The Great Wall of China is one of those iconic locations you have to visit at least once in your lifetime.
Recently I had an opportunity to make this dream become a reality.
You will find within this blog post all the information about how I managed to visit the Great Wall of China on a stopover at Beijing airport.
This was possible without a visa whilst on a 72-hour International transfer flight.
I’ll explain here how I managed to put the whole trip together so you can too:
Travel with a tour company like Great wall hiking
Visiting the Great Wall of China is easy to do, but with limited time on a stopover trip, you want to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible.
That was my reason for booking with the travel agency Great Wall Hiking.
They offer a private guide and transfer service directly from Beijing airport.
They’re able to manage day visitors on a Stopover and return you to the airport on the same day.
Great Wall Hiking is happy to assist those who have a spare 24 hours to make it possible.
They will give you further information on how to get your 72-hour visa-free stamp along with waiting for you at the airport.
The moment you land, they offer a swift transfer from the airport to the Great Wall of China.
They do multiple day hikes along the Great Wall of China and over quicker day visits for those on a stopover like myself.
You can enter China visa-free for up to 72 hours
Did you know you can enter China for free without having to buy a visa?
It’s called a temporary transit waiver and is a great workaround if you wish to enter China without getting a visa in advance.
This is perfect for travellers who like to do a fun stopover on their next trip.
When you arrive at Beijing airport, you can find the 72-hour temporary visa line on the left-hand side of the standard immigration line.
You will have to join both lines but must first go to the temporary visa line to get your forms filled in before entering China.
Fly with Air China from London Heathrow to Beijing, China
For this trip to hike the Great Wall of China, I travelled by Air China.
This was my first flight with the airline, and I enjoyed the journey and its incredible value for money.
Air China fly from London Heathrow to Bangkok, Thailand via Beijing, China allowing you to make the most out of a stopover in China if you extend your connection flight.
I know that London to Bangkok via Beijing is a bit of a detour, but you can break up your flight with a layover, and the price was relatively affordable.
The chance to hike the Great Wall of China was a bonus to the trip.
I paid around £320 for a return flight ticket from London to Bangkok via Beijing.
The flight included food and drink (Beer on offer) as well as additional luggage.
This made it an affordable flying option, and I found the service onboard to be great.
You get what you pay for, and it was great value for money.
Take the cable cart to the top of the Great Wall of China
Head to the top of the Great Wall of China by cable cart to save time.
You can walk to the top of the Great Wall of China by using the steps, but if, like me, you’re short of time, the quickest way to reach the top is by cable cart.
The cable cart will cost extra, but you will save valuable time and not miss an incredible sunset.
If you wish to take this option, your Great wall Hiking guide will cover your ticket booking for the cable cart and help with the translation.
My assigned private guide from Great Wall Hiking spoke excellent English and was very helpful with local language translation, which was a massive help on the trip.
Great Wall Hiking: One-day at Mutianyu
On my visit to the Wall, I visited the Mutianyu section, one of the easiest to reach areas and most popular.
The Great Wall at Mutianyu served as the northern barrier defending the capital and imperial tombs in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).
This section is surrounded by woodland and streams.
It is a section restored in the early 1980s. However, it retains the original feature of the ancient defence system.
It’s easy to access being 45 miles away from Beijing and Beijing airport.
Mutianyu offers a wonderfully satisfying experience of the Wall
If it’s your first time to the Great Wall of China, you will first choose which entrance you would like to access the Wall from.
I went for the Mutianyu entrance, the most popular entrance as it was my first visit and I was short of time.
Each part of the Wall is different and depends on how much time you have to visit. You could spend weeks hiking along the Great Wall of China; it’s up to you to pick how you wish to experience the Wall.
Mutianyu entrance has superb scenery, dense vegetation and many fine watchtowers in an excellent restored section about six meters broad.
The brickwork is elaborate, with crenelations on both sides and finely curved eaves on some watchtower roofs.
There are decorative gables with animal statues and tablets bearing calligraphy above some entrances.
Mutianyu entrance has Lots to see and do and is perfect for a quick and straightforward stopover trip like mine.
Enjoying an incredible sunset at the Great Wall of China
The big reason why I wanted to get up to the top of the Wall as quick as possible was to catch the sunset before it set.
This allowed me to get some great photos and capture China’s Great Wall in all its glory.
What an incredible once in a lifetime moment to enjoy a sunset over the Great Wall of China. The views are truly magnificent.
Take a luge ride to speed up your trip to the bottom of the Great Wall of China
If you have some spare time, the quickest way down the Great Wall of China is funny enough by taking a Luge ride.
Grab this thrill ride by the horns and race down the track to reach the bottom of the Wall.
You will end up where you started by the cable cart up which you took up.
This is a fun way to remember your time at the Great Wall of China.
Be sure not to miss out on this fun ride to the bottom.
Eat by the Great Wall of China before returning to Beijing airport hotel
Yes, you can find a Burger King at the entrance to the Great Wall of China (I wish I were joking!).
If you happen to be in the mood for a more local Chinese dish and want to try some traditional Chinese food, be sure to check out one of the famous handmade dumpling shops before returning to the airport.
Fill your belly with this delicious local dish before embarking on the long journey ahead to your next destination.
I’d recommend eating here as ordering food from the airport hotel could be tricky. Breakfast might be included, so if you sort out Dinner, that’s one less thing to worry about.
Book an over night hotel at Beijing airport
I have to admit that I did fall asleep in the car to and from the Great Wall of China.
After travelling over 10 hours from London without hardly any sleep on the flight, I felt the jet lag slump.
But that’s fine as my goal was to hike the Great Wall of China and then crash at a hotel, have a shower before my next onwards flight to Bangkok.
You can find many airport hotels such as Mumiam Beijing Daxing International Airport, and a lot of them include airport transfers included in the price to ensure that you can get back to the airport safely.
My guide kindly dropped me off at my airport hotel and booked my morning transfer bus for me in the morning to avoid missing my onward flight to Bangkok.
At this point, I do need to mention that Beijing airport is expanding, so do expect and plan on additional waiting time at passport control to make your flight on time.
The earlier you arrive, the better to ensure you have plenty of time to make your connection flight.
Thank you for reading my blog post about hiking the Great Wall of China
Thank you for reading my blog post about how to hike the Great Wall of China on a Beijing airport stopover.
I’m happy that I booked my trip with Great Wall hiking as they took care of me every step of the way.
They saved me loads of time by getting me onto the Great Wall of China quickly.
They used their crucial knowledge and skills to help everything go as smoothly as possible.
It was a great day trip, and I highly recommend it for those looking at doing the same.
Have an enjoyable time hiking along the Great Wall of China.