Take in amazing mountain scenery from atop watch and guard towers, and see the Great Wall snake endlessly into the distance. Discover the Great Wall without the crowds, with walks along segments that haven’t been touched since their construction under the Ming dynasty. Visit one of China’s most incredible burial sites at the Eastern Qing Tombs, the final resting place of five powerful Chinese emperors. The quintessential image of China is the imposing Great Wall – trek along three different sections of one of the world’s most iconic landmarks
In 2009, the Great Wall of China officially became even longer. A two-year study employing infrared and GPS technology revealed nearly 300 kilometres of wall that had previously been obscured by the hilly landscape. These sections were built between the 14th and 17th centuries during the Ming dynasty, but were buried by sandstorms over the years.
Independent travel, without the stress. Peregrine’s Independent Experiences are a range of short ‘mini tours’ that you can add to other Experiences or as an extension to a longer tour, to craft your perfect holiday itinerary. Independent Experiences are for 1-3 travellers, come accompanied by a local Peregrine guide and depart daily.
TRIP CHANGES FOR 2018:
From 1st January 2018 this itinerary will no longer be offered as an Independent Experience. For another great itinerary that visits Beijing, see our Yangzi & Beyond (PCYB) trip.
Breakfast Included: 4 Lunches Included: 3 Lunches Included: 2
Ni hao! Welcome to China. A Beijing airport or train station arrival transfer is included, please provide your flight/train details at the time of booking, or no later than 14 days prior to travel. Once you have provided your details a transfer representative will be booked to meet you and transfer you to your hotel. Your local guide will meet and greet you at the hotel upon your arrival, where they will advise you on your departure time for the Great Wall tomorrow. The remainder of today is at your leisure in Beijing, so you can start your explorations of this vast and amazing city. Perhaps track down a bargain at one of the many markets, see the hutongs and back lanes of Beijing by rickshaw, explore Tiananmen Square or find a great restaurant for Peking duck.
Jinshanling – Gubeikou
No trip to China is complete without a walk on the Great Wall, an incredible piece of engineering that stretches over 6,000 km from the eastern coast of China all the way to the mountain ridges north of Beijing. Originally constructed to protect the Chinese empires from the Mongolian 'barbarians' of the north, the Wall ultimately failed in its purpose but remains a poignant reminder of the power of the Middle Kingdom. You will set off on your Great Wall adventure this morning. Travel by private vehicle to the Jinshanling section of the Great Wall to start your trek. A guide will either meet you here and will stay with you for two nights, or travel with you from the hotel. The trek takes 5-6 hours and has some very steep parts and narrow paths, so make sure you have strong, comfortable shoes with good grip. Your guide will provide a picnic lunch, which you carry yourselves. The walk from Jinshanling to Gubeikou is spectacular. It follows the original unreconstructed wall, with many steep, crumbling staircases and ruined watchtowers that are overgrown with vegetation along the way. At Jinshanling, the wall zigzags up the steep terrain and straddles peaks like a suspension bridge so be prepared for some tough going. All in all, it's a demanding day but also a very rewarding one, particularly on a clear day when you can see range after range of mountains unfolding in the distance. Tonight you’ll stay in a basic local guesthouse, where you’ll have delicious simple dishes for dinner.
Wohushan - Taipingzhai - Huangyaguan
Today you will continue your trek to Wohushan (Crouching Tiger Mountains) Great Wall. This section of the Wall stretches for more than 25 miles, there are 14 beacon towers, 143 watchtowers, 16 strategic passes and 3 citadels. The section has not been restored since the 16th century and, though some towers and sections are in nearly perfect condition, in some places nature has begun to reclaim and intertwine with the wall. The highlight of Wohushan section is the ‘Sister Towers’, two watchtowers that at the riverside look like two sisters standing by the river hand-in-hand. You’ll walk for around 2-3 hours here, with spectacular views showing the wall snaking endlessly into the distance, before driving 2-3 hours onto the Taipingzhai section. Stop for lunch on the way and then in the afternoon, trek for approximately 1.5-2 hours down to the Huangyaguan section, built on such steep parts of the mountain that the wall can look like it’s going straight up (or down). Taipingzhai is home to a variety of different types of watchtowers, most notably the Guafu (Widow) Tower, built during the Ming Dynasty from money donated by the widows of frontier soldiers in remembrance of their loved ones. It takes about 1 hour to drive to tonight’s accommodation after your day of trekking. You will have dinner either at a local restaurant on the way, or at the hotel.
Eastern Qing Tombs - Beijing
After breakfast today you are transferred by private vehicle to the Eastern Qing Tombs ( The Eastern Qing Tombs are the final resting place of 5 emperors: Shunzhi, Kangxi, Qianlong, Xianfeng, and Tongzhi. It is one of the largest and best-preserved tomb complexes in China, stretching across 80 square kilometres, and is also the burial site of 15 empresses, 136 concubines, three princes and two princesses of the Qing Dynasty. This was the last imperial dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1911. Listed as a World Heritage site at the turn of the millennium, the tombs are described as a “masterpiece of human creative genius”, featuring richly decorated halls and towers that show the importance that the Chinese placed on an afterlife. After lunch nearby we you continue our journey back to Beijing (approximately 3 hours). Tonight is free for you to enjoy as you wish – with your hotel located centrally, a walk in any direction will unveil all sorts of wonderful surprises. Perhaps explore the Beijing street food scene; there are many night markets to visit and hutong (historic narrow streets and alleys) eateries in which to try local delicacies.
Your Great Wall Experience comes to an end on day 5 after breakfast. There are no activities planned for this final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
Notes: A departure transfer is included but must be organised prior to departure.