Great Wall at Badaling on our Graduation Trip to China
by Anni Ke
One of the most memorable stops on my senior class trip to China was the Badaling section of the Great Wall. I chose to climb the left side (easier climb) because I have some knee problems and I was accompanied by my elderly english teacher and her daughter.
The climb took us a few hours, though we were going at a leisurely pace and stopping to take many photos along the way, and the weather was rather rainy. We didn't have any problems with the climb.
I saw many families with young children and they didn't have any major problems. Bring plenty of water. Note that strollers probably won't make it up the stairs and very young children might not want to continue all the way to the top.
This section is also lighted at night, and the view is amazing, though it is very hard to get descent photos without special equipment.
The traffic on the way over was very heavy (some construction workers were having lunch in the road!), though the crowds at the wall were not that bad. Like everywhere else there were people who wanted to take pictures with tourists - friendly but a bit strange after a while. Plan extra time to get there, and try not to go near/on major holidays.
The climb was not particularly difficult, though my friends who chose to climb the more difficult side on the right complained of having to scale near-vertical pathways and stairs taller than they were. The left side did not become so steep and had guard rails. There are patches of stairs, but they are very uneven and do not span the length of the wall.
Incorrectly translated signs were very amusing (Sleep Slope is in Frontage!), and as I speak basic Chinese I had several interesting conversations with other tourists, locals, and sellers. Purchasing post cards may be a good idea as blue sky is very hard to come by (in the week I was in Beijing the best I got was light gray).
The view from the wall was spectacular, especially at the top section. Incredibly green trees and shrubs bordered by misty mountains in the distance. The wall appeared impressive even from the bus windows. The castle like battlements at the top of each hill were great places to stop and look around and take pictures. I loved the view of the mountains in the distance and the corridors in the stone battlements. I got some great shots inside the stone-work, using the shadows and light from the castle-like windows.
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