Read what other Viator.com travelers think about the Private Tour: Great Wall of China at Juyongguan and Ming Tombs from Beijing. What they loved, what they liked and what they think could be improved, it's all here to help you make the most of your next trip.
Private tour is exactly what this is. We were contacted the night before by our guide, Leo, who made arrangements to meet us at our hotel. He was waiting for my wife, son and myself in the lobby the next morning. He lead us to our van, which we had to ourselves the entire day. We left at 9 am and got to The Wall at Juyongguan at 1030 am. The guide bought tickets and lead us to the starting point. We had two hours to explore. The weather was excellent and we hiked to the top and then back down. Had plenty of time to enjoy ourselves. The guide met us at a prearranged spot and we went to lunch at a Jade Factory. Lunch was outstanding and consisted of Kung Pao Chicken, Peppered Beef, a Pork dish, sweet peas, soup and rice. We bought some jade items, this was a no pressure place and a nice atmosphere. We then spent the afternoon at the Ming Tombs. Our guide explained to us the history behind the Ming Dynasty and was very knowledgeable on the subject. We stopped by a Silk Factory, there was a little more pressure there, but it was still a comfortable shopping experience. My wife bought a nice jacket for roughly $88. The guide then took us back to our hotel, ending a very pleasant tour experience. If you book this tour, you won't be disappointed.
The Jugongguan was well worth a visit - the climb was extremely steep in places and the higher you climbed, the volume of people was also reduced, albeit we saw very few tourists climb to the same level as us. Since it was on one of the National Chinese Holidays, all the locals had gathered to climb the wall so it was very crowded, so hanging on to the handrails became a challenge at times as the locals would just sit down and block access to the handrails. We were told that the locals prefer the steeper sections as it is good exercise for them and tend to avoid the sections which are not as steep. Our private tour guide said that there were no toilets at the top - he was wrong, unless of course he has never walked the distance that we did in the hour it took us to get to a relatively high spot, where the wall divided. We had clear blue skies so views were breath-taking when we got to the top, so well worth it.