“He who has not climbed the Great Wall is not a true man.” Mao Zedong
Friday morning in Beijing, one goal: to climb the Great Wall and spend the night there. I took the metro and two public buses in order to get to Xizhazi Village, where I decided to climb Jiankou, the “rough” and still untouched part of the Wall. Since I missed the morning bus, I got there at 6pm and found no one around the area except for the ladies at the entrance booth. I paid for the entrance ticket and started walking. After reaching a big sign that said ”this part of the Great Wall is not open to the public”, a big speaker started making noise in order to “warn” the people around the village(don’t worry, a lot of people climb this side of the Wall and no one will bother you).
Once I made my entry through the forest, I found many red cloths and paint on trees that indicated the way… its hard to get lost during daylight. Nonetheless, at 6:40pm it got dark, really dark. I forgot my torch so I used the light of the iphoneto guide my way. After a 30-40 minute walk, I lost sight of the red cloths. I was lost. Everything was dark and seemed to go no where. I looked to both sides, could not see the damnWall. I must say I got a bit scared but excited at the same time (things like this always happen to me when I’m trekking orhiking). After acknowledging the fact that I was lost, I decided to start walking back. Trying to follow my previoussteps, I took a different path, I was frustrated. All of a sudden, I looked to my left (right side if you are walking upwards) and saw the huge concrete Wall! I was there, I did it.
Immediately, I climbed through the bricks and started lookingfor watchtowers to sleep in. I saw the highest one and wentfor it. The wind was really strong, almost strong enough to push me out of the Wall, I’m not exaggerating (plus, I’mskinny so it’s not that hard to imagine). When I made it to thetop it was too cold, so I decided to go two watchtowers below. I noticed that some people had slept there days ago since therewas still evidence of a fire. I was not able to do much thatnight since the battery of the iphone was low and had no torchto read the book I carried. So I threw my sleeping bag to theground, ate some peanut butter sandwich, took a sleeping pilland off til the next day. I woke up at 5:30 am freezing, myhands and legs hurt, and my face was swolen. I didn’t care, I went out immediately to walk through the Wall and do thefamous Ox Horn. It was great, the Wall just for myself, nobody was around, just me and the Great Wall of China. Ithas been one of my favorite adventures during my trip.
Tips and Directions on how to get there:
Take Metro Line 2 to Dongzhimen St exit B1 to Bus Hub. Take Bus 916 until Yingbin Shanlu St. (Approx 60-70 mins). When you go down from the bus, walk back to the roundabout and turn left until you reach the Bus Hub. You will find many taxi drivers offering you a ride for ridiculous prices. When you get to the Bus Hub, take Bus 862 towards Yujia Yuan. Wait there for H25 (11:30am and 4:30 pm only). Again, you will find taxi drivers wanting to take you for big amount of Yuan. I payed a total of 0 RMB for buses, I just jumped in and got a seat (the driver never said a thing). I missed the morning bus by 15 minutes so I had to stay around some hours.Once you get to the village you pay 20 RMB for the entrance ticket (approx. 3 USD).