Trekking the Great Wall
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The best way to appreciate the world renowned Great Wall of China is to explore it by foot. 

Six trekkers, including two ladies trekked five sections of the eastern parts of the Great Wall from Mutianyu, east of Beijing to Shanhaiguan by the Bohai Sea in the Pacific Ocean.

The trek was tough with many steep and long staircases, but the journey was exciting with breathtaking scenery and landscape.


The ancient and magnificent fortification in China known the world over as the Great Wall is famed for its size. The wall runs more than 6,000km from east to west through northern China. It is said to be the only engineering project visible by astronauts from space with the naked eye. The Great Wall is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and was enlisted in the World’s Heritage by UNESCO in 1987.

The Great Wall was built more than two thousand years ago. Construction of the wall began between 7th and 6th century BC and the last work on the wall was done between 16th and 17th centuries.

The wall was originally built of stones, wood and earth. And in the Ming Dynasty bricks were used.

The best way to appreciate the Great Wall is to explore it on foot. Today one can easily experience the picturesque walk along the wall. It is beautiful, good exercise but not an easy stroll in the park.

Three of my trekking friends, Kenny, KC and Larry, and I together with two ladies, Peggy and Phaih Yean flew to Beijing on 22nd May to trek the eastern parts of the Great Wall from Mutianyu to Shanhaiguan. We returned on 31st May.

The trek was arranged through Tianma International Travel Service, a member of CITS-American Express Leisure Travel Service Network, China.

The Team




Mutianyu is about 70km northeast of Beijing. We left Beijing in the morning of 24th May at about 9.00am and stopped for an early lunch when we were near the Mutianyu Great Wall.

This section of the Great Wall is not near the road. We arrived at a thriving market area at the base of Mutianyu at about 1.00pm and from there we had a challenging trek up seemingly endless steps onto the Great Wall. From here we got our first touch of the Wall.

First touch of the Wall


This stretch of the Great Wall is about 3km in length and the trek up to the Wall terminates at midway. We decided to trek the eastern section of the Wall as it appeared to be winding longer along more lofty mountains.

Mutianyu is one of the best sections of the Great Wall, having been refurbished in 1984. It winds through dense vegetation.

It was built with granite and is about 7m high and 4m wide. There are more than 20 watch towers along the whole section of the Wall.

Along the Wall there are a number of canon emplacements, some with canons still in place.

Cannon ready to fire                                          Through dense vegetation

Despite further from Beijing compared to Badaling, Mutianyu was still quite crowded with foreign tourists.


View through a tower window

The last stretch to Tower 20 is steep and strenuous but once at the top the views of the Wall snaking through the ridges of the mountains are magnificent and breathtaking.

Steep staircase                                                View from Tower 20

Beyond Tower 20 lies the unrestored portion of the Wall. From there we returned to our starting point and called it day as we already felt tired on this first day of trekking!

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