 and 2,625 feet up in the mountainous region And there’s no need to worry since a support vehicle and driver are always nearby in case issues arise.

The hikes cover the Gubeikou, Jinshanling and Simatai sections of the wall and are led by an expert English-speaking guide who provides commentary on the history and nature of the region. Coffee, tea, and authentic meals at various campsites or a local farmer’s home are also included.

07 of 08

Best Small Group: Full-Day Small-Group Great Wall Hike

Simatai

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About 70 miles north of Beijing lies the Simatai portion of the wall, a section that sees fewer crowds and has both restored areas and parts that haven’t been restored, so they still stand in all their ancient glory. The “Full-Day Small-Group Great Wall Hike: Simatai West to Jinshanling,” takes full advantage of this well-preserved stretch of the Great Wall with a thorough hike to give you an overview of what the wall looked like before it was retouched.

he nine-hour experience begins with pick up at a meeting point in the Dongcheng District of Beijing in an air-conditioned vehicle. A knowledgeable guide leads the way to show you and your group the stonework, guard towers and decorative elements of the wall that have lasted for centuries. 

Don’t worry about getting too tired on the trek, since you’ll stop for snack breaks and water, and after the hike, lunch is included at a village restaurant operated by local farmers.

08 of 08

Best from Tianjin: Private Tour of Huangyaguan Great Wall

Huangyaguan

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If you’re looking for a tour that departs from Tianjin (instead of Beijing) the “Private Tour of Huangyaguan Great Wall” takes you off the typical tourist trail while still exploring some amazing sites.

After pick up at your hotel, the tour guide will share interesting facts on the way to the Huangyaguan portion of the wall, originally built during the sixth century, as you gaze out at some incredible mountain scenery. Next is a lunch break at a local restaurant followed by a visit to the Dule Temple, a wooden Buddhist temple dating from the Liao period, meaning the temple is almost 1,000 years old. Finally, visit some of the best-preserved imperial tombs in China at the Eastern Qing Mausoleums before returning to your hotel.

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