The Great Wall (Beijing 07.13)
No trip to Beijing (or in fact, China) is complete without a trip to the Great Wall. I'd lived in Beijing for nearly a year before I finally made the trek out to the Great Wall. It wasn't that I hadn't wanted to go, I'd simply been waiting for my family to visit me so we could go together.
After much discussion over which section of the wall to climb, we decided to go to Badaling.
This is probably the most famous and definitely the most photographed section of the wall. There is convenient transportation from Beijing and the fact that it is one of the easiest sections of the Wall to hike along also means its the favourite among tourists. Since it has been well managed, it is also one of the safest parts of the wall to visit.
We were told that it would be teeming with tourists but it really wasn't that bad and we had a great time clambering around. It was a very hot day when we went which might explain why there weren't many people there - it was upwards of 30 degrees Celsius!
If you choose to go, make sure you take adequate clothing and footwear. Also, bring a lot of bottled water - you're going to need it. There are stalls at the base of the wall which sell water but you'll end up paying 5x the normal price (or more on a hot day....much much more!)
If you have the time or you're a more confident hiker, it's definitely worth checking out some of the less well known sites like Simatai and Jinshanling. These sections haven't been restored in places so are markedly more dangerous but I've been told the views are beyond spectacular. If I get the chance to go back to the Wall on my own (or with friends who are up for a physical challenge), I'll be sure to check these out!