When the Great Wall of China opened to tourists in the late 1950s, the 2.3-mile (3.7-km) segment at Badaling was the first to welcome visitors, and today, some 10 million people visit annually. Situated on the eastern part of the wall just north of Beijing, Badaling is by far the most popular, the most easily accessible and the best restored section.
Built in 1502 during the Ming Dynasty, the wall at Badaling runs around Jundu mountain, reaching an altitude of over 3,280 feet (1,000 meters) that provides stunning views. While other portions of the wall require rather arduous climbing, the Great Wall at Badaling has been outfitted with a cable car to ferry passengers to the top of the highest tower. Another of the site's most appealing features is its proximity to Beijing; visitors with limited time in the Chinese capital can combine a visit with a stop at the nearby Ming Tombs or squeeze the Great Wall, Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square into a single day.
Insider's Tip: Since this is the most popular section of the wall, expect heavy crowds on weekends and national holidays.
The Great Wall at Badaling is part of the eastern section of the Great Wall of China, about 43 miles (70 km) north of Beijing. The stairs here are equipped with hand rails and aren't nearly as steep as those found at other parts of the wall. The site is open from 6:30am to 7pm in summer and from 7am to 6pm in winter. Admission costs CNY 45, with additional charges for the pulley train and cable car. Access to the on-site Great Wall Museum and Great Wall Circle Vision Theater is included in the entrance fee.