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The Great Wall is a phenomenal place and our guide struck just the right balance between keeping us informed and just letting us enjoy the spectacle. We toured in August and visited the steepest part of the wall. It is very steep and was very hot. I experienced my first taste of heat exhaustion near the top and would advise caution, as I was in great shape and accustomed to running several miles a day in Beijing heat. The Ming Tombs were also amazing and we thoroughly enjoyed our tour.
Juyongguan is spectacular. You can pick your way and go right or left once you are at the base. We chose the shorter segment, which just about everyone chooses. But it has a tough part that is very long and very steep. My daughter did triathlon training until about 6 months ago and she found this to be a very hard climb. The elderly and people with physical disabilities just cannot go up there. Another suggestion is to make it early in the morning. As early as possible because we did it at noon and the sun will cook you alive after the hike has rendered you unconscious. At the top there is a small store selling sodas, water and ice cream.
Going the other way the climb is much longer, much steeper and there is no store waiting for you, but the view must be magnificent. Of course we did not even think of doing this. I don't remember seeing any homo sapiens attempting to go up there.
The Ming Tombs is an excellent site at any time.
Lulu Belle United States of ...
We really enjoyed this tour for a number of reasons. Our tour guide, Tina, was extremely punctual, pleasant and very knowledgable about the culture and history in this part of China. We totally feel the tour to the Ming Tombs was worth it. After visiting the Forbidden City and Summer Palace, it's very interesting to travel outside Beijing to further see and understand the ways of the Emperor. We particularly enjoyed the walk down the Sacred Way. Visiting the tomb is very unique. After crossing a large gate, you enter a very peaceful courtyard. There is a lovely museum with interesting royal items. You are then able to climb the back structure and view the entire area. The tombs are actually in the hillside behind the structure, but it's still a remarkable place and a UNESCO site. From there, we had a decent chinese lunch at a Jade Factory. Because we've done tours like this in other countries, we had told Tina right off that we are interested most in culture and history - we are not shoppers and that is a big misconception of many American tourists. She understand exactly what we meant and respected our wishes - so while we ate in the Jade building, we didn't actually enter the factory or have to visit the gift shop. There are western restrooms here that are very clean. From lunch, we drove out to the Juyong Gap. Words will not even adequately describe how awe inspiring this adventure was. Smog was bad this day as it was a milder winter day and the view was beyond spectacular. As opposed to Badaling where you take a cable car from what we understand, Juyong is all foot power. You approach a level lot with shops, restrooms, etc. and immediately start climbing steps. You can literally climb and climb to your hearts content. NOTE - lunch can be a bit heavy and we are SO glad we didn't overeat given the strenuous nature of the climb. I would suggest at least 2 hours here. There are guard towers that break up the climb - and I'm still amazed how high you can really go. Tina leads you to the wall and you arrange a return meeting time at the lower level - but you are on your own to climb at your own rate. On the car ride back to Beijing, Tina continued to answer our questions and we really had a great discussion comparing and contrasting various cultures. A wonderful day that created lifelong memories!
NOTE - If you have ANY health issues or physical limitations, this might not be the best spot to climb the Great Wall. Badaling provides a tram but it's also typically a lot more crowded because of the accessibility. If you want a more natural experience, Juyong Gap is a great option!
It wasn't necessarily just the sites we visited that made this as enjoyable... it was our tour guide, Nikki! We can't say enough positive things about her. She was SUPER informative and very educated on the history of the Ming Tombs and Juyongguan segment of the Great Wall. She definitely made this tour exceed all of our expectations. This is a must do .... and ask for Nikki! Oh, and the sites themselves? Definitely worth it! Check out the photos and see for yourself.
Both Sarah, the tour guide, and the driver spoke English, they were very organized, and always on time. Sarah was very friendly. She taught me a lot about the significance of the Juyongguan section of the wall and about the history and culture of Beijing. She seemed to know a lot about many different subjects. I have visited Mutianyu and, personally, I found Juyongguan to be more beautiful. The visit to the jade factory was a wonderful surprise. I did not know about it and would have never known to schedule a visit if it had not been added to this tour. I hope to go back, you need to spend more time there to really appreciate everything that they have. Take your credit card! The meal provided at the jade factory was delicious and the restaurant itself was photo worthy. The service throughout the jade factory was impeccable. The Ming Tombs is huge. I loved the museum. It was wonderful to see such extravagance and to listen to Sarah explain the history behind it all.
It was great! She was very informative and the PRIVATE tour is the way to go. Our driver was courteous and safe.
vivi United States of ...
very good tour
Incredible. Snow was falling and it was magical.
James R USA
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 tour guide Erica was great and very knowledgable.
The driver was a bit rough on the roads.
The Wall was stunning - have to be fit to do this climbing tour. Had my Fitbit on and we did equivalent of 77 floors !
Ming tombs were incredible.l Go on a Monday when there are few tourists.
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