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Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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One of mankind's greatest engineering achievements - the Great Wall
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Highlights

  • Explore the Great Wall of China, an ancient architectural masterpiece.
  • Visiting the Temple of Heaven, an oasis of peace & classic Confucian design.
  • Experiencing rural Chinese life first-hand with visits to local villages.
  • Hiking from Jinshaling to Simatai with its 19 watchtowers.
  • Absorbing ancient history at the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Ming Tombs.

Traverse a variety of sections along one of mankind’s greatest architectural achievements, the Great Wall of China.

As you walk along wild and unrestored parts of the wall and feel a real sense of remoteness, speculate as to how this amazing feat of engineering was constructed without modern machinery over 2,000 years ago.

Explore Beijing, including the Temple of Heaven, the ancient “hutong” district, plus the stunning Longqing Gorges and the Ming Tombs, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Panoramic view of the Great Wall

Day 1: Arrive Beijing

Upon arrival at Beijing Airport a transfer brings you to your hotel.


If you wish you can begin exploring Beijing immediately. Since your hotel is located in the “hutong” area of Beijing, an ancient quarter full of character and with narrow alleyways and streets, it is a great place to begin your discovery. There will be no need to wander very far this evening for dinner, as it is full of restaurants and bars.


Overnight: Ron Yard Hotel, Beijing


This hotel is set deep in the heart of the “hutong” quarter and is located in a charming courtyard house. The air-conditioned rooms offer complimentary newspapers and tea/coffee and are individually decorated in traditional Chinese style.


Day 2: Morning sightseeing of the Temple of Heaven with a local guide.

An early morning start brings you to the incredible Temple of Heaven complex for a privately guided tour. Here you can observe locals practicing Tai Chi before discovering the temple itself and its intriguing structural simplicity and hidden symbolism.


Visit the “Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests” where your hiking guide will take you through your day by day itinerary.


Overnight: Ron Yard Hotel, Beijing


Day 3: Transfer to Juyongguan via Longqing Gorges. Walking on the Great Wall in Juyongguan

You will be picked up this morning by your driver and personal guide (who will accompany you throughout your time outside Beijing) and embark on your journey to the Great Wall. Transfer to the amazing Yangqing Geological Park, where you will visit the Guyaju Caves. Later take a short cruise through the Longqing Gorges, scenery that looks more like Guilin with its magnificent limestone peaks.


Transfer to Juyongguan, the closest section of the Great Wall to Beijing. Pass the various look-out towers and even a Confucian Temple.


Walk: 4 km


Total Driving Time: 3H45


Overnight: Gukezhan Hotel, Juyongguan


This simple, Chinese-style hotel is situated right next to the Great Wall and has been specifically chosen for its excellent location.


Day 4: Juyongguan to Chenjiabao

Transfer to Xiachen Jiabao. This section of the wall is quite difficult, but well-worth the challenge. An initial steep ascent takes you to an imposing ridge and the "General's Tower". The sweeping panorama from here assured its importance during the Ming Dynasty as a look-out post.


Pass through a zig-zag section before leaving the wall and visiting another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Ming Tombs. Transfer to Shuichangcheng area.


Walk: 8 km


Total Driving Time: 2H45


Overnight: Changsiyuan Guesthouse, Xishuiyu


Your guesthouse tonight is located in the village of Xishuiyu. You will be warmly welcomed and have a peaceful night’s sleep.


Day 5: Walking on the Great Wall, Shuichangcheng to Huanghuacheng

This section of the wall is called Water Great Wall by local villagers and the final part of the walk offers breath-taking views of the reservoir below, into which the Great Wall seems to plunge.


After descending from the wall visit the "Silver Pagodas" that go back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD). If you wish you may climb the Central Peak from which there are awe-inspiring views.


Walk: 5 km


Total Driving time: 2H40


Overnight: Xizhazi Guesthouse, Xizhazi Village


This village guesthouse is simply decorated and set within the village.


Day 6: Jiankou to Mutianyu, 9 km

Your first ascent along the wall is dotted by several staircases and takes you through pine forest to a watchtower at 1000m with stupendous views. Begin your trek towards Mutianyu along a section locally known as the "Stairway to Heaven"


Later accept a cup of tea in a guesthouse and meet a local dignitary in the village of Guandi who will explain the “Great Green Wall” project.


Walk: 9 km


Total Driving Time: 2H10


Overnight: Laolikezhan Guesthouse, Gubeikou Area


This guesthouse is located within a local farmhouse. It offers clean, comfortable and simply decorated rooms.


Day 7: Gubeikou to Zhuandao Pass

Witness a variety of landscapes today as you come across the “24 Eyes Tower” and descend towards Spider Valley. Also see one of the most beautiful panoramas on the Great Wall, extending over the hills towards Jinshanling.


After finishing at the Zhuandao Pass you will spend an interesting afternoon foraging for medicinal herbs, a fundamental and fascinating part of Chinese culture.


Walk: 10 km


Dinner: Changshuocun Guesthouse, Jinshanling Area


You will receive a very warm welcome to this charming guesthouse. The rooms are simple, yet comfortable.


Day 8: Walking on the Great Wall, Jinshanling to Simatai

The Jinshanling portion of the Great Wall is completely restored, but since it is quite a long way from Beijing (2h30), it sees far fewer walkers than other sections. Begin from the Zhanduo Pass and walk past some unusual features, such as barrier walls (walls within the Great Wall).


Once you reach the 19th tower (“East Five Eyes Tower”) you’ll be in the western section of Simatai and this is where your walking on the Great Wall will end. Take a last look at the tremendous views over the surrounding mountain before returning to Beijing.


Walk: 6 km


Total Driving Time: 2H30


Overnight: Rong Yard Hotel, Beijing


Day 9: Onward Travel

A transfer brings you to Beijing Airport, from where you can make your onward journeys.

Accommodation

8 Nights accommodation in small hotels and guesthouses is included. These guesthouses and hotels are carefully selected for their great locations and the accommodation we normally use is detailed in the itinerary.  However if these particular places are not available it is possible that you will be booked into alternate hotels or guesthouses of the same standard.


Single Rooms

This trip is not available to solo walkers as it would be cost prohibitive. However single rooms for those that are travelling with others are available and a single supplement is payable.


Meals

8 Breakfasts are included in the cost. Your guide (when not in Beijing) will show you places where you can eat lunch or dinner. In your pre-departure Information Pack we provide restaurant recommendations for  Beijing.




Here are some examples of the accommodations we use:


 

 




Hotel Ron Yard - Beijing

This hotel is set deep in the heart of the “hutong” quarter and is located in a charming courtyard house. The air-conditioned rooms offer complimentary newspapers and tea/coffee and are individually decorated in traditional Chinese style.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Hotel Gukezhan - Juyongguan

This simple, Chinese-style hotel is situated right next to the Great Wall and has been specifically chosen for its excellent location.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Changsiyuan Guesthouse - Xishuiyu



Changsiyuan Guesthouse - Xishuiyu

Your guesthouse tonight is located in the village of Xishuiyu. You will be warmly welcomed and have a peaceful night’s sleep.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Xizhazi Guesthouse - Xizhazi Village



Xizhazi Guesthouse - Xizhazi Village

This village guesthouse is simply decorated, set within the village and all the rooms are clean and comfortable with ensuite bathrooms..


 

 

 


 

 

 



Laolikeezhan Guesthouse - Gubeikou Area



Laolikeezhan Guesthouse - Gubeikou Area

This guesthouse is located within a local farmhouse. It offers clean, comfortable and simply decorated rooms.


 

 

 

Availability

This trip is available to start on any day of the week between April and mid-November.


Time of Year

This tour can be taken any time within the dates available and will be enjoyable in the spring, summer or autumn. In the spring mountain flowers will be blooming and in the autumn the colours of the foliage is quite vibrant.


Grade & Terrain

At times the terrain is very challenging as there are stairs to climb which can become slippery when wet. This is particularly true of areas on the wall that are unrestored and there can be broken stairs, narrow and steep staircases and partially ruined watchtowers which can make the walking slow-going. There are also areas of the wall that have vertigo-inducing descents. You will need to be sure-footed with a great sense of balance to negotiate the more challenging sections.


This tour is rated moderate to strenuous. This rating is not due to the distance walked but rather based upon the steep elevation gains and losses along the wall and also the fact that, as mentioned previously, there are parts that are unrestored and therefore in poor condition. You will need to have a very good level of fitness to fully enjoy this tour.


Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

On this tour the local guide will walk with you at all times, therefore you will not be required to navigate.


Local Guide

A local guide will accompany you when exploring the Temple of Heaven in Beijing and will travel with you to the Great Wall and back to Beijing. Your guide will stay with you throughout while you walk along the Great Wall and visit other sights.


Baggage Transfers

Your baggage will be transferred with you from place to place. When you are walking your bags will be kept in the van/car with the driver and will always be secure. Please limit your luggage to 20kg per person.


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.


General Information

The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, gloves to help you negotiate some of the descents off the wall, and a day pack.

Getting to and from Beijing

Many international airlines fly to Beijing, such as British Airways, China Airlines and American Airlines.  Upon arrival you will be met by a local representative holding a sign and you will be transferred to your hotel. On your final day you will also receive a transfer to the airport from your hotel.


Included

  • 8 Nights in guesthouses and hotels
  • 8 Breakfasts
  • Certified English-speaking local guide
  • Transfers to and from Beijing Airport
  • Transfers as per the itinerary
  • Water, snacks and local fruits while hiking
  • Unlimited bottled water during the hikes
  • 24/7 phone support from our local partner and UK office

Excluded

  • Travel insurance (required)
  • Travel to and from Beijing
  • Lunches & Dinners
  • Visa(s)
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Personal equipment
  • Gratuities (for guide and driver)
  • Entrances to museums, etc

Extras

  • Additional nights
  • Single Room Supplement(s)

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as the region is extremely popular especially over the summer months. However, we will always try our best to accommodate your plans.

Do I need a visa for China? 

Most tourists visiting China require a Tourist Visa to enter the country and all travellers must have a passport valid for 6 months after their planned exit from China.

We have partnered with Visa Swift (for UK clients) and PVS Global (for US clients). You can visit their websites to find out the latest requirements for your destination or to make general enquiries. Please see more details here - http://www.macsadventure.com/visas

How fit do I need to be?

This tour is rated moderate to strenuous. This rating is not due to the distance walked but rather based upon the steep elevation gains and losses along the wall and also the fact that, as mentioned previously, there are parts that are unrestored and therefore in poor condition. You will need to have a very good level of fitness to fully enjoy this tour.

How do the baggage transfers work?

Your baggage will be transferred with you from place to place. When you are walking your bags will be kept in the van/car with the driver and will always be secure. Please limit your luggage to 20kg.

What equipment do I need?

Your detailed information pack will be sent to you after you book. This has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes and a day pack.

When is the best time of year?

We operate this tour between April and mid-November. The winter months are too wet and it can snow on the Great Wall, which make it extremely slippery and too dangerous to walk on at this time. Spring and Fall are excellent times to go.


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Macs Adventure - Head Office: Skypark 5, 45 Finnieston Street, Glasgow, G3 8JU, UK

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