Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Dear friends and fellow Great Wall lovers! We wish you a wonderful holiday full of joy and happiness, a healthy and prosperous new year, and a lot of traveling and new horizons!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from WGW team and looking forward to seeing you soon in our new Great Wall of China adventures!😊🙃

📸: @kai_photography_international

Travel in the Time of COVID-19 – Frequently Asked Questions

The current situation due to the spread of the Corona Virus is unprecedented and a great challenge for us, but we are ready to face it, because we know: Every crisis will be over one day and then our guests will feel like going on holiday again.

Click on questions below to find answers to a dozen Frequently Asked Questions. If you don’t find the answers that you are looking for, please contact us.

We look forward to being there for you then again, and to organising unforgettable trips for you in the future!

Todays’s Question (May 24th, 2020)

Q: Is life back to normal in Beijing?

A: Life is slowly coming back to normal in Beijing but people who arrive in China are all required to be tested. Everyone still wears masks, and most places also offer hand sanitizer.

Most restaurants, and places like convenience stores are open but the majority of places still ask for temperature checks, and some ask for a code, which comes from a government-generated app that tracks your travel history, and only if you have a green code can you then go into that business. 

You can get food delivered to your apartment door now, while you had to walk to your community gate to pick it up one week ago. 

Todays’s Question (May 20th, 2020)

Q: Hello, just wondering is Mutianyu opened? do we need to make a reservation and report ID in advance?

A: Mutianyu has been opened to the public since early April this year with some new rules. The tourist area is still from tower 1 to tower 20. While Mutianyu tourist center and Great Wall museum remain closed until further notice, at least through the summer. Guided tours are also suspended. The daily limit of 12,000 visitors will be subdivided into morning and afternoon time slots.

Visitors are required to make a reservation through the website:  http://www.mutianyugreatwall.com/subscribe/tickets

After registration, if your cell phone sims are from China then you will receive a successful appointment message. At Mutianyu entrance just show “the successful appointment” message you received, and present a digital health code showing no recent travel to infection hotspots, as well as undergo a temperature check, then you will get into the Wall.

Simply put, Mutianyu requires visitors to pre-book, show ID, undergo temperature and health checks, and wear masks. The physical distancing of one meter is also required, and the staff will be deployed to disperse any large congregations.

Todays’s Question (May 13th, 2020)

Q: Hello, three of us are interested in finding a driver to take us to the Wall to do the Jiankou to Mutianyu self-guided tour. We would like to do this on Friday, 15 May. Are these sections reopened?

A: Just checked out I am sorry to tell you the Jiankou area is still closing as a measure to control the potential spread of the virus, the reopening date is not clear yet. Probably June or July will be mostly safe to travel to the Great Wall if that works for you.

Todays’s Question (March 6th, 2020)

Q: Hi, I just saw your website and I would like to book a visit for one day in May to visit this amazing great wall of China, we will arrive at the Beijing Airport. I would like to ask you what is your advice about what part of the wall visit, as we have seen that there are different areas to visit and as we only have one day, we want to be sure that we book the best option.

A: Visiting Mutianyu–the closest part to the airport (PEK) is highly recommended. It takes no more than 1 hour 30 minutes to get to Mutianyu each way from the PEK airport. Mutianyu Great Wall is a good alternative for Badaling with the complete facilities including a cable car, chairlift, and toboggan. For more details on Mutianyu, check this page: https://www.wildgreatwall.com/mutianyu-toboggan-ride/

Todays’s Question (Feb 29th, 2020)

Q: Hi hope you are coping OK with the problems with the virus. Please can you advise us with your current situation with your guided walks that have been canceled and when if all clears up you hope to resume them? If they are being canceled are you issuing refunds?

A: So far (Feb 29th, 8:46 am) there are 146 confirmed cases in Beijing. It’s estimated that the virus would disappear by April. If all clears up in April then we will resume the tours immediately. If the virus will not go away until May/June, you may request to reschedule your hike to a different date up until 3 days before your hike. In the event that we need to cancel your hike due to the potential spread of the coronavirus or for any other reason, we will reschedule you on a different date. If rescheduling is not possible, we will happily issue you a full refund. Meanwhile, you may cancel your hike for a full refund no later than 10 days before your hike.

Todays’s Question (Feb 26th, 2020)

Q: Hi, are you still doing the 1-day tour from Beijing airport to the Great Wall of china despite the coronavirus scare? Please advise, thanks!

A: Due to the coronavirus outbreak, Beijing airport to the Great Wall tour is not available at this moment. So far (Feb 26th, 8:46am) there are181 confirmed cases in Beijing. Mutianyu Great Wall and other sites are closing as a measure to control the potential spread of the virus and will remain closed until further notice.

Most governments advise against travel to China at present, and some foreign citizens have been evacuated from the Wuhan area. It is expected that the coronavirus will be limited to isolated pockets by April 2020. Probably April will be mostly safe to travel to China if that works for you.


8 Cool Things to Do During a Layover in Beijing

Best Options For Your Layover In Beijing

things to do at Beijing airport

 

Wondering what to do on a layover in Beijing airport? Beijing is much more than just a place to refuel and stretch your legs during a layover. There are many fantastic things to do during a layover in Beijing. It’s worth leaving the airport, and taking a day or two to see the classic tourist attractions. Before we jump to the conclusion, here is our selection of questions you may ask:

Can I leave Beijing Airport During a Layover?

Yes you can do that. For a short layover within the airport a visa is not needed, for a longer layover which will see you leaving the terminal you will need either a tourist visa or a 24/72/144-hour temporary entry permit.

Just like other arrival passengers, you will have to clear customs/ immigration before you can leave the airport for the tour.

Make sure you’re back at the departing terminal at least two hours before your onward/international flight, or at least 1 hour before a domestic flight.

Can I Visit Beijing During a Layover?

Yes, you can. Fortunately, the city of Beijing, the Beijing Tourism Bureau and Beijing Airport have made it easy to make a mini-vacation of an otherwise long wait between connecting flights. If you’ve got the right “visa” (either tourist visa or 24/72/144-hour temporary entry permit), and your flight layover is long enough for sightseeing, you should be visiting Beijing.

Do I Need a Visa for a Layover In Beijing?

No, if you will not leave the transit lounge at the airport, a visa is not required to transit through Beijing on the way to another destination.

However, if you wish to enter Beijing as a tourist or short-term visitor, Beijing offers 24/72/144-hour temporary entry permit for ‘visitors in transit’, which is intended for people who have longer layovers before transiting and want to go sightseeing or resting in Beijing for few days (up to 144 hours).

Some Important Information:

  • You need a 24/72/144-hour temporary entry permit to get off the airport. Transit visas are issued to those traveling through Beijing to an onward destination. This transit visa allows you to pass through the transit channels and requires that you depart from the same airport within 24/144 hours. If you stay at the transit area waiting for your next flight you do not need a visa.
  • Be aware that you need to calculate not only the layover time – but also the time of travel from the airport to the top attractions (like the Great Wall, Forbidden City,  approximately 1,5 hours from PEK airport to Mutianyu Great Wall/Forbidden City), as well as the return and time required for re-boarding procedures–it’s a good idea to skip some attraction if you realize that the time is shorter than anticipated. For international flights, arriving at PEK airport at least 2 hours before your scheduled departure time is often recommended to make your connection.
  • Sketch out a rough itinerary ahead of time. Research the locations of attractions you are interested in. Depending on the duration of your layover, you may want to focus on a single attraction to make the most of the day such as Mutianyu Great Wall to save travel time.

Quick Summary–8 Cool Things to Do in A Beijing Layover

Whether you’re traveling on your own, with friends, or with family members, these are top 8 things you should put on your list:

  1. Cool things to do in a Beijing layover: Mutianyu Great Wall
  2. Cool things to do in a Beijing layover: Forbidden City
  3. Cool things to do in a Beijing layover: Tiananmen Square
  4. Cool things to do in a Beijing layover: Nanluoguxiang (Hutong)
  5. Cool things to do in a Beijing layover: 798 Art District
  6. Cool things to do in a Beijing layover: Wangfujing Snack Street
  7. Cool things to do in a Beijing layover: the Silk Market
  8. Cool things to do in a Beijing layover: Quanjude Peking Duck Restaurant

The Map on 8 Cool Things to Do in Beijing Layover

 

1. Walk Mutianyu Great Wall

If you want an activity you can reach easily, consider visiting the Mutianyu Great Wall. You can access this straight from the airport. Reaching Mutianyu from the airport will take about 1.5 hours each way, so if you have a longer layover, this can be a lovely way to see some of Beijing up close and personal.

  • Opening hours: 8:00 – 18:00 (March 16 to Nov 15); 8:30 – 17:00 (Nov 16 to Mar 15).
  • Ticket prices: RMB 45.

Further reading:

things to do in Beijing layover -Mutianyu Great Wall

 

2. Stroll Through the Imperial Garden (Forbidden City)

For history lovers, a visit to the imperial garden in the Forbidden City is a “must.” View the lovely plants and flowers, explore the buildings, and even observe lovely statues that fill this space. Each corner of the garden houses a small pavilion. These pavilions represent the four seasons of the year.

Make sure you visit each one on your visit to the garden. You may notice that some of the footpaths boast colorful rocks and pebbles. This is a purposeful representation of good luck! Remember to book your ticket in advance on the internet so you do not waste time in line!

  • Opening hours: 8:30 – 17:00 (Apr to Oct); 8:30 – 16:30 (Nov to Mar). Closes on Mondays, except for legal holidays.
  • Ticket prices: From November to March (Low season) RMB 40. From April to October (High season) RMB 60.

Further reading:

things to do in Beijing layover- Forbidden City

 

3. Walk Around Tiananmen Square

Don’t forget to explore Tiananmen Square during your stopover in Beijing. This is located around 1 hour from the airport and is the perfect way to spend an afternoon enjoying Chinese culture and history. View Tiananmen Tower, the Monument to the People’s Heroes, or even the Memorial Hall of Chairman Mao on your visit.

  • Opening hours: 5:00 – 18:00, free.
things to do in Beijing layover- Tiananmen Square

 

4. Explore Hutong–Nanluoguxiang Area

Nanluoguxiang is known for being a lovely historical part of Beijing. When you visit, you’ll find shops and bars located in beautiful historical buildings. What better place to experience a bit of Chinese culture than by walking around, shopping, eating, and exploring? Enjoy new foods or even shop for souvenirs.

  • Opening hours: 8:30 – 23:00, free.
things to do in Beijing layover- Nanluoguxiang

 

5. Soak Up Some Culture at 798 Art District

If you like nothing better than seeing lovely sculptures, paintings, and other creations by local artists, you must visit 798 Art District on your stopover. Spend a few hours walking around and exploring the different art displays you’ll see.

  • Opening hours: 10:00 – 20:00, free.
things to do in Beijing layover -798 art zone

 

6. Grab Some Food at Wangfujing Snack Street

If you love to eat, you absolutely must visit Wangfujing Snack Street during your stopover in Beijing. Whether you want western food, like KFC, or you’re more interested in local street vendors, you’ll find everything your stomach desires.

  • Opening hours: 16:00 – 20:30, free.
things to do in Beijing layover wangfujing snack street

 

7. Pick Up Some Souvenirs at the Silk Market

No great vacation is complete without shopping for souvenirs, and your trip to Beijing should be no exception. Visit the Silk Market to explore clothing, watches, jewelry, and more. Whether you’re shopping for yourself or a loved one, you’ll be delighted to discover just how many fantastic items are available for purchase.

  • Opening hours: 9:00 – 21:00, free.
things to do in Beijing layover - silk market

 

8. Eat Roast Duck at Quanjude Restaurant

Each year, Quanjude serves over two million roast ducks to customers. Make sure you visit during your layover to enjoy one of the most famous restaurants in China. You’ll be able to order one of the most delicious meals you’ve ever experienced. This reflects perfectly with the name, “Quanjude,” which means perfection and unity.

  • Opening hours: 10:30 – 21:00, RMB150 – RMB 300 per person.
things to do in Beijing layover

 

How Much Time Do You Need For a Beijing Airport Layover?

Round trip into Beijing or the Great Wall of China, including the time you need at the airport for passing through security, is 5.5 to 6 hours. You can expect to spend:

  1. Approx. 2.5 hours to apply for a 24/144-hour transit visa, possibly longer when they have more arrivals during weekends or Christmas week.
  2. 10-20 minutes to walk to the vehicle in the parking lot
  3. Approx. 1.5 hours journey to Mutianyu Great Wall
  4. At least 1 hour on the wall to really enjoy the trip
  5. Approx. 1.5 hours to return from Mutianyu to the airport
  6. 2 hours in advance at the airport to check-in before an international flight

So, to make this worthwhile you need at least a 9-hour layover in Beijing airport if your layover is all during the day. The longer the layover, the more you’ll be able to discover Beijing.

Things to Do in A 8-Hour Layover

If your flight layover is 8 hours, you’re really not going to be able to leave the airport. Beijing Capital Airport is big, with this amount of time, you’ll need to think things to do in the airport.

Many a wise traveler has warned against traipsing off into central Beijing with 8 hours to spare before the connecting flight. It’s best to play it safe and wait out your layover at the airport.

Things to Do in A 9-Hour Layover

No time? No problem! 9 hours may be a bit of a rush, but you keep moving, focus on the one or two things you really care to see. You’ll need to make some choices:

  • Option A: Mutianyu Great Wall (1 hour). A quick meal of fast food somewhere if time permits.
  • Option B: Forbidden City (1-1.5 hours).

Don’t waste time on lunch, instead grab a quick takeaway or fast food. Remember it takes approx. 1.5 hours each way to and from Beijing, so don’t spread yourself too thin.

Things to Do in A 10-Hour Layover

Luckily, with a 10-hour layover, you have time to explore a quiet part of the Great Wall – Huanghuacheng at your own pace. Travel for approximately 2 hours from PEK airport to Huanghuacheng. You would focus on either:

  • Option A: Huanghuacheng Great Wall (1 hour)
  • Option B: Tiananmen Square (30 minutes), Forbidden City (1.5 hours).

10-hour layover might be plenty of time to get out and explore the Great Wall. To play it safe, it’s best to calculate what you can do, always take into account the round trip time to the airport.

Things to Do in A 11-Hour Layover

An 11-hour layover will allow you a more stress-free visit to the Great Wall or city sites. You’ll be able to explore Mutianyu Great Wall/city sites at a fairly leisurely pace, enjoy an excellent sit-down Peking duck meal in between. I recommend focusing on:

  • Option A: Mutianyu Great Wall (2 hours), sample a leisurely Peking duck meal near the airport (1 hour).
  • Option B: Tiananmen Square (30 minutes), Forbidden City (1.5 hours), taste a leisurely Peking duck meal in the city (1 hour).

You should be able to complete one of the “must-see” sites –  either the Great Wall or Forbidden City/Tiananmen Square. It’s best to stay on schedule and set an alarm for when you need to return to the airport.

Things to Do in A 12-Hour Layover

This may seem like a lot of time, but you’re going to have to make compromises. Still focusing on Mutianyu Great Wall, Tiananmen Square. It’s best to skip lunch to save your valuable time.

  • Best option: Mutianyu Great Wall (1.5 hours), Tiananmen Square (1 hour).

Things to Do in A 14-Hour Layover

This is a good, long, proper layover in Beijing. This is really the answer to what to do in Beijing for a day. My recommendation is to focus on the itinerary: Mutianyu Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, and Forbidden City.

  • Best option: Mutianyu Great Wall (2 hours), Tiananmen Square (30 minutes), Forbidden City (1.5 hours).

If you have any extra time, get a Peking duck dinner in the city before returning to the airport.

Things to Do in A 16-Hour Layover

You should easily be able to explore the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square in this amount of time, with a leisurely dinner in the city. While a few hours stop can give little more than a takeaway or fast food to finish a busy day.

  • Best option: Mutianyu Great Wall (2.5 hours), Tiananmen Square (30 minutes), Forbidden City (2 hours), Peking duck dinner (1 hour).

Things to Do in A 20-Hour Layover

There are plenty of things for you to discover and experience if you have a 20-hour layover in Beijing. I recommend focusing on:

If you are an avid hiker, you probably already know about some of these unforgettable Great Wall hiking trails. It’s absolutely worth taking a day trip from the airport to the Great Wall for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Beijing is a city full of rich cultural history, beautiful buildings, and lovely shops. During your next layover, make sure you take the time to fully visit beautiful Beijing and explore some of these fantastic attractions.

things to do at Beijing airport

 

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How to Setup and Use WeChat As a Traveler in China

Step-by-Step Beginner’s Guide of WeChat

WeChat is the most popular social network in China with over 900-million users at present. It’s the largest and most dominating social platform used in China. It’s the all-in-one app that forms the basis of your daily digital life in China. When you download and install this app on your smartphone, you have access to

  • media
  • online shops
  • developers
  • instant messaging

The Importance of WeChat in China

WeChat is one of the best travel Apps while traveling in China. If you plan to travel to China for whatever reason, you should know the importance of this app.

At a glance, WeChat looks like WhatsApp – another popular messaging app that lets people connect with their family and friends and send voice, video, image, and text updates. But WeChat is much more than WhatsApp. It comes with a lot of mini-programs to cover a person’s daily life. You can

  • provide invoice information
  • order food
  • pay for goods & services
  • do a lot more things

That’s why you need to learn how to set up and use WeChat when you plan to visit China for whatever reason.

Download WeChat

How to Set Up WeChat on Your Phone?

WeChat is mostly used for communication purposes in China. Having the app on your smartphone is an essential element of communication between you and your friends, family when you are in China.

The first step to setting up an account on WeChat is to download the app from Google Play Store or the app store depending on the type of your phone Android or iPhone.

Once the app is installed on your smartphone, open the app and you will see the “Sign Up” button.

Enter your phone number and the area code to sign up.

Once you have entered the correct information, you will receive a verification code from WeChat. Type this code into the relevant box and press Submit.

Now you need to fill in the other information to complete the sign-up process. Make sure you complete the profile so that your family and friends can recognize you. Once this information is entered, you will have a WeChat account ready to be used.

How to Add Contacts on WeChat?

Adding contacts to your WeChat account is important to communicate with them. To add your friends to your account, you should head to the main “Chats” page. There you will find a small Plus (+) mark on the upper righthand corner. Click on this + mark and you will find a menu with the “Add Contacts” symbol.

Click on this symbol and you can search for your contacts in several ways. You can search for a friend by entering his or her phone number or WeChat ID in the space provided at the top of the screen.

Another method is to add a friend by scanning a QR code from their phone. You need to select the “Scan QR Code” from the menu to do this. The next step is to position their QR Code in the square at the center of the screen. You can now add him or her as a contact.

If your friends want to add you as a contact, you should select the “My QR Code” option from the menu. You will find this option in green color at the bottom of the scanning page.

WeChat has a unique feature to add people nearby. In fact, you can just look around and become friends with people nearby. But you should be cautious when enabling this feature because people around you will be able to find you as well. They will be able to see your 10 latest images on the album.

To enable people nearby, you should tap on the “Discover” tab and select “People Nearby.” You will have access to the “People Nearby” page where you can start sending greetings to them. If he or she adds you, you become friends.

Now that you have been able to add some contacts to your WeChat account, it is time to start chatting with them.

Typical Features You Will Use on WeChat

There are many essential features on WeChat that you will be using almost on a daily basis. Most of these features have become a way of life for Chinese users. The app cares for its users by simplifying many of their day to day tasks. That’s why WeChat has become so popular as a social network. Here are some of the most important features you can use on WeChat:

  1. Texting on WeChat
  2. Voice Messages
  3. Voice Calls
  4. Video Calls

1. Texting on WeChat

Texting is one of the most popular features of WeChat. Millions of users rely on this feature on a daily basis. This feature will let you send text messages, images, videos, and even audio clips to your family, friends, and business contacts. You can add multiple contacts to the chat with the Group Messaging feature of WeChat.

Adding someone to your contact list on WeChat is quite easy. You can do it in a couple of ways.

  • You can use his or her phone number to add someone to your contact list. This can be done by entering the phone number of the contact or scanning their QR code.
  • If you want to add someone by his/her QR code, you should ask to see his/her “Profile QR Code” and scan it using your smartphone’s camera. You will see their user name appear on the screen when you do it successfully.

WeChat has a unique way of encouraging you to meet new contacts. It’s known as the “Shaking Feature.” To activate this feature, you need to open the WeChat app and shake your smartphone.

The app will immediately search for someone who shook his/her device at the same time you shook the phone.

Most probably, you will find a match, and you are given the option of messaging this person and starting a conversation. If you don’t like the newfound contact, you should shake your smartphone once again to find a new contact.

2. Voice Messages

WeChat provides a voice recording feature you record your messages. Instead of typing your message, you can use the in-built Voice Message feature to record your message. This feature has become popular with millions of users who use the app.

For example, when you are in the middle of an important task, you may not have time to reply to an important message by way of typing the text. Rather than stopping what you are doing, you have the option of pressing the “hold to talk” button and replying to the message. When you have a lot to say and you don’t want to type all of it, this feature can come in handy.

3. Voice Calls

You can use WeChat to call your contacts just like calling with an ordinary phone. But WeChat won’t charge you anything to call anyone living in any part of the world.

You can easily take long-distance calls using WeChat and save a lot of money by calling your family and friends at home when you are walking the Great Wall of China. Just imagine how much money you will be able to save with this feature alone!

4. Video Calls

Making a video call is another popular feature offered by WeChat. This feature is quite similar to Skype or Facetime. You can make a video call to anyone who is listed in your contact list. This feature is a great way to stay in touch with your family and friends oversees when you are in China. A video call offers more intimacy when calling a family member or friend compared to an ordinary phone call. That’s why you need to take advantage of this feature when you are using WeChat.

How to Use WeChat Translation?

The WeChat Translation Feature is one of the most popular features of this app. You can use this feature to easily translate content to your preferred language.

Setting up Language in WeChat

Before you can use this feature, you need to set up the language in WeChat. It will use the language you set up when offering translation services.

If you set English as your language, you will be able to translate messages in any other language to English. To Set up your preferred language, open the WeChat app and tap on the “Me” tab. Now go to the “Settings” section.

Tap on the “General” 

Then click on “Language” option.

Now choose your preferred language.

There are three different ways of using the translation feature in WeChat for iPhone and Android.

  1. Translate In Individual Chat
  2. Translate In Group Chat
  3. Scan Documents And Translate Content

1. Translate in Individual Chat

The first thing you need to do is to open a chat with an individual contact. Press and hold the message and you will see a popup appearing with many options.

Tap the right-side arrow mark on this popup and select the “Translate” option. The app will translate this message to the language you set up in your language settings.

2. Translate in Group Chat

This process is almost the same as individual chat. Go to the group chat you want to translate and tap and hold on the message until the popup appears.

Tap the right arrow of the popup to select the “Translate” option. The app will do the needful and translate the message to the language you set up. After the translation, the popup will show “Untranslate.” You can press this to remove the translation and show only the original message.

3. Scan Documents and Translate Content

The app offers a great feature of scanning a document and translating its content. The translation will work both ways such as Chinese to English and English to Chinese. You can scan a document or image or select one that’s already on your phone for this purpose.

Open the app and tap on “Discover” and select “Scan” from the menu options. You will see both “Scan” and “Translate” options available at the bottom of the page. Tap on the “Translate” option and you will see a big white button in the middle of the screen to scan a document or an image.

Align the phone’s display with the document or image you want to scan and tap on the big white button. After scanning, the app will convert any text in the image to your chosen language.

Can Tourists Pay WeChat in China?

Absolutely yes, you can use WeChat to make some online payments. But if you want to use the WeChat app-linked bank card to add some money to your account balance, you need to enable the “WeChat Pay” function on your account.

If you download the app using a Chinese SIM, this option will already appear on your profile under the “Me” tab.

If you have downloaded the international version of the app, you may not see this option on your homepage.

The first thing you need to do is to ask one of your contact (who has the WeChat Pay feature already set up) to send you a “Red Packet.”

You simply need to click on the “Red Packet” and click on “Open” to accept it. Receiving a “Red Packet” will help put some money in your balance.

Now the WeChat Pay feature will appear on your profile. You will be asked to set up a 6-digit PIN of your choice while setting up WeChat Pay. You need to remember this PIN since you will need to enter it whenever you make payments. If you are on a holiday in China, you can ask your tour guide to send you a “Red Packet.”

How to Pay For Things Using WeChat Pay?

Go to the “Chats” page and click on the small “+” icon in the upper-righthand corner. You should select “Scan” or “Money” from this menu – depending on how you are going to pay. You should remember that WeChat needs mobile data or a Wi-Fi connection to operate.

That’s it for our beginner’s guide to how to set up and use WeChat as a traveler in China. Hopefully you can now connect with your friends and family, no matter where they are in the world!

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When Is the Best Time to Visit the Great Wall of China [2020]

the great wall in sunrise

Top Tips on Best Time to Visit the Great Wall

Planning to visit the Great Wall of China and wondering when is the best time to visit the Great Wall to avoid crowds? There are at least five parts to this answer – time of year, day of the week, and time of day.

Preferably most people like visiting the Great Wall when the weather is moderate, but at the end of the day, all that matters is an individual’s tastes and schedules.

Best Time of the Year to Visit the Great Wall–The Quick Answer

If weather is your primary concern, the best time to visit the Great Wall is from April to early June and September to early November when the weather is warm and pleasant but the tourist crowds are not overwhelming. Summer is hot, deep winter – January and February – is cold, but that also means cheaper hotel rates. Spring and Fall are just the right time to visit the Great Wall. The cheapest time is from December to the end of February.

September-November (High Season)

September-November is one of the most popular times to visit the Great Wall if you don’t mind steep hotel rates. Mild weather makes this time ideal for exploring the Grea Wall as well as Beijing city on foot, with a backdrop of the changing colors of trees in the fall.

You will experience a clear lovely sky, incredible mountains and plenty of juicy fruits like grapes, apricots, and peaches. Many locals leave the city during this time, which means that it can feel a little crowded while tourism is high.

This is also the best season for photography lovers since they get the most serene weather for capturing beautiful photographs during sunset and sunrise. 

A long-sleeved shirt or T-shirt plus a light jacket or a knitted sweater is generally enough in early October. And November also ushers in lower temperatures, so be sure to pack a coat.

December-March (Low Season)

The Great Wall is at its quietest during these cold winter months, when snow is common and temperatures hover between -5°C and 4°C. Sometimes you’ll have to endure temperatures at -10°C, but you’re sure to save on a hotel. This is a great time for bargain hunters who don’t mind the cold to visit Beijing and the Great Wall. 

If you come in these months when there are fewer tourists, you will find the Great Wall somewhat less crowded. Especially on non-holiday weekdays.

Winter lovers will enjoy the incredible snowy mountains as well as the snow-covered Great Wall. 

The Chinese New year period also falls in late January to the beginning of February, and as a result, Badaling section is usually flocked with Chinese tourists.

Pack accordingly with hats, scarves, gloves, winter coats to keep you warm from the freezing Beijing climate of January/February.

winter great wall hiking

April-June (Shoulder Season)

In April spring ushers in warmer weather, tourism isn’t quite peaking during these months, but they are still popular times to visit the Great Wall and Beijing.

You will also experience plenty of warm days and affordable traveling and accommodation rates. The whole city and the Great Wall are blooming marvelous at this time of year, making your Great Wall visit a truly memorable one.

Early April can still be chilly, so pack some warm clothes while a long-sleeved T-shirt or shirt and a light overcoat or windproof jacket will be more than enough in May. But be prepared to see a lot of flowers.

July-August (High Season)

The hottest season in Beijing, summertime is also a hugely popular time to visit, especially among families whose kids are out of school. The Great Wall will pretty much always be crowded.

During this busy tourism period, expect airfare and hotel rates to be at their peak and availability to be low. Book well in advance will save you from experiencing increased prices on flights and hotels.

Starting in July the weather gets hot, and the humidity gets heavier and heavier. Wear some cool clothes for sticky days that skim 40°C. Be sure to pack an umbrella as July and August are the city’s rainiest months.

Best Time of the Year to Avoid Crowds

  • First two weeks of September: Once the summer rush has ended, most kids are back in school by the end of August, the city of Beijing slows down, so the crowds are not as heavy as they were. It makes it easier to book tickets, make reservations and waiting times become shorter.
  • The deep winter months of January through early March offer your best chance to see the Great Wall as well as the city top attractions without being mobbed by tourists, though you’ll trade lower airfare and hotel rates for frigid temperatures.

Best Time of the Year For Kids and Families

  • Spring break: A whole week off from school makes a particularly popular time for families to visit the Great Wall and Beijing. In Spring, the crowds are generally not as dense as they are in summer or fall. Save for spring break.
  • Summer: Although the city is at its peak due to the amount of visitors every day, vacationing with families tends to be easier. It’s easier to pack lighter. No need for gloves, hats, scarves, etc. Preparing to go outside like visiting the Great Wall won’t be an event. The city offers loads for kids to do during the summer, from outdoor concerts to boating, kite flying, etc, but the seasonal crowds can be tough to manage with small ones and strollers.

Is Beijing Safe For Kids?

Beijing is a safe place for traveling with children and babies. The culture is very family-oriented, and that includes your family, too. Kids are welcome everywhere, and there are facilities and amenities catering to children of all ages. With a few considerations, your trip to Beijing can be safe and a lot of fun for everyone.

Is the Great Wall of China Child Friendly?

Mutianyu Great Wall is child friendly with complete facilities including cable car, chairlift, and toboggan. It is a wonderful destination for families with children and teens.

Looking for a cheap, reliable car hire service? Check out our Great Wall car rental service page: Car hire to Great Wall from Beijing.

When is the Best Time to Visit the Great Wall Beijing

Best Day of the Week to Visit the Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is open 7 days a week. So is there a day of the week that is best for visiting the Great Wall? Absolutely yes.

The best time to visit the Great Wall and avoid long lines is on a weekday typically, not always, but typically. It’s just the days when the last week crowds, the weekend crowds are gone.

If you’re looking for lower wait times, Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are typically the best options.

On the weekends, you have locals going to the Great Wall with friends and family. You also have people who live near Beijing and want to enjoy a day to the Great Wall. For smaller crowds, weekdays are better than weekends.

Best Time of the Day to Visit the Great Wall of China

Just about any time of year, high season or not, I always suggest visiting the Great Wall in these times of the day:

  • at 7:30 am/8:30 am when it first opens.
  • 1-2 hours before the last entry.
  • sunrise
  • sunset
  • full moon night

In general, you will avoid crowds and feel more comfortable, or, you will take great photos and see the beams of light throughout the wall in these times of the day.

  • At 7:30 am/8:30 am when it first opens. Even in high season, you will still see people at these hours, but much smaller than late morning and the middle of the day, especially if you visit the sections like Mutianyu, Jinshanling, Huanghuacheng or Gubeikou. The crowds tend to be at their heaviest from about 10 am to 3 pm.
  • One or two hours before the last entry. Last entry is one or two hours before it actually closes, so if you go about two hours before that, you will have plenty of time to enjoy it and not feel rushed, but by then, the crowds have greatly thinned out. The “last entry” and closing times vary throughout the year, usually 4:30 pm in summer and 4 pm in winter.
  • Jinshanling at Sunrise: The first rays of the sun illuminating Jinshanling is a moment of delight. The soft golden color is heartwarming. At this hour you can enjoy moments of utter calmness. Also, free of crowds you can enjoy the beauty of the wall at your own leisure.
  • Jinshanling at Sunset: Jinshanling Great Wall looks spectacular when it’s lit up against the glowing orange and purple skies. As dusk is among the favorite times of the day for romantic therefore it’s highly recommended to pay a visit to Jinshanling with your significant other once while the sun sets. The sunset over Jinshanling is prime Instagram material.
  • Huanghuacheng/Simatai Under Full Moon Night: The view of the moonlit Huanghuacheng /Simatai is absolutely beyond words. You get the opportunity to visit the Great Wall almost entirely to yourself. After a glimpse of the shining moon over the wonder of the world, few things will be able to enthrall you. A full moon also makes a great backdrop for photography.

In hot months like July, August, you should avoid coming in the middle of the day, as there is virtually no shade and no place to sit down.

Early closing hours in winter: Most famous Beijing Great Wall sections except for Simatai, Jinshanling, and Huanghuacheng closes at “sundown” so, in the winter months, you’ll need to come earlier in the day.

What Time Does the Great Wall of China Open?

The various sections of the Great Wall in Beijing are open 7 days a week, every day of the year, including holidays. The opening hours differ slightly depending on the month of your visit. See Mutianyu Great Wall opening times below:

  • March 16 to November 15: Monday-Friday: 07:30am-18:00pm; Weekends: 07:30am-18:30pm, last admission: 4:30pm.
  • November 16 to March 15: 8:00am-17:00pm, last admission: 4:00pm.

As with most popular tourist attractions, you would do well to arrive when the doors open to beat the crowds.

When is the Best Time to Visit the Great Wall OF cHINA

The Worst Time to Visit the Great Wall of China

While the Great Wall tends to be beautiful in every season, if you’re looking to escape the crowds or certain kinds of weather, you may wish to keep these times of the year in mind.

Public holiday: Let’s hop over to the public holidays. These are a popular time for locals to make trips to the Great Wall, and rightly so. Many locals love the atmosphere around the holidays, even with the extra crowds. The Great Wall is most crowded around the following holidays:

  • The Labor Day (the first week of May, especially May 1–3)
  • Qingming Festival (likely early April)
  • Dragon Boat Festival (likely mid-June)
  • Mid-Autumn Festival (likely September or October)
  • The National Day (the first week of October)

The Great Wall’s busiest weeks of the year come in the first week of May, and the first week of October. Due to this huge influx of visitors, May 2nd, or, Oct 2nd could be the busiest day of the year.

Weekends: weekends typically draw bigger crowds to the Great Wall except over December, January, and February. It’s recommended that guests—especially those who have never been to the Great Wall—visit on a weekday.

Great Wall (Beijing) Weather by Month

  • Great Wall (Beijing) Weather in January: January is Beijing’s coldest month. Temperatures range from -8°to 2°C, generally hovering around 3°C. Snow is likely around this time. You will find this is an ideal destination for winter sports and activities like skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, sledding, and much more.(Average Max Temperature: 2°C. Average Precipitation: 3mm.)
  • Great Wall (Beijing) Weather in February: February remains cold, with the average daytime high creeping up to 5°C. It may possibly snow. Sometimes extreme blizzards mixed with snow and freezing rain make Beijing virtually life less, particularly mid-February has a tendency to be really brutal and harsh. (Average Max Temperature: 5°C. Average Precipitation: 6mm.)
  • Great Wall (Beijing) Weather in March:  Winter is over and it’s early spring in Beijing. But still, it is a bit cold and windy, at least during night and early morning. And if you plan to go outdoor, you must need a good jacket and clothing that can be layered. Snow in March is rare in Beijing, though still possible – especially around the beginning of the month. (Average Max Temperature: 12°C. Average Precipitation: 10mm.)
  • Great Wall (Beijing) Weather in April: Beijing weather in April is very pleasant and enjoyable. Days are a little warm and nights are gentle cool. Flowers are up and blooming, the grass turns green and everything comes to life after long, harsh winter. (Average Max temperature: 20°C. Average Precipitation: 25mm.)
  • Great Wall (Beijing) Weather in May: May is one of Beijing’s loveliest months. The temperature ranges from 14-26°C, so it’s usually warm but but still very pleasant, and without the humidity that you’ll find during the summer months. Early mornings and nights can be a little cool and you might still need a light jacket. It’s an excellent time of year to explore the city’s many parks. (Average Max Temperature: 26°C. Average Precipitation: 30mm.)
  • Great Wall (Beijing) Weather in June: June days grow warmer. It is the beginning of a beautiful summer in Beijing. Most days in June are bright, with the sunny blue sky while few days have occasional drizzles. Shorts and sandal season is in full swing, and the month’s long days (the sun sets around 7:45 pm) are perfect for catching the sunset on the Great Wall (Average Max Temperature: 30°C. Average Precipitation: 70mm.)
  • Great Wall (Beijing) Weather in July: The hottest month of the year, expect temperatures to range from 22-31°C. It’s muggy along with frequent thunderstorms. But do not worry. It is not all about the heat and humidity. You will find quite a few moderately hot, sunny days and pleasant evenings. And you might be greeted by some drizzles too. July is one of the busiest months of the year, full of visitors from different parts of the world. It’s advisable to drink lots of water and juices to avoid sunstroke, especially when you are on day out. (Average Max Temperature: 31°C. Average Precipitation: 175mm.)
  • Great Wall (Beijing) Weather in August: Though July is NYC’s hottest month by temperature, August is the most humid. Sometimes high humidity adds fumes to already sizzling weather in August. It’s a good idea to drink lots of water and juices to avoid sunstroke and apply quality sunscreen lotion to avoid sunburn, especially when you are on day out. Beijing gets a good amount of rain in August, and mostly in the form of drizzles and occasional downpours. So bring your umbrella.(Average Max Temperature: 30°C. Average Precipitation: 180mm.)
  • Great Wall (Beijing) Weather in September: With sharp drop in temperature and modest humidity, Beijing’s weather in September is really fantastic and enjoyable. Temperatures range from 15-27°C until mid-month, with cooler air settling in as October approaches. Because summer’s humidity has gone, even September’s warmest days are perfect for outdoor activities, but always check the temperatures and keep the light jacket handy. (Average Max Temperature: 27°C. Average Precipitation: 50mm.)
  • Great Wall (Beijing) Weather in October: Traditionally Beijing’s driest month of the year, October boasts mild to chilly temperatures and crisp autumn air. Temps range from 8-19°C, so it’s a good idea to pack a light jacket – though you might not need it. The trees’ leaves take an array of colors from crimson red to golden yellow, resulting in a gorgeous masterpiece of nature. Many folks consider this a perfect time to see Beijing. (Average Max Temperature 19°C. Average Precipitation: 20mm.)
  • Great Wall (Beijing) Weather in November: Days are getting shorter, chillier. It still has warm, crispy days with gentle breezes and placid nights at the beginning of November. The average temperature float around 8 °C and sometimes it drops to very low, especially during nights, reminding us about the coming winter. A jacket is essential, and a hat is a good idea. (Average Max Temperature: 10°C. Average Precipitation: 6mm.)
  • Great Wall (Beijing) Weather in December: Winter arrives in Beijing, with cold temperatures, some infrequent snowfall and continues till March. Wind and temperatures can be bitingly cold. The average minimum temperature drops way below the freezing point and frequent wind chill makes it even further severe. (Average Max Temperature: 4°C. Average Precipitation: 2mm.)

Great Wall Weather Conditions to Be Aware Of

Beijing and by extension the Great Wall of China has its distinct climatic and weather conditions. With colder temperatures, rain, and snow on the Great Wall, it’s important to be aware of weather conditions and when the trails might be susceptible to damage. Basically, there are four types of weather to be aware of:

  • snow
  • wind
  • fog
  • rain

Great Wall of China Weather Conditions: Snow

If you visit the Great Wall in winter, you will likely see plenty of snow like snow-capped mountains. However, watch out for the treacherous and slippery icy terrain.

Wisdom and common sense would prove quite useful in determining where to walk. Put on suitable winter gear and equipment to prevent hypothermia and heed to the weather forecasts announcements.

A heavy snow forecast, for instance, means the snow has a thickness of up to six inches. So much snow can reduce visibility, and also cover the paths, making the terrain highly dangerous.

If forecast warns of blizzards, do not attempt walking the Great Wall. The slippery ground and the near-zero visibility challenges and disorients even the most experienced hikers.

great-wall-weather-conditions

Great Wall of China Weather Conditions: Wind

Winter and spring are the windiest seasons, where the storm can blow from 50 mph to 70 mph. If the terrain consists of ridges and exposed paths, the dusty wind will make hiking uncomfortable, problematic and risky.

A powerful storm can even blow someone over the ridge. If you intend to ascend the highest peak of the Great wall during any of these periods, first bring along wind-resistant gear, and make sure you carefully listen to the weather forecasts.

Great Wall of China Weather Conditions: Fog

If you walk along the highest peaks of the Great Wall, you are highly likely to encounter fog, irrespective of the season or time of year.

Fog is, however, quite prevalent between the months of January to June, and from November to December. Fog reduces visibility and increases disorientation.

It further makes it difficult to see the surroundings or find the right path. When you hear a fog forecast, just reschedule your walk to another day. However, if the fog comes down while you are on the wall, do not panic. Just take the most sensible option.

In case you are near the highest sections of the wall, and the fog only conceals the summit, it is safe to proceed. However, if you are in the lower sections of the wall and a thick fog looms overhead, your safest move is to turn around and go back.

weather-conditions-of-the-great-wall-of-china

Great Wall of China Weather Conditions: Rain

You are likely to experience plenty of rainfall if you visit the Great Wall in summer, between early June and mid-September.

Despite the torrential rain, the weather gets extremely hot. About 30 to 40 degrees Celsius making it ideal to wear light clothes. Even on seemingly sunny days, short and heavy rainstorms can come unpredictably.

It is here that listening to weather forecasts reward generously. Imagine being caught up in a thunderstorm while at the top of exposed summits and ridges. The rains will make you wet, bog your visit, decrease visibility and make the terrain muddy.

weather-at-great-wall-of-china

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