The Great Wall of China is a site of great interest to the Ecotourist, and surely on every Green Traveller’s bucket list. One of the New 7 Wonders of the World, it took nearly 2000 years to build and measures in at a staggering 5500 miles in length. What’s more, it’s the only man made structure that can be seen from space. But, to fully appreciate its magnificence, you’ll need to get up close.
The structure is so great and the history so vast that it’s practically essential that you seek out a tour guide, and the TravelChinaGuide is one of the best places to start your search. The tour guides are all local people and so you can rest assured that your pennies are going straight into the local economy. There are eight sections of the wall open to the public, but trying to see all of them is a nearly impossible feat, and so I give to you a list of the four most popular sites
Badaling is the closest to the city of Beijing, is the easiest to access and therefore the most popular.
If views of high forests are more your thing, then Mutianyu is the section for you.
Simatai is a well-preserved section in parts, though certain portions have remained as ruins, and so you should be warned that it is a much more challenging climb than the sections outlined above.
The most authentic experience of the Great Wall, however, can be found at Jinshanling, which is completely unrestored and as a result enjoys almost no crowds of hawkers – though be warned, it’s the steepest of the sections.
The best, and indeed the only way to see any of these sections is by climbing, hiking and biking, leaving absolute minimal effect to the environment, and all information on local bike hire can be found at Bike China Adventures.