Visiting the Mutianyu Great Wall of China with a Private Car and Driver

Mutianyu Great Wall of China viewed from one of the towers
We visited the Great Wall of China during the 2017 Silk Road Summit (also known as the Belt and Road Forum). Meant to support China's efforts to revitalize trade in countries along the historic Silk Road, China's President Xi Jinping pulled out all the stops for visiting VIPs like Russia's Vladimir Putin. The Chinese government mandated factories in the region to shut down and there were bright blue skies over Beijing (something that never happens naturally according to locals and other bloggers I know who have visited. I like to think that Xi Jinping was rolling out the red carpet for Sidewalk Safari too during the Belt and Road Initiative :-) 

We took the opportunity to visit the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall with a private car and driver arranged with Ricky of Wild Great Wall. We couldn't believe our lucky timing for our visit to Beijing. We definitely felt like visiting VIPs because of the experience we had visiting the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall with Wild Great Wall

Visiting Mutianyu with Wild Great Wall

Wild Great Wall Driver giving us a pep talk via a mobile app on our way to the Mutianyu Great Wall of China
We first read about Wild Great Wall from our friend Alex and Bell at Wanderlust Marriage. 690 RMB (about $100 USD at the time of writing) buys a half day with a non-English speaking driver in a clean, mid-sized car. Communication was difficult but we did fine with our driver's translate app and the occasional quick call to Ricky whose English was very good. The cost includes Beijing city hotel pick up / drop off, our Chinese speaking driver, a 4-seat air-conditioned car, and the visit to Mutianyu, including parking, gas, and toll fees. The cost doesn't include entrance fees, transportation up and down from the wall itself or meals. Wild Great Wall also promises that there will be no factory / shopping stop, no hidden costs, and a quality time at the attraction. We were pleased with the transparency of communication and that we knew what lay in store for the day.

A Rocky Start with Random Road Closures

Traffic Jam in Beijing due to road closures during the Belt and Road Forum
Our Wild Great Wall driver picked us up at the Marriott City Wall Hotel at 7:30 am. The goal was to beat the morning commute traffic out of Beijing. Apparently, in addition to beautiful blue skies, the Belt and Road Forum had unintended consequences. With all the visiting dignitaries, the Chinese government instituted a series of unannounced road closures in the center of Beijing. The drive to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China normally takes 90 minutes. After 45 minutes of snaking in and out with our driver trying to find every possible short cut, we could still see our hotel

We finally positioned ourselves on one of the main ring roads pointed out of Beijing and were creeping along in a traffic jam. I'll admit, we were disheartened at this point. If things continued this way, it would be late afternoon before we made it to the Mutianyu Great Wall. We told the driver using his translate app that we thought we should cancel and try again tomorrow. If he could just drop us off at a metro station, we'd find our way back to the city center. Our driver then gave us what I can only describe as a pep talk via his translate app. He assured us that the worst of the traffic due to the Belt and Road Forum was behind us, this was now just regular commuter traffic, and that we were almost through it. If we could just hang on a little longer, we'd soon be enjoying ourselves and having an amazing experience at the Great Wall. In the end, we were so glad that he convinced us to hang in there! It took 3 hours to reach the Mutianyu Great Wall (about double the usual time).

Cable Car Ride to the Mutianyu Great Wall

Cable car up to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China
The Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China is elevated relative to the roads below. There are three ways to get up the wall: take a 45 minute uphill walk, ride a chair lift, or take the cable car. We heard from other bloggers that the 45 minute walk is grueling and that by the time you do that, you don't have any energy left to walk on the wall itself. That left us with the chair lift or cable car. I don't like heights and the chair lift is one of those exposed ski lift type arrangements. We paid about 100 RMB to ride the enclosed cable car up to the great wall. We were whisked to the top and enjoyed 10 minutes of stunning views on the way.

Having the Mutianyu Great Wall Nearly to Ourselves!

Mutianyu Great Wall of China
The cable car takes tourists up to Tower 14. We stepped onto the wall and the thing that surprised me the most was that I couldn't see another person. We practically had the Mutianyu Great Wall to ourselves. Apparently other tourists were either disheartened or delayed in getting to the Great Wall today. I was really glad at this point that our Wild Great Wall driver had convinced us to persevere with our road trip to the Great Wall that day! 
Mutianyu Great Wall of China
We were really glad that we heeded advice and took the cable car up. The Mutianyu Great Wall snakes up and downhill and the walk on the wall itself was tiring, especially since it was very warm when we visited and there is not a lot of shade during the walk.
Butterfly on the Mutianyu Great Wall of China

Great Wall Entrepreneurs

One of the guard towers on the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China
There are 24 towers comprising the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall. The towers were a great spot to cool off in the shade. We were concerned that the Mutianyu Great Wall would be covered in tourist tack with aggressive vendors trying to make a few yuan. I'm pleased to say that our fears were unfounded. There were no vendors at all on the wall itself. We did discover that a few Great Wall entrepreneurs had set up shop in the towers. Here they sold bottled water, sodas, and snacks to unprepared visitors for steeply marked up prices. Come prepared with plenty of bottled water and snacks. There aren't many opportunities to buy more at the Great Wall and the vendors that are there charge 5-10 times what you would see at a retail shop in Beijing. I laughed out loud when one vendor offered me a Coke for 60 RMB (about 10 USD at the time of writing)!

A Steep Climb

Climbing up to Tower 24 at the Mutianyu Section of the Great Wall of China
We walked from Tower 14 to Tower 24 in about an hour. This included plenty of photo stops. To reach the end of the Mutianyu Great Wall (at least the end as far as accessibility by tourists is concerned), we had to climb an incredibly steep staircase. We huffed and puffed our way to the top fighting vertigo along the way. The views from this vantage point were simply stunning.
Mutianyu Great Wall of China outside of Beijing

Entertaining Signage at the Great Wall

Funny translation from Chinese to English on the Mutianyu Section of the Great Wall of China
As we walked at a leisurely pace from Tower 24 to Tower 6, we encountered some entertaining translations along the way. Glass ladder rank, carefully slip and thus went down the mountain  were two of my favorites. There is definitely work to do on app and human-based translations between dialects of Chinese and English. In most cases, we could get the gist of what they meant: "thus went down the mountain" = "the toboggan is this way".
Funny translation from Chinese to English on the Mutianyu Section of the Great Wall of China

The Toboggan Ride Down

Toboggan station at the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China
For another 100 RMB, we opted to save time and take the toboggan ride down from the wall. We were seated in one person toboggans equipped with a hand brake and sent careening down a metal track. I thought it might be quite scary but in reality the toboggans didn't go that fast and the speed was controllable with the brake. This was the sort of over-the-top fun that I feared might ruin the experience at the Mutianyu Great Wall. We were impressed with the lengths went to to preserve the ancient look and feel. It's only outside the wall and well-hidden from view that modern conveyances and tourist tack can be seen.

Have you visited the Great Wall of China? What section did you visit? How did you get there? How was your experience? Leave a comment and let us know!

Disclaimer: Wild Great Wall gave us a half price discount on our tour in exchange for a post/review. However, the views expressed here are entirely my own.

Did you enjoy this post? Sharing is caring...

Visiting the Mutianyu Great Wall of China During the Belt and Road Forum with a Private Car and Driver

COMMENTS

Name

#DrJSabbatical #pigsonparade #SligoFoodTrail #tasteoftravel 1916 Rebellion a City Break Absolut Fringe Adelaide Adriatics Africa Agra Aix-en-Provence Alameda Alamo Square Alfama Algarve Alliance Francaise Americas Amnesty Amsterdam Andolu Kavagi Android Ann Arbor Antwerp Argentina Arizona Art Gallery Arthur's Day Asia Asia Pacific Athens Augsburg AUNZ AUNZ_Archive Auschwitz Austin Australia Austria Auto Awesome Avignon Baixa Baltics Bangkok Barcelona Barrio Alta Basel Basque Basque Country Bath Bazaar Beijing Belem Belfast Belgium Bellagio Bergamo Berlin Bern Bernal Heights Best of Beyond Dublin Bidart Big Island Bird Watching Birmingham Blackrock Market bleisure Bloco de Dublin Blogger Fiesta BloggerFiesta Bologna Bonn Boston Brad Pitt Bray Brighton Bristol Bruges Brussels BTW Bucharest Budapest Buffalo California Camargue Cambodia Cambridge Canada Canary Islands Cannes Cannonball Cannonball Run Canterbury Cape Town Carcassonne Cardiff Carnival Castro Catalonia Catalunya Cats Central Europe Central Richmond Chemistry China Chinatown Christmas Christmas Market City Break Itinerary Civic Center Cobh Coffee cole valley Cologne Comedy Club Commute Chronicles Connemara Copenhagen Cork Costa Brava County Kerry Cow Hollow Critical Mass Croatia Culture Night Cyprus Czech Republic Dalkey Dalkey Castle Danang Delft Delhi Den Haag Denmark Denver Derry Diamond Head Disneyland Dolores Heights Donegal Dover Downtown Dresden Dublin Dublin Castle Dublin Culture Night Dublin_Archive Dubrovnik Ducks Dun Laoghaire Dusseldorf Eastern Europe Edinburgh Eindhoven England Eruption Estonia Europe Europe_Archive Evora Fado Fall Foliage Faro Faversham Festival Film Film Festival Financial District Finland Fisherman's Wharf Flanders Florida Flugtag Food France Frankfurt French Riviera Fringe Fringe Festival Galway Gandhi Gdansk Gdynia Georgian Dublin Germany GhostBus Gig Girona Glasgow Glen Park Golden Gate Park Google Plus Granada Grand Canal Greece Greece and Cyprus Guest Posts Guiness Storehouse Guinness Gurgaon Half Moon Bay Halloween Hamburg Hangzhou Hanoi Hawaii Hayes Valley HCMC Helsinki Hermanus Hilo Ho Chi Minh City Hobart Hoi An Holland Honolulu Hula Hungary Hurling Hyderabad Ice Cream Sandwich Iceland ICS India Inner Richmond Inner Sunset Ireland Ireland_Archive Istanbul Italy Itinerary Izmir Jackson Square Jaipur Japan Japantown Johannesburg Kaunas Kenmare Kilauea Kilkenny Kilkenny Cats Killarney Kiluaea Kona Krakow Kuala Lumpur Kyoto Lake Como Lake Street Languedoc Lanzarote Las Fallas Las Vegas Latvia Laurel Heights Leeds Leinster Leipzig Lemesos Let's French 2011 Liechtenstein Limerick Lincoln's Inn Lisbon Lithuania Liverpool Lloret de Mar London Los Angeles Louisiana Lower Pacific Heights Lübeck Lucerne Lyon Mackintosh Madeira Madrid Mainz Malaga Malaysia Mallorca Malta Manchester Marina Marrakech Marrakesh Marseille Massachusetts Mdina Med Melbourne Menton Milan Mission Bay Mission Dolores Modena Monaco Monte Carlo Montenegro Monterey Montpellier Morocco Munich Munster Music NA_Archive Naples Netherlands New Orleans New Year 2011 New Year Festival New Years Eve 2010 New York New Zealand Nice Nicosia Nob Hill Noe Valley NOPA Nordics Normandy Norrkoping North America North Beach Northern Ireland Nuremberg Oahu Oakland Oktoberfest Oliwa Olympics On The Road Osaka Outer Richmond Outer Sunset Oxford Pacific Heights Padua Palafrugell Palma Panorama Paphos Paris Parma Pearl Harbor Pennsylvania Perth Philadelphia Pingyao Pittsburgh Poland Porto Portugal Potrero Hill Prague Presidio Presidio Heights Pride Provence Queensland Rabat RAF2010 Rainbow Ranelagh Ranelagh Arts Festival Recent Red Bull Regensburg Reims Restaurant Review Reykjavik Riga Ring of Kerry Rochester Roman Ruins Romania Rome Rotterdam Rugby Russia Russian Hill Salt Lake City Samba San Diego San Francisco San Sebastian Sand Castles Santa Cruz Scandinavia Science Gallery Science Museum Scotland Seattle Segovia Seoul Seville SF - Further Afield SF_Archive Shakespeare Shave Ice Sicily Siem Reap Silent Film Festival Singapore Sintra Sligo Snow SOMA Sonoma Sopot South Africa South America South Beach South Korea South San Francisco Soweto Spain SPWC St. Petersburg Stellenbosch Stirling Stockholm Strasbourg Street Performance Stuttgart Sultanahmet Sweden Switzerland Sydney Tallinn Tasmania Tavira TBEX Telegraph Hill Temple Bar Tenderloin TenderNob Tenerife Texas Thailand Thames Festival The Haight The Kruger The Mission Theatre ThisIsAthens Tipperary Tokyo Toledo Toronto Toulouse Trad Trad Sessions Transylvania Trinity College Turkey UBTD10 Uganda UK Ulster Bank Theater Festival Union Square United States Uruguay Utrecht Vacation Rental Valencia Valletta Venice Vienna Vietnam Vilnius Volcano Volcanoes National Park Waikiki Wales Walking Walking Tour Warsaw Washington Waterford Western Addition Western Australia Westerplatte Westfield Where's Wally? Whiskey Whitsundays Wicklow Wine Tasting Wisconsin World Record World War II Wroclaw WWI WWII Xi'an York Ypsilanti Zurich
false
ltr
item
Sidewalk Safari: Visiting the Mutianyu Great Wall of China with a Private Car and Driver
Visiting the Mutianyu Great Wall of China with a Private Car and Driver
Experience blue skies over the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China during the 2017 Belt and Road Forum with a private car and driver. A photo-rich post by travel blogger, Jennifer (aka Dr. J) from Sidewalk Safari.
https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-IjwHTLVTUMM/WWIDrx0HxMI/AAAAAAABH8s/td-_Na6S-1YQMXxaeHnwugU7fjqFAH0UgCKgBGAs/s640/IMG_3902PROCESSED.jpg
https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-IjwHTLVTUMM/WWIDrx0HxMI/AAAAAAABH8s/td-_Na6S-1YQMXxaeHnwugU7fjqFAH0UgCKgBGAs/s72-c/IMG_3902PROCESSED.jpg
Sidewalk Safari
https://www.sidewalksafari.com/2017/09/mutianyu-great-wall-beijing-brf.html
https://www.sidewalksafari.com/
https://www.sidewalksafari.com/
https://www.sidewalksafari.com/2017/09/mutianyu-great-wall-beijing-brf.html
true
2802498442123035908
UTF-8
Not found any posts VIEW ALL Read more Reply Cancel reply Delete By Home PAGES POSTS View All RECOMMENDED FOR YOU LABEL ARCHIVE SEARCH ALL POSTS Not found any post match with your request Back Home Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat January February March April May June July August September October November December Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec just now 1 minute ago $$1$$ minutes ago 1 hour ago $$1$$ hours ago Yesterday $$1$$ days ago $$1$$ weeks ago more than 5 weeks ago Followers Follow THIS CONTENT IS PREMIUM Please share to unlock Copy All Code Select All Code All codes were copied to your clipboard Can not copy the codes / texts, please press [CTRL]+[C] (or CMD+C with Mac) to copy