Explore the Great Wall of China at Badaling on foot before taking to the air! Fly over the Great Wall in a helicopter for breathtaking views from above as you take in the sheer scale of this massive ancient fortification—perfect for those with a sense of adventure! Admire the impressive stone guardians of the Ming Tombs on the Spirit Way and then head back to downtown Beijingto check out the unique architecture of the city's most famous Olympic landmark—the unmistakable Bird's Nest Stadium.
Sacred Way, Bird's Nest Stadium & Great Wall Helicopter & Walking Day Tour (Group)
Minimum adult travelers: 1
As China's most recognizable icon, no visit to Beijing is complete without a trip to the Great Wall of China. On arriving in Beijing, many people are surprised to discover that the Great Wall of China is not one continuous wall running the length of the country but is, in fact, made up of many small sections scattered across the northern parts of the country. It served to protect the Chinese heartland from the barbarian hordes of the north and though much is attributed to Emperor Qin Shi Huang (221-201 BC), in large part, it was built up during subsequent dynasties, most recently during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The most popular parts of the Great Wall near Beijing are Badaling and Mutianyu, but there are many others to be explored, including Simatai, Jinshanling, and, for the more adventurous traveler, Shixiaguan, also known as the Secret Great Wall.
The Mutianyu segment of Great Wall is located about 70 km (44 mi) from Beijing and connects with Juyong Guan (Juyong Pass) to the west, and the Gubei Kou (Gubei Gate) to the east—two of the Wall's key strategic points. Mutianyu is a nice choice for a Beijing Great Wall expedition that's not too terribly crowded and is fairly accessible and easy on the knees (if you opt for a cable car ascent).
Badaling is the most popular section of Beijing's Great Wall, located a comfortable 70 km (44 mi) drive away along a modern expressway. Constructed during the Ming Dynasty, Badaling underwent extensive reconstruction during the 1950s and 1980s, allowing visitors to see the monument's watchtowers and mighty bulk in all their pristine glory snaking off across the hills.
With all the extras and this site's popularity, those seeking a less crowded and commercialized experience may want to head further out to Simatai, Jinshanling or other spots. But for those on a tight schedule who want to get in a visit to a prime length of the Great Wall, a Badaling day trip is an excellent option. Despite all the commercial trappings and crowds, a walk along the Badaling wall can be a stunning experience.
7:30-8:00 a.m. Beijing hotel pickup
Drive to the Great Wall of China at Badaling. (1.5 hours)
9:30 a.m. Great Wall of China at Badaling
The Great Wall of China at Badaling is the most famous and also the most visited section of the Great Wall. Despite extensive reconstructions of this particular section, a visit to this massive Ming-era fortification is always a stunning experience. You'll have time to explore and climb the wall, taking in fabulous views of its watchtowers and the surrounding countryside. As you gaze out at the wall snaking its way into the distance, you'll get an idea of the sheer vastness of this ancient structure. For those who don't feel like climbing, an optional cable car can be taken at your own expense. (2 hours)
11:30 a.m. Drive to Badaling Airport
Hop on a helicopter at Badaling Airport for a Great Wall tour with a difference. This 15-minute helicopter tour will give you a bird's eye view of the wall and its surrounds. Besides presenting you with spectacular photo opportunities and putting the huge scale of the wall truly in perspective, it's a fun and exhilarating experience.
12:30 p.m. Lunch
Enjoy a traditional Chinese lunch. (1 hour)
1:30 p.m. Sacred Way
After lunch, continue on to the Sacred Way, otherwise known as the Spirit Way. This 7 km (5 mi) road, lined on both sides with impressive stone statues of guardian animals, mythological creatures and officials, leads to the world-famous Ming Tombs. If the statues aren't enough, you can also admire its large archway and enormous stele pavilion. (40 minutes)
4:00 p.m. Return to Beijing
Drive back to downtown Beijing where you'll be able to take in fabulous views of the Bird's Nest Stadium. With a distinctive exterior made up of large numbers of intertwined steel pieces, this conspicuous construction is the most famous of Beijing's Olympic structures. (20 minutes)
5:00 p.m. Return to hotel