Jiankou Great Wall is located at Xizhaizi Village, 70 km from Beijing. It takes two-hours to drive there from Beijing. our guide, from LeoBeijing Walking Tours kept us entertained for most of this, with history about the wall and joking around with the kids. He was a fantastic guide and really made the trip enjoyable, even in the tough points of the trek.
It was built in the Tang Dynasty and was restored largely in the Ming Dynasty. It connects to the Mutianyu Great Wall in the east and the Huanghuacheng Great Wall in the west. It’s the most dangerous and steep section of any of the Ming Dynasty wall, that is left. Not sure that I was entirely happy to find out that the Jiankou section of the Great Wall is not open to the public by local authority, but apparently according to our guide, we’re not public, and anyway, nobody can stop the visitors.
It stretches from “The Ox Horn Edge Wall” in the east to “The Nine-Eye Tower” in the north via “The Beijing Knot” with a total length of 16kms. One section called 38 Big Steps is really steep and is effectively rock climbing, not hiking as promised on the website! The hike takes 5 1/2 hours and is best described as challenging!
Descending back down the wall was challenging for all of us. With the aid of the wall, using the windows and brick work as handholds, we were able to climb back down the wall. Who ever thought this would be fun!! I’m so glad we decided to do it this direction, rather than the opposite! Thank goodness some enterprising locals have set up stops at the pinnacle, meaning you can purchase snack and drinks, the best $10 we’ve ever spent on a couple of bottles of cold water!
Hiking the wall from Jiankou to Mutianyu gives you a taste of both worlds. Firstly the crumbling, ancient wall, moving to the picturesque restored sections, and the cable car at the end. This is an amazing way to see the Great Wall, even if it is an extremely strenuous way! The hike offers the most amazing panoramic views of the wall and the surrounding areas of both China and Mongolia. This is definitely a bucket list moment.
We spent the evening getting lost in the hutong district of Beijing, mingling with locals, eating Peking duck, dumplings, the best crab soup dumpling and br own sugar. You can’t go to Beijing and not have a Peking Duck. According to Oliver it’s part of the visa approval process!