China Part X: I Climbed the Great Wall

Early in the morning, our first itinerary was a tedious visit to a Jade Factory. It is located at the northern suburb of Beijing, near seventh exit of Badaling expressway. Upon entering a saleslady came to us and introduced herself and started her five-minute presentation. The group was given the chance to browse around. Hb and I checked out a bit the jadeite carvings and other kinds of jade jewelries such as necklaces, earrings and pendants. However, I always consider this kind of shopping a tourist trap.

Then we went to The GREAT WALL. I had seen the pictures of Great Wall of China and read about in history books during my college days. Since then, the Wall has fascinated me that I desired to have an up close and personal view.

on our way to the cable car
Our tour guides got our tickets and then we lined up and stepped up onto the cable car. We enjoyed the breathtaking views as the cable car ascended to its highest point. It was a foggy day but regardless it was quite a sight.

a tunnel leading to the entrance of the great wall

some stores near the entrance of the great wall
al fresco ambiance, guests can relax
and enjoy a light snack here

There are arched doors at the inner side of the wall with very little distance between each two doors. The arched doors lead you to the top of the wall by stone stairs.

Badaling was the earliest section to be open to the tourist among all the parts of the whole Great Wall. 130 million tourists from China and abroad have visited the Badaling; 370 foreign leaders and very important persons have come to climb Badaling successively.

It's true that Badaling section is the site most visited section of the Great Wall of China. Aside from being the closest of all the sections of the wall, I was surprised to see that it was chock-full of people. Hb and I had to squeeze our way through.

Some parts of the great wall are very steep, so I only went up a little way, and I had to pause from time to time to catch my breath. I let hb climbed and explore more the Great Wall. While I was resting alone, I saw a Caucasian guy that came down from the top; his t-shirt and short were soaked and covered with sweat. The heavy perspiration was streaming down from his body. He looked like he walked from southeast to northwest. I wonder where he got his extraordinary strength. :)

I saw this boy waiting for his dad to accompany him

It is said that the landscape of the Great Wall changes every season, with numerous scenery to catch your attention. A sunlit and enchanting scene of spring, with the valley covered with greens. When the rain from mountain comes, the vista will look vast and hazy. The sky in autumn is high with unsoiled stratosphere, while the maple forest is dyed in golden color. White snow covers the whole scene in winter.

The Wall of Badaling has a total length of 3,741 meters with an average height of 8 meters. The highest part is 15 meters. The total area for a tour is 19,000 square meters. The top of the wall can permit five horses to be ridden abreast.

There is also a large-scaled Great Wall of China Museum as well as the Great Wall National Theater from which you can get a full and complete view of the great wall.

At the ground level of The Great Wall, you can choose to dress up like a royal princess complete with a carriage (an open non-wheeled wooden chair typically carried by men). I was amused and entertained of the festive and noisy boisterous ceremonial parade. But beware though, they were charging ridiculously high fee for tourists. One of my group mates was charged for 300 Yuan (P2,100.00). Disagreement regarding the price started to emerge and they argued for a long time until they settled for 20 Yuan (P140.00). Oh jeez, just imagine the big disparity on the amount!

Update (2007)
: Great Wall of China is now one of the New Seven Wonders of the World which was officially declared last July 7, 2007 in Lisbon, Purtugal.


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AN ASIAN TRAVELER, Exploring Asia!