Departs: 20th October 2020
Explore Beijing’s Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Qing Tombs and the Summer Palace
Trekking along some of the most epic sections of The Great Wall
Autumn Colours / Stunning Views
Sleeping in rural villages
Making dumplings with our Guesthouse hosts
Tai Chi Lesson in a hutong (narrow alley’s of Beijing)
We’re extremely excited to be sharing our Adventurous Women China – Great Wall Hiking experience with you and we’ve carefully chosen a variety of routes that will see you hiking on un-repaired ‘wild’ Great Wall sections, as well as restored ones.
During this trip, you’re going to be taking on an adventurous challenge of physical stamina mixed with fascinating cultural and historical exploration. You’re going to get a real taste of every day life in rural China, as we return to our family run Guesthouses after a day’s walk on the Great Wall, and we also explore Beijing, a city steeped in history, yet plunging head first into modern times!
While on The Great Wall – Some of our days will see us walking along peaceful semi-ruined sections of the Great Wall where we feel like we’re walking into the past, other days we’re treated to walking where some of the architecturally rare watchtowers can be seen while taking in the classic stunning Great Wall panoramas. It doesn’t stop there …we’ll be walking within areas of wild, crumbling battlements and stunning lakeside scenery, wooded valleys, mountains and rocky gorges and retiring each evening at rural guesthouses run by local families – a true cultural immersion.
Local English Speaking Tour Leader Throughout
Adventurous Women Tour Escort
Champagne & Snacks on the Great Wall
All transport between destinations and to/from included activities
Luggage transfer every day while hiking
Arrival & Departure Transfers on an individual basis
8 Breakfasts 5 Dinners
Ni Hao! Welcome to Beijing - You will be greeted at the airport by a local representative and transferred to our adjoining hotel, ensuring a hassle free arrival. Once at the hotel, settle in and feel free to explore the Beijing streets - our hotel is located centrally and a walk in any direction will unveil all sorts of wonderful surprises! Our adventure begins this evening with a welcome meeting at 6 pm in the lobby where you will meet your Adventurous Women tour manager, local tour leader and fellow travellers. After the meeting, perhaps we'll kick off our China adventure with a taste of an iconic dish â€" Peking duck.
This morning, we take a stroll at Tiananmen Square and spend some time getting to grips with the scale of the square (the largest in the world and able to hold over a million people). We'll then enter The Forbidden City with its innumerable courtyards and temples and spend between 2-3 hours exploring it on foot (comfortable shoes recommended). In the afternoon, we take a walk through the hutongs (narrow alleys of old Beijing) and enjoy a Tai chi Class in the Hutong.
After our transfer to one of the most well preserved Great Wall sections at Mutianyu, we begin our hiking adventure (approx 3 hours). The surrounding natural scenery here is breath-taking, particularly in October when the leaves on the trees within this extensively wooded area, are turning red and yellow reflecting a stunning golden glow against the mountains. Also, some of the watchtowers you will see along this section of the wall are seldom seen along other sections and quite rare in the architectural history of the Great Wall. After our spectacular hike, we drive onto Jiankou Village where we spend the evening in a local guesthouse.
The Jiankou wild wall section was built along a mountain edge and remains completely wild, with towers clinging impossibly to the steepest of ridges. Highlights of the day include "Spiderman Wall", or "Sanshibadeng" in Chinese; an optional short vertical climb to the top of the wall for a panoramic view (those who are not a fan of climbing/heights can walk around and regroup at the viewpoint). This area is the most photographed section of the Great Wall due to the unique construction style combined with stunning scenery. In the morning, the hiking distance is approximately 3.5 - 4km (2.5 - 3 hours) and then after lunch, approximately 4-4.5km before transferring to Gubeikou. Total 6 - 6.5 hours hiking.
Today we'll rise early and trek from the Gubeikou to Jinshanling section of the Great Wall and instead of breakfast you're in for a special treat!! At an appropriate spot along the way, we're going to stop and enjoy a Champagne Brunch. We begin our hike from the restored gate behind the guest house, we then follow the ruined Great Wall section with slightly restored steps or footpath alongside, having regular stops all the way along till a huge hollow tower with 6 windows on each side, which is the highest point of the morning (4 hours). From here on we need to come off from the wall to come around a long military section, by taking the path down the valley through village for approximately 2-3 hours until we rejoin the wall from the other end of the military zone, which is closer to the west end of Jinshanling. After the trekking, we're transferred back to the guesthouse to freshen up, relax and learn the art of dumping making from our house host.... afterwards enjoying our own made dumplings as dinner.
This morning, we'll drive back to where we got off yesterday to continue our trek along the Great Wall. This portion of Jinshanling winds through stark hills and mountain ridges. Steep stretches make parts of today's 3 to 4-hour trek challenging, but also largely devoid of other travellers. This stretch is also known for its unusual Barrier Walls, or walls within the Wall, and inscribed watchtowers. Finish hiking in the afternoon and transfer to the Huangyaguan portion in Tianjin.
A longer day (approx 6-7 hours hiking) but the last one trekking along the Wall at Huangyaguan, named for the bright yellow flowers that appear in this region. From the restored Huangyaguan Fortress we hike westward uphill on the wall following steep steps until the top of the Heavenly Steps, then further along the top path uphill until the highest point, where we can only find a narrow section of 6th Century wall on top of the ridge line with beautiful scenery on both side of the valley. We'll break for lunch at this point and then after lunch it is basically down hill alongside the 6th Century stone wall to finish the day in a quiet village, where the bus is waiting for us to transfer us back to our guesthouse.
Today we are transferred back to Beijing and on the way, we'll explore Qing Tombs, arriving in Beijing around noon. The rest of the day is free for you to enjoy at your own leisure.
This morning, we're taken to the Temple of Heaven complex in the southern part of the city and we'll spend a couple of hours or so exploring. It's great fun watching (and maybe joining in with) the locals playing traditional games and doing their morning exercise in the park â€" dancing, tai chi, hacky-sack, and so on. In the afternoon, we visit the Summer Palace, which is the largest and most well preserved royal park in China.
Our adventure comes to an end after breakfast this morning and we say goodbye to our new found friends. There is an option to extend your holiday for an additional 4 days to Xian if you wish, or you may depart at any time today for home or your next destination.