adventures in the people's republic of china and beyond

Monday, July 10, 2006


Great Wall!

So I finally went to the Great Wall this weekend! When people visit the Great Wall, they access it from certain sites, and either walk around in the area or walk from one spot to another. In our case, we went from Jinshanling to Simatai, a 10km hike along the Great Wall. It was awesome! So awesome that I took over 100 photos.

There was a huge rainstorm at around 4AM the morning of our hike, but fortunately the rain stopped by the time we went to the Great Wall. We left Beijing around 9AM and it took around 2 hours to get to the Great Wall at Jinshanling. We told our taxi driver to pick us up at Simatai 4 hours later. It actually took us 5+ hours to get there.

Hiking the Great Wall was really an experience. I think it's the coolest thing I've done since I got here. The thing about visiting cultural places in China for me is that I have a hard time believing that I'm really at a place 1000's of years old. But walking along the Great Wall, I really felt like I was experiencing history. Parts of the wall had been restored, but other parts left in their natural state.

I was surprised by how much climbing the hike required. In fact, I would say much of it was climbing and descending rather than just straight hiking, especially in the middle stretch where the wall was mostly unrestored. Some parts were rather steep and you had to use your hands to help you up.

When you visit the Great Wall, locals selling souvenirs and drinks will inevitably follow you around. I'd read about this earlier, but they actually weren't as annoying as I thought they would be. Most of the time they just walked along with us and I got to talk in Chinese with them about their kids and where we came from and so on. It's weird, but I had no problem understanding the local people(whereas I still struggle to understand Beijingers). Only after they'd followed us around for a while did they ask us to buy something, and I felt really bad that I didn't, because I'd started to like them, but what can you do?

At some parts of the wall, you really feel like you're up in the clouds. The effect was magnified because it was a bit foggy that day after the rain.

At the end, when you near Simatai, you can ride a zipline down and then ride a boat to the exit. The zipline was pretty fun.

Afterwards, we went to "Serve the People", one of Beijiing's best Thai restaurants. It was the most expensive dinner I've had since my arrival - about 90RMB per person or about USD12, for six dishes and several drinks. Speaking of eating in Beijing, it's really, really cheap. That lunch I showed earlier with the ribs was only about 20RMB(USD 2.5) per person for three dishes and drinks. I would say that's a pretty average price for a decent restaurant meal here.

I'm still not sure what I'm going to do this weekend, but I hope to get out of the city.

I am endlessly, endlessly impressed with that zipline. I wish I had my own. It'd almost be worth building a Great Wall.


That is so gorgeous.

I want to go to the Great Wall...and ride the zipline with Rebekah.


That is really pretty Pravit. Man the most expensive meal I have eaten here came out to 25 US Dollars. That was the all you can eat place with sushi I told you about through email. I too need to go to the great wall someday.


that´s so amazingly cool. and cheap; you´re lucky. the bus is expensive.


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