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Great Wall from Jinshanling to Simatai

Jinshanling and Simatai are two of the most remote and least restored portions of the Great Wall near Beijing. Visitors craving a more natural Great Wall of China experience, without the buses and crowds of domestic tourists posing for photos at ... 

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Derek G United Kingdom

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
April 2016

Amazing, my second trip to the great wall. This section was much better. Not crowded and stunning, great to see some non restored sections too.

Doing what: Great Wall Hiking Tour from Beijing: Simatai West to Jinshanling

Lexi S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
April 2016

We wanted to escape the large crowds of tourists and have a more personal experience with the Great Wall and we're so happy we chose this tour!! Our small group of 8 had the most spectacular time. Our guide Tao couldn't have been better. He was knowledgeable and patient with us, helping us along some of the very difficult and slippery portions of the wall. He also took some of our most memorable photos from the day. I HIGHLY recommend this tour when you take a trip to Beijing! :-

Doing what: One-Day Small Group Great Wall Hiking Highlight: Simatai West to Jinshanling

rob

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
April 2016

I've done the popular crowded great wall visit and this one, and there's no contest. This was full of history and context, not at all crowded, we experience much greater variety in the wall itself, and overall it felt like a much more intimate experience with the wall. There was a lot of walking, but our guide did a great job taking breaks and making it doable for this 54 year old. One important note, we were told to meet at the McDonalds at Dongzhimen Station. There are 2 McDonalds! We waited at the one in the station - the wrong one! Be sure to go to the one across the street from the station. It may be that they included the correct address, but navigating in Beijing is not easy. Even our Chinese friends thought this would be hard for them to figure out.

Doing what: One-Day Small Group Great Wall Hiking Highlight: Simatai West to Jinshanling

David K

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
March 2016

I had done this hike four years ago with another tour company that offered a private tour. I elected to take this small group tour this time because the other company did not have availability. I was not disappointed in the differences between the private tour and the small group tour the primary difference is that a private tour will pick you up at your hotel and the small group tour requires you travel to a central meeting place. Beyond that, the services were comparable.

This tour is about 4 hours of hiking over parts of the wall that are unrestored and offers a much better experience than the more touristy areas. I was extremely satisfied with the tour and in particular I found that our guide Cheney added a tremendous amount of value to the tour. He has done this hike over 500 times over 7 years and he takes a great deal of pride in introducing this national treasure of China to visitors. He has an in depth knowledge of the history of the wall. He also has a very deep concern that the people in his group get everything they want out of the hike. I highly recommend Cheney as a guide if you can get him.

The ride from Beijing to the wall is about 2.5 hours but it is worth it as this section of the wall is much less crowded. This is a 'hike' and there are some steep sections, but that is what you are paying for. The time on the wall was about 2.5 hours with a half hour to hike up to the wall and another half hour to hike down to the entrance.

This tour is a great value for the money, a great time walking back in time, and a very educational experience via a knowledgable and concerned guide. I highly recommend it.

Doing what: One-Day Small Group Great Wall Hiking Highlight: Simatai West to Jinshanling

Valerie S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
March 2016

This was a very excellent tour. Our guide Cheney was very professional, friendly and knowledgeable. A large part of this section was only minimally restored, offering some really remarkable sights.
Some of the steps were challenging and the incline was steep but the effort was worth it.
We had a tea break at one of the watch towers: the cup of hot tea on a chilly spring morning was the perfect match for the magnificent views at the great wall!

Doing what: One-Day Small Group Great Wall Hiking Highlight: Simatai West to Jinshanling

Max T

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
December 2015

We really enjoyed this hiking trip. Our hiking guide, Tao, was friendly and helpful. He was knowledgeable and eager to share his knowledge about the history of the wall and china in general. He was considerate and our safety during the hike was important to him. The hiking itself was really nice, the part of the wall we walked was not crowded at all, and had a nice view of the surroundings and other parts of the wall. The hike was finished the right way, with a delicious lunch and a large beer. We really recommend this tour!

Doing what: One-Day Small Group Great Wall Hiking Highlight: Simatai West to Jinshanling

Sonia A

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
November 2015

I was picked up exactly on time for my small group tour, only to find that I was the ONLY person on my tour. Yay! The driver and my amazing guide Yaxin drove us to the East entrance of the wall about 2 hours. The entrance was open so we walked up the stairs about 30 minutes. Please note that it is very steep and takes quite a bit of effort if you're not accustomed to the exercise. Our walk along the wall was around 3 hours. It was a cooler day so there were very few people on the wall, which made it a great photo opportunity. Yaxin gave a light overview of the history of the wall and suggested some photo poses that would work well. We finished up with a very large lunch including beer! and a 2 hour drive back to my hotel. As I was the only person on the tour, they were happy to drop me off directly my hotel was only another 5 minute drive. The tour finished earlier than expected because it was just 1 person. They said it takes longer with more people because everyone walks at different speeds or wants to stop and take photos at different points. Yaxin and the driver also helped me coordinate a taxi to the airport the next day as it was difficult to find people in Beijing that spoke English. They were really great in going out of their way to help me out. Yaxin even translated a few things for me into Chinese text so that I could communicate better with others.

Overall, I would recommend this trip if you are interested in seeing the wall only and if you're keen to go on a bit of a difficult hike. That being said, the walk down to the restaurant for lunch was quite easy.

Doing what: One-Day Small Group Great Wall Hiking Highlight: Simatai West to Jinshanling

Jeni H

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
November 2015

Absolutely amazing tour. The guide was very good, there were no stops at shops to buy anything, and the food and snacks were very good. I highly recommend this tour

Doing what: One-Day Small Group Great Wall Hiking Highlight: Simatai West to Jinshanling

Stephen P

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
November 2015

This was a great hike. I have been to different parts of the wall 3 times now. I learned more from Cheney our tour guide on this trip than the other two combined. I liked how this section of the wall is way less touristy than other parts and just felt more authentic. It's a pretty good hike with some nice steep and uphill sections. Nice little work out. Cheney was accommodating....and a gentleman!

Doing what: One-Day Small Group Great Wall Hiking Highlight: Simatai West to Jinshanling

Paul s

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
October 2015

It was a great tour. It is definitely a physical hike, but the views were awesome. We only saw 50 people the whole day on the wall.

Doing what: One-Day Small Group Great Wall Hiking Highlight: Simatai West to Jinshanling

Richard W

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
October 2015

I really enjoyed my 1-day small group hike along the Great Wall from Simatai West to Jinshanling. It was a beautiful, sunny day and the sights were amazing. I made great friends with my two hiking partners and my tour guide, Tao, was wonderful. He gave a nice presentation on the history of the Wall and surrounding area and was always willing to stop and take pictures. I highly recommend this day trip from Beijing!

Doing what: One-Day Small Group Great Wall Hiking Highlight: Simatai West to Jinshanling

Vivek S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
September 2015

Fantastic experience! Highly recommend this tour. Tao, our guide, was great Our group of 8 left earlier than originally planned because of the mid-autumn holiday. Yum, Moon Cakes!

Anyway, our hike up to the wall was great -- seemed like we only saw another couple walking up and we barely saw any other crowds until about half-way through our hike, which was about 5k total.

To reiterate -- the tour was amazing the weather was perfect in late Sept..

Doing what: One-Day Small Group Great Wall Hiking Highlight: Simatai West to Jinshanling

Catherine T

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
September 2015

Great hike along the Great Wall! Wonderful views of the countryside and the wall as it snakes along the ridge lines without the crowds. Our guide, Cheney, was knowledgeable, helpful, and affable. The hike involved some steep assents to to the wall and along the wall. Cheney kept us supplied with snacks and water. A terrific experience!

Doing what: One-Day Small Group Great Wall Hiking Highlight: Simatai West to Jinshanling

Stephanie C

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
September 2015

I would 100 recommend this trip to anyone who wants to see the wonderful Great Wall. From the minute we met up with Peter our tour guide we were 30 minutes early and he was already there and waiting! to the minute we got dropped back it was fantastic. He was the best tour guide, so knowledgeable with the most amazing English. He gave us maps and explained the whole wall before we got there. He was incredibly patient with everyone, full of facts, took incredible photos of us which he gave to us on a USB before the trip was over which was a great touch and gave us the right amount of information/quiet to make the day an unforgettable experience. I have been on a lot of tours and trips throughout Asia and would say without a doubt Peter was the best guide Ive ever had.

The only thing I would flag is if you arent fit then it maybe too much for you. I booked this for myself and my Mum who is 65. She is incredibly active yet found the initial climb to the wall 1200 steps in 34 degree heat a big test even though she has high fitness levels. I imagine for some it would probably be a bit much.

Doing what: One-Day Small Group Great Wall Hiking Highlight: Simatai West to Jinshanling

Eric B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
September 2015

Great tour led by a knowledgable and personable guide. Would highly recommend.

Doing what: One-Day Small Group Great Wall Hiking Highlight: Simatai West to Jinshanling

Chanindh Thailand

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
August 2015

Exhausting! BUT VERY EXHILARATING!!! The first day's hike Jiankou to Mutianyu was over eight kilometres, and the second day's hike Jinshanling to Simatai West was about six kilometres. We covered both the restored and unrestored parts of the Wall on both days and we encountered very few other tourists somewhat more on the second day than the first day which made for excellent photo ops. The overnight accommodation at a nearby guesthouse was basic but adequate clean and safe with excellent dinner and breakfast. Wu Yaxin is a very capable and interesting guide for this hiking tour -- kudos to him for making this a very memorable trip for me.

My humble advices: 1 DO NOT take this tour if you are not in good health, especially if you have leg/knee/foot problems and/or cardio-vascular issues. The Great Wall was built along the ridges of the mountain ranges in order to secure the strategic highest grounds. Therefore, it meanders along these ridges where there are constant changes in elevations both upwards and downwards, and VERY STEEPLY at many stretches. 2 Prepare for all kinds of weather. My group quite literally experienced four weather conditions in the course of the two days at the end of July 2015: fog actually low clouds at mountain tops overcast sky heavy rain forced to stop and rest at one of the forts and beautiful sunshine. 3 Wear good hiking shoes. You will be glad you did, especially at the steep inclines.

Doing what: Two-day Small Group Magic Great Wall Hiking Jiankou to Simatai West

Ian P

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
July 2015

An amazing experience, mostly because of how great our tour guide Peter was. It turned out the small group was just myself and one other person, so we took a nice cab instead of a van. Peter gave us the history of the wall during our drive, and was very knowledgeable. What we learned on the way there was more interesting than all of what I heard during a full-day bus tour of the typical Beijing attractions.

The hike was somewhat difficult for me, as my legs started cramping up towards the end I haven't hiked in a long time and only recently started running to become more fit. My phone said I had climbed the equivalent of 93 floors by the time I was done. But if you're generally an active person, I don't think you should have a problem. Peter was very accommodating. He also would point out different parts of the wall that each had their own stories behind them, and would let us know which ones were replicas. He also set up various photo-ops as we were walking, which was especially appreciated since I was traveling alone and I know my family likes to see pictures of me in places, and this way I didn't have to bother anyone to take my picture. He uploaded the photos to a USB drive and gave them to us on the way back.

There was no push to buy anything along the way we didn't even stop to look. Peter helped me find my way back to my hotel using the subway instead of a taxi, which was a much more pleasant experience since it was rush hour when we got back.

If I ever come back I will be booking with this group again, and will be more prepared so I can take one of their more difficult hikes.

Doing what: One-Day Small Group Great Wall Hiking Highlight: Simatai West to Jinshanling

Thomas W

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
July 2015

Amazing. If I could, I'd give this seven out of five stars. Peter the guide was awesome. Knowledgeable and well-prepared. Half way through the hike he produced ice cream out of his backpack along with cold drinks!

Doing what: One-Day Small Group Great Wall Hiking Highlight: Simatai West to Jinshanling

Jason H

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
July 2015

If you're looking to avoid crowds, get a good working out, and spend a good amount of time with the wall, then this is the trip for you. Despite light rain for most of the day, this was the highlight of our trip to China. The steep hike up to the wall was challenging, but really gives you respect for the engineering that went into this wonder. I will admit that when wet, the wall is a challenge to hike, as many of the declines are smooth stone without steps. However the walking stick provided by the tour company was very helpful.

Don't worry about not being picked up at your hotel. We went to the location we were told, at the time we were told, and the tour guide found us. He was very helpful along the trip, taking pictures, providing history, and even pointing out tourist destinations we should visit in our coming days in Beijing.

Doing what: One-Day Small Group Great Wall Hiking Highlight: Simatai West to Jinshanling

Anna K

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
June 2015

This was my 3 time to see the Great Wall and this trip was the best experience by far! Our guide, Yaxin Wu was amazing and the small group size really added to the experience! Yaxin was so knowledgable about the Great Wall he made sure to share his knowledge with us along the journey! The hike wasn't too challenging and we also had a chance to hike on both the unrestored and restored sections of the Great Wall. The whole time that we were on the Great Wall we only saw around 30 people. I would highly recommend this trip if you want a unique experience on the Great Wall.

Doing what: One-Day Small Group Great Wall Hiking Highlight: Simatai West to Jinshanling

Matthew W

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
May 2015

This hike was the highlight of my 2-week trip across China. The portion of the Great Wall that we covered was perfect - sometimes old and crumbling, sometimes restored, but never crowded. Our guide Yaxin was amazing - extremely knowledgeable, excellent English, very friendly, and with a deep appreciation of the Wall. The small group size 3 plus the guide in my trip gave us plenty of one on one time with the guide. I can't imagine hiking the Wall any other way. Highly recommended.

Doing what: One-Day Small Group Great Wall Hiking Highlight: Simatai West to Jinshanling

Dean S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
May 2015

This was an amazing tour! I only had one day as a tourist while on a business trip to Beijing, so I did a lot of research to pick my perfect tour of the Great Wall. I chose this tour for a few reasons. One, I wanted to get away from the locations closer to the city so there would be less crowds, less pollution and a more natural environment. This tour delivered on all three. We never felt crowded at all and maybe saw fewer than 40 people on our entire hike. The scenery was beautiful, with the Wall running along a mountain ridge that stretched off into the distance, and further off the purple and grey shapes of towering mountains just visible through the haze.

Our guide, Tao, was friendly and knowledgeable. He answered our constant stream of questions about the Wall, Beijing history and culture, etc. He even helped figure out the right route for me to take to use the subway/metro to get back to my hotel so I could avoid the traffic I would face by taking a cab. He was there to help guide us on trickier parts of the wall climb as well. Lunch at the end of the tour was delicious, with simple, fresh dishes from the local farmer's restaurant. A perfect cap to the day.

This tour ended up being the perfect way for me to experience the Wall. If you want beautiful scenery, a less pre-packaged Wall experience and the sense of satisfaction that comes from a good hike, this is the tour for you. This one is not for everybody. There is a solid hour of hiking mostly stairs just to get to the wall, and once there it requires some climbs up/down very steep areas, so be prepared for a real workout.

Doing what: One-Day Small Group Great Wall Hiking Highlight: Simatai West to Jinshanling

Rich D

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
March 2015

Excellent trip to Jinshanling - would do this again.

Doing what: Great Wall Hiking Tour from Beijing: Simatai West to Jinshanling

Maranda R

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
December 2014

Fabulous tour - December was a great time (albeit it very cold) to see the wall as it was virtually deserted. Stunning views and definitely the highlight of our trip.

Doing what: Great Wall Hiking Tour from Beijing: Simatai West to Jinshanling

Don S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
September 2014

This company went above and beyond to give me a great experience. The tour guide was friendly and personable and easy to understand. After hiking with stunning ancient views we had a phenomenal home style prepared meal. Truly unforgettable

Doing what: Great Wall Hiking Tour from Beijing: Simatai West to Jinshanling

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