Visiting the Great Wall of china by train: What I wish I knew
If you’re following me on Instagram, you’d know my most recent trip was an Asia tour with the frost stopnin Beijing. My final destination was to Manila, Philippines on Air China which granted me a 24 hour layover in Beijing. I strategically chose such a long layover so that I would use this time to visit The Great Wall.
Prior to arriving in Beijing, I researched online for various tours that correlated with our schedule. We had to be back by a certain time to catch our flight The least expensive being $80 if you are a party of less than 5. Most companies advertised lower prices but once you aren’t a traveler with a a fairly larger bag group then that price quickly hiked up. I searched and searched for other alternatives and came up short.
I still don’t know why there aren’t many search for results for getting to the Great Wall of China because it was fairly easy. The only setback is abiding by the train schedule. I conquered this challenge and saved $60, however I did miss my connecting flight. This could’ve been avoided and I will share with you how.
Here’s how to get to the Badaling Great Wall
The main trains to get the Badaling Great Wall is line 13 to Houying tation and catching line S2 train to Badaling
From Tian’anman Square transit station (where we stayed) we took the 1 train to the 2 train to the 13. It is good to at least have a translation of where you are trying to go because the english was minimal, but the clerks tried their best to help.
We took the 1 train to Jiangoumen Station where we transferred to the 2
We took the 2 train to Xizhimen Station where we transferred to the 13
We took the 13 train to Huangtudian Station, exit at g2 and transfer to S2 to Badaling
Think of the s2 as those trains that take you from one city to the next such as the Long Island Rail Road in NY. This is the train that takes you from Beijing to Badaling Great Wall. Tickets for this train can not be purchased in advanced. If you are traveling during peak season I would advise you to be early. When we arrived there was at about 8:30 am, there was a lady LYING saying that the train was not running until 11 am and to take her bus company for 50 CNY. We almost believed her at first until we saw her chasing people. We went to the ticket booth and purchased our ticket for 7 CNY with the next train arriving at 9:09 am. This is something you should always be aware of when traveling. There will always be someone trying to hustle you.
When you enter the s2 train station you will see a bunch of people standing, follow suite. When the train arrives everyone will literally run to ensure they have a seat on the 1.5 hour journey. Wear comfortable shoes and don’t be too ncute to run or you’ll be standing or sitting on the floor like we had to. Along the ride we did enjoy the gorgeous view along the way.
We arrived at aroubd 10:30 am and this is where our problem arose. We learned that the train from Badaling to Beijing doesn’t run every hour. The next train that we could get on would not be until 1:19 and our flight would leave at 6 pm. If we were able to leave at anytime between 12 npm and 1 pm we wouldv’e been on good track.
Always, and I always travel with a Student ID, this would’ve took half off of the entry which was about $7 (40 yuan), but every dollar counts. They gave us a certificate showing that some may frame. I actually just folded it up because there was no way I could keep it crisp traveling around for 2 weeks. The feeling of finally visiting was pure excitement. Happy to tick one more adventure off my bucket list. Being the only black/ dark face there everyone wanted to take pictures. My friend who I traveled with was also a celebrity because she is black with similar eyes to them (she says there are no known Asian’s is her bloodline according to her).
Coming back make sure you are there are to ensure a seat. We were not playing this time and made sure we got one lol. What set us back was having to go to the hotel to get our stuff THEN head to the airport. If we had our stuff with us or no luggage, we would’ve been able to head to the airport and be on time. Nonetheless, with out personalities we don’t stress over things and just let it be <3.
The entire trip costed 108 CNY = $15.57 each roundtrip and admission included.
Major Tips For Visiting during a layover
*Choose which wall you want to visit*
The Great Wall of China is milesss long (almost 4,000) and is divided into 10 sections. Mutianyu is the most popular and fully restored.
1. Check your big luggage
We flew with Air China who allows you to check your bags for free. I am never one for checking my bags but I would definitely recommend checking your large luggage and having a small bag with your necessities and an outfit. That way you can carry this bag with you and head straight to the airport. Instead of traveling back to your hotel if it at city center.
2. Get there early
The great wall opens at 6 am, getting there early is great to avoid crowds especially during peak season, holidays or weekends. The metro starts at 5 am. This also makes finding seats on the trains more possible.
3. Bring a student ID
Bring a student ID to get your ticket half off.
This is one of the great wonders of the world for a reason. Take it all in.
(click on images to enlarge)
Have you ever visited the Great Wall of China?
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