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.