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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

THE GRANDIOSE BADALING GREAT WALL

The great wall was made as a fortress of the whole nation from the invasion of Mongolian people from the north. Emperor Qinshinshuang was the one who started to build this structure with the thick wall made of sturdy stones and bricks. 
Badaling Great Wall is one of the frequently-visitted sites within Beijing territory after it was opened for both local and international tourists in 1988. Among others were Shuiguan, Jiankou, Gubeiko, Huanghuacheng, Simatai, Mutianyu, Jinshanling, and Juyongguan. 
photo courtesy of culturextourism
On July, 2007, the UNESCO recognized Badaling Great Wall as another world cultural heritage of China and enlisted it as one of the the new seven world's wonders during that time.
this welcomes you at the site- padlock with your wish
After a half-day tour in Olympic Green Village in Chaoyang District, we headed for Badaling Great Wall. Just right next to National Aquatics Center, we took a bus going to a Deshengmen Bus Terminal that took about 10 minutes. We were supposed to take Bus 877, the official no-stop bus going to this part of Great Wall; unfortunately, I and my student were not able to catch the last trip that day. We were so much worried that we might not visit this attraction of the city. To our surprise, we met a couple who also missed the bus. It has always been a great advantage being with a person who could communicate well with the locals, and my Korean student, Devin had this capability. He managed to talk to the couple and convinced them to hire a driver that could bring us there. 
After 5 minutes, we finally found one nearby the bus terminal giving us reasonable price. We were four in the car and shared the total fixed fare (35 RMB per passenger). Then it took over an hour to reach this part of Great Wall. 
one of the first few towers near the foot of the mountain
Tip:
If you have much time in Beijing, make this tour in the morning so you can catch Bus 877 in Deshengmen Bus Terminal. The fare is only 12 RMB compared to a tour using a cab.
The bus schedule usually starts as early as 6:00 in the morning until 12:00 pm, but the bus return schedule varies according to season.  
The entrance to Badaling Great Wall
Badaling Great Wall has two sections: the south and the north. But we chose the south section instead of taking the cable car in the north. Apparently, we wandered the site on foot for 2 to 3 hours.
Admission Fee: 40 - 45 RMB (the price varies according to season)
Tip:
The best time to visit this place is during summer season where temperature ranges from 22 to 31 degrees Celsius. 
Luckily the weather was fair and cool when were here.
It was such a surreal feeling to be in world-renowned landmark with other excited tourists like us. The grandeur from above was truly breath-taking.
As you can notice, there are plenty of beacon towers on different parts of the Great wall. This is actually a two-story structure that used to be the watch tower in the past. They stored the weapons on the first floor while the second floor has some holes for archers and served as the signal tower.
over-looking the beacon tower (signal tower)

some tourists on the top of the beacon tower

The impressive beauty of Badaling Great Wall 
with mountain ranges as a perfect backdrop

It looks like a mighty dragon is about to fly

A few beacon towers serve as one-stop mini store 
for exhausted tourists all the way to the top

Even tourists never stop making a daring pose on the steep part of the Great Wall

On our way to the topmost and end part of the wall. What a challenge!
Some become narrower as they get higher

Other parts of the Great Wall giving way to its various sites.

At last, I was able to climb the highest point of the wall 
It was cool and a little windy when we visited this site. But if I were you, you must wear something lighter and comfortable during summer season. Wearing jeans or pants and thick jackets may add up to your weight and make you tired easily. If you don't need some of your things during the hike, then leave them so. 
You must bring at least one bottle of water or tonics that will replenish your thirst. 
Don't bring an umbrella as it may be blown by the wind. 
Wearing Converse shoes was not a nice idea, instead you can have other comfortable footwear such as rubber shoes or trainer. Imagine, visiting this site is more than a total work-out.
To conceal the identity of my student, 
we just took our souvenir photo this way

The holes on the beacon towers helped the soldiers  
to shoot the enemies using their bow and arrows
One of the few advantages of taking a cab to Badaling Great Wall is a side trip to Ming Tombs, somewhat distant to this place.