What is the Best Section of The Great Wall?


If there is one thing China is known for its the Great Wall.  It’s one of the most famous places in the world. As few as 10 million and perhaps as many as 50 million people will visit the Great Wall every year.  It’s considered one of the modern 7  wonders of the world (not to be confused with the classical 7 wonders) along with the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro Brazil; Machu Picchu in Peru; Chichen Itza in Mexico; The Roman Colosseum and India’s Taj Mahal.  And it's little wonder it’s so famous. Here is why the Mutianyu Great Wall is the best section of the Great Wall. 

How Long is it Really?

A lot of people have told me that they would love to walk the entire length of the Wall.  But they should know the Great Wall is long. I mean really long. On average, it would take about 18 months for a person to walk the length of the Great Wall.  The Great Wall is 21,196.18 kilometers or 13,170.70 miles.  That length is more than half the length of the equator.  It is the longest human construction in the world.  If your dream is to walk the whole thing you’ll have to save a whole lot of vacation time.

The Great Wall is seriously long. The Mutianyu section is the most fully restored section. Wish there weren't so many power lines there though.

The Great Wall is seriously long. The Mutianyu section is the most fully restored section. Wish there weren't so many power lines there though.

How Old is it?

The Great Wall of China is more than 2,300 years old but some portions of the Wall are newer than others. While some parts of the Wall are disappearing altogether others sections are actually being preserved. They actively replace and enhance some sections of the Great Wall.  

The steps on the Mutianyu Great Wall section are very steep. They make for a challenging and invigorating hike

The steps on the Mutianyu Great Wall section are very steep. They make for a challenging and invigorating hike

Mutianyu Great Wall

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of visiting the Mutianyu Great Wall 慕田峪 (pronounced Moo-tyen-yoo).  Originally, I only wanted to visit the Great Wall of China because it was famous. I really wasn't prepared for how much fun it would be.

There are numerous great spots to take selfies on the Mutianyu Great Wall

There are numerous great spots to take selfies on the Mutianyu Great Wall


Mutianyu Great Wall is one of the more fully restored sections of the wall.  It's generally considered to be the most family-friendly portion of the Wall and the section most popular with foreigners.  First Lady Michelle Obama visited this section of the Wall when she came to China.

What Can I Expect to See and Do?

The Mutianyu Great Wall was originally built in 550–577.  It used to serve as the Northern barrier defending the Capital. There you will find Watchtowers and Fortresses along the section of the Wall.  It also has an amazing view of the surrounding countryside which you can see excellently from the gondola ride up to the Wall or while walking the Wall itself.  I was expecting the surrounding countryside to be desert or pretty sparse terrain. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find this area is 90% forest and quite green.  Be prepared to take some amazing photos.

A view of the Toboggan slide from the Gondola.

A view of the Toboggan slide from the Gondola.


Visiting Mutianyu was fun because of three different aspects.  The first fun part was the gondola ride up to the wall.  You are able to see the entire area from the gondola and take amazing pictures of the surrounding countryside. 
The gondola ride to the Great Wall of China at the Mutianyu section is fun and allows you to feel the enormity of the Wall.

The gondola ride to the Great Wall of China at the Mutianyu section is fun and allows you to feel the enormity of the Wall.


The next memorable part was walking along the Wall itself.  It really was an amazing thing to experience up close.  They've done a good job maintaining the Mutianyu section.  Exploring the Wall is seriously fun.  Some parts of the Wall are uneven and the stairs can be quite steep.  The recently restored sections also feel wholly authentic. There's enough to explore here to keep you occupied for hours.
No, you don't need to adjust your screen. This section of the Wall really is this crooked. This is not a trick of the camera.

No, you don't need to adjust your screen. This section of the Wall really is this crooked. This is not a trick of the camera.


Perhaps the most fun part of the trip, however, was the ride down.  That’s because you can take a toboggan down from the Wall. This is quite fun and unexpected since one rarely sees a coaster ride at such historical sites.  This no doubt adds to this section of the Wall’s appeal to many visitors. A little note about the toboggan, you might want to let the person in front of you get a bit of a head start. Not everyone has much experience with rides such as this or other roller coasters. Some might want to ride the break most of the way down. This can be very frustrating if you're close behind them hoping to get a bit of speed down the slide.
The Toboggan is the best way down from the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall.

The Toboggan is the best way down from the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall.

When is the Best Time to Visit?

You might be wondering when is the best time to Visit the Great Wall.  I went in May and the weather was perfect. Not too hot, not too cold. I would highly recommend this time of the year.  However, April to June and October to November are usually considered the best times to visit. Since you can experience many different seasons in Beijing you can get a different experience visiting the Wall depending on what time of the year you go.  But you should make sure to avoid going during any type of Chinese holiday.

Prepare for a lot of stairs and great views.

Prepare for a lot of stairs and great views.


If you go during a Chinese Holiday (Particularly Chinese New Years) the crowds can be unbelievable. Just google Great Wall Chinese New Year Crowd. The images are unreal. Of course, if you find that type of massive crowd exciting you might want to go for it. If you do decide to avoid the crowd you should remember the local Chinese holidays are at a different time of the year from those in the US and other parts of the world. Therefore I’d suggest doing some research to make sure your visit dates don’t coincide with a local holiday.

How Do I Get There?

When I was in Beijing I decided to rent a private car with some friends. This is pretty easy to do. There are apps you can install on your phone that will allow you to do this. A popular app here is Didi (pronounced dee-dee). It’s China’s version of Uber. However, the English on the apps might be a little hard to understand so I’d suggest asking the hotel clerk to help you book a car. Some sections of the Great Wall like Huangtudian are easy to reach by train. One note of caution, due to how easy it is to travel to these sections they also happen to be the more consistently crowded parts of the Wall.

I was blessed to get a great day at Mutianyu Great Wall. Very few people. The sky was a bit overcast but air quality was great.

I was blessed to get a great day at Mutianyu Great Wall. Very few people. The sky was a bit overcast but air quality was great.

What’s Next?

I’ve personally only been to one section of the Great Wall, Mutianyu Great Wall. However, it’s definitely worth going a second time; to a different spot. I really want to go ziplining at the Simatai section of the Wall and take the night tour there. Or maybe I’ll go camping in the Huanghuacheng section. Another idea is to join the annual marathon at the Huangyaguan section. As you can see there are lots to do and experience at China’s Great Wall. I hope you get a chance to visit!

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Written by Asia Undiscovered
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