Day 1: Fly from London Heathrow to Beijing. Transfer to the hotel.
Day 2: Day to relax and sightsee in Beijing. There will be a briefing by the guides in the evening.
Day 3: Beijing-Shixiaguan-Badaling (Lunch and dinner. 8km/6miles, 5 hours)
Collection from the hotel by the guide and a drive to the Badaling section of the Great Wall. After about 2-3 hours of hiking, we’ll cross over into Shixiaguan (Stone Gorge) Pass. The Shixiaguan Pass was originally built in the reign of Ming Emperor Wanli (about 1600 AD), which was then a key pass guarded by a large number of soldiers. Today there are sites such as the official residence, the ancient castle, clay walls and brick walls in the village. After our hike we will drive to the village of Huanghuacheng for overnight accommodation.
Day 4: Huanghuacheng-Xishuiyu (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. 8 kms/6 miles, 3-4 hours)
Our trek continues from Huanhuacheng to Xishuiyu. Huanghuacheng is fast becoming popular with hikers and tourists who are looking for something a little different in their Great Wall experience. The wall here is a combination of both restored and unrestored areas, giving your hike a little more variety and adventure. When you reach the middle of the wall you will be able to see that the countryside is swathed in yellow, as masses of wild flowers come into bloom. We will then cross over onto the Xishuiyu section.
Today’s hike views are a very special part of the wall as its under water! In 1974 China built the Xishuiyu Reservoir, and when the water level rose, some low-lying sections of the wall were submerged under water. Seen from the dam of the reservoir, this stately sunken wall is still visible under the water’s smooth and glimmering surface. Following our hike we will drive back to our inn in Huanghuacheng village for the night.
Day 5: Huanghuacheng-Jiankou Trekking (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner - 3 to 4 hours of hiking) Today we drive to Jiankou Great Wall, which is around 3 hours through the stunning countryside or so. Our hike today will take about 4 hours and will cover 10km/ 6 miles. Jiankou is translated as 'Arrow Nock' in English, for the shape of the mountain is like an arrow, with the collapsed ridge opening as its arrow nock. The Jiankou section is known for its ruggedness and wild beauty, and you will be in awe of the marvellous views it affords. As soon as we reach Jiankou we will see a deserted watchtower that gives you a panoramic view of the entire valley. Following our hike of Jiankou we will scale down the wall where we will spend the night at a farmer’s inn. The farmer’s family will prepare for you a dinner of traditional Chinese dishes.
Day 6: Jiankou-Mutianyu (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. 4 hours of hiking)
Today we scale the mountain to reach the Jiankou Great Wall. After hiking for about 2-3 hours we will cross over onto Mutianyu, a section of the wall that has been largely restored. You can either hike, take a cable car or a toboggan ride (highly recommended, and lots of fun!) down to meet our driver. We will then drive to Gubeikou Great Wall to spend the night and sleep in Gubeikou Village. This will offer you a chance to experience the true lives of Chinese farmers. You'll have the chance to learn Chinese traditional paper-cutting and make your own dumplings.
Day 7: Gubeikou-Jinshanling (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. 10 km, 4-5 hours of hiking)
Gubeikou Great Wall occupies a strategically important location, which is difficult to access. Situated between Shanhaiguan Pass and Juyongguan Pass there are 14 beacon towers, 143 watchtowers, 16 strategic passes, 3 citadels and many other military constructions. Many of them are famous cultural relics, such as the Big Flower Beacon Tower of the Northern Qi Dynasty, Fairy Tower, General Tower, and the dominant Wangjing Tower.
Following our day of hiking on the Great Wall we'll take you to have a gorgeous Chinese countryside-style dinner at Mr. Duan's Restaurant. Mr. Duan is a famous Great Wall photographer and is the winner of several national photographing competitions. His wife and her niece will cook traditional Chinese dishes and dumplings for you. Mrs. Duan will serve you Kong Pao Chicken, Stewed beef and potato, Green Pepper and Pork, Fried Tofu in Spicy Sauce, Fried Egg Tomato, Sweet and Sour Chicken, and lots of vegetables (great for vegetarians), and soup. She changes her menu daily, so you may have different dishes from the above. What's more important is that all the vegetables she uses are planted in her garden, so it is organic and fresh! Rice and Chinese dumpling are also fresh and of genuine local flavour. Beer and other drinks are free!
Before it gets dark, we'll set up our tents and other equipment in a watch tower. We'll prepare the necessary camping facilities such as sleeping bags so you don't have to bring anything but yourself. If you prefer sleeping in a local hostel or a farmer's house, you certainly can without extra charge.
Day 8: Jianshanling-Second Valley (the West Wing of Simatai) –Beijing (Breakfast and Lunch, 8 km, 3 hours of hiking)
The first thing we'll do today is to watch the magnificent sunrise early in the morning. After a hearty breakfast we will resume our hike on Jinshanling's right wing. If you are looking for breath-taking views with a relatively peaceful walk, then the Second Valley of Jinshanling can't be better, so we hope that you remembered to bring your camera!
In addition to the gorgeous scenery on your hike, you'll also get to see how the wall was designed for practical purposes, that being the defence against outer enemies and how the Great Wall was supposed to keep them out. There are 'obstacle-walls' built perpendicular to the parapets - a feature quite unique to the Second Valley part of Jinshanling Great Wall. These 'walls-within-walls' were used for defence against enemies who might have succeeded in scaling the outer wall. The steps of the Great Wall at Second Valley are rather steep and rocky with loose stones at times. It is important to choose comfortable footwear with a good grip and support for the feet.
After about 2-3 hours of hiking on Second Valley, we’ll again meet up with our van and you’ll be taken back to Beijing, where you will be dropped off at your hotel.
Day 9: Breakfast and full day to relax and enjoy Beijing. Night in a hotel
Day 10: Breakfast and transfer to the airport for a return flight back to London.
Day 11: Land in the UK
The Great Wall of China, one of the Seven modern wonders of the world and one of the greatest technological achievements of mankind, has long held the imagination of writers, scientists, soldiers, and now of course, travellers and adventurers. Within its countless bricks and watchtowers lies the boundless spirit of 2000 years’ worth of Chinese civilisation. This challenge is physically demanding but offers fabulous, never ending scenery and a fascinating insight into a rich culture and history.
This is a porter assisted trek therefore you will only be asked to carry a small lightweight day pack. Each group is led by a fully qualified National Park Mountain Guide assisted by porters and cooks. During the hotel stay a representative of the trekking company is always on hand for advice, and they are incredibly accommodating, courteous and friendly.
The cost of the trip is £2,495. There is a £250 trip deposit (non-refundable or transferable) to book your place. The remaining balance is payable in several manageable instalments between the time of booking and the time of departure.
The price is all inclusive; covering accommodation, flights, transfers, guides, porters, cooks and all food throughout your expedition. The price also covers the training weekend in the Forest of Dean. The only costs not included are VISAs, insurance and Beijing lunches and drinks.
A training weekend in the Forest of Dean is provided for all Great Wall of China participants. The weekend provides an opportunity for the whole team to get to know each other prior to your departure.
Due to the nature of this trip groups sizes are restricted to 8-12 people per expedition. The group will be decided on a first come, first served basis, so get your deposits in early to secure your place!
For a private expedition (2 persons or more) you are welcome to choose your own dates throughout the year.
Please be aware that the best times to trek in China are May to September. A private expedition does have many advantages as you have complete flexibility of trip dates and itinerary.
You can also extend your trip length or if required, shorten it slightly. The trip cost is also the same as our scheduled expeditions.
Dates: June 2020
Duration: 12+ days
(all inclusive expedition, flights hotel etc.)
Our 2020 expedition dates are:
Monday 15th June to Thursday 25th June 2020.