On Stac’s birthday, we had arranged for a driver to take us to the Great Wall Mutianyu section to save taking the multiple buses that are needed in the off-season. It’s a 1.5 hour drive direct so it was definitely a good choice and worth the money. We set off about 6.30am so we were there for 8am and were just about the first people to that section that day. Most people do the cable car up and down to the wall from the base where the bus drops you as it is easier. But we had been suggested on Facebook to look out for the toboggan that can be done down the mountain from the wall.
I’d looked in to this before Stac’s birthday so hadn’t told her about it, but this was why we went to this section of the wall. I didn’t know how to get up to the top but knew the slide back down would be a great experience. So we arrived, I went and bought the tickets, found out it was an open ski-lift style rope-way up to the top and knew immediately Stac was going to want to kill me for doing this.
When we got there, they hadn’t started the ski-lift up for the day yet and there was still a guy balanced on top of a part of it doing some last-minute maintenance, it didn’t exactly fill you with confidence. It was a scary, but incredible ride to the top on an open lift hundreds of feet above the ground below and when we got there, the views were just out of this world, it really was that amazing.
The sun was just rising, it was about -6 degrees but comfortable to walk in with layers on, and we walked along the wall for almost one hour before seeing another person, we couldn’t believe, and still can’t, that this was the quietest part of China we went to. One of the best experiences we have ever had.
After walking for 2-3 hours along the wall up and down stairs the whole way, we checked the step-tracker app on the phone, and it said we had walked up 120 flights of stairs. It was time to come back down and head back to Beijing, but not before the toboggan ride back down. This was a great adrenaline ride back down which lasted a couple of minutes, about 1.5km long, on a metal sledge winding down through the amazing scenery.
We went for some dumplings for lunch when we got back to Beijing, had a walk around the city then went out at night for Beijing duck for the first time. It was delicious, we went to a place where all the locals go and the chefs even prepare the duck in front of you, followed by lots of wine. It was a great day!