The Great Wall (Directions)
The Great Wall has a few different tourist locations (or sections) outside of Beijing. The one I went to is called Mutianyu (Chinese characters: 慕田峪). It’s located in Huairou (怀柔), a district in the north of Beijing. I’ve been to Mutianyu twice and the general consensus is that it’s the more authentic and less touristy choice for Great Wall visitors.
These directions are from Beijing city to The Great Wall (Mutianyu)
By Public Transportation
- Take Subway Line 13 or Line 2 to Dongzhimen (东直门).
- Go out Exit F or B (whichever you see first) and follow signs for the bus transfer hall. It’s part of a large underground transport hub.
- Once in the bus transfer hall, look for the sign for Bus 916.
- You will be taking the 916 Express (in Chinese 916快). Make sure to get on the Express and not the regular 916!
- Sit back and enjoy the ride for about 1 hour.
- After a long stretch of highway, you will be entering a town called Huairou (怀柔).
- Get off at Beidajie (北大街). You can ask the driver to let you know. (NOTE: It’s not the end of the world if you miss this stop. There will be cars for hire waiting at several bus stops all over Huairou)
- The bus doors will open to a barrage of drivers asking to take people to the Great Wall. Take your pick.
- It’s about a 20km drive and should take just under 30 minutes. Standard fare is around 20-30 RMB per person (the bigger your group, the less it’ll cost per person). Make sure you agree to a fare (and be specific on whether it’s total cost or per person!) before you get in the car.
- Once at the Great Wall, the driver will likely ask you if you want him to wait there and drive you back to Huairou when you’re done. He’ll charge you for waiting time (we paid 80 RMB for a 4 hour wait). There’s really no need to do this unless you plan on staying real late or if you just really dig your driver. There are always cars there to take you back.
Another Bus Option
There is a Bus 867 that goes direct from Dongzhimen to the Wall. It has a strict time table and takes a bit longer than the 916 Express + car for hire option. You can get more info HERE.