Great Wall of China
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Great Wall of China: Tours & Tickets

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Top 5 surprising facts about the Great Wall of China

There are as many Great Wall of China facts as the structure is long and old. The Great Wall of China was built in the 7th century BC primarily using the wheelbarrow, an invention of the Chinese. Read on to learn more about its ancient history before visiting!

Great Wall of China Length

The Great Wall of China is the longest man-made structure in the world. Its literal Chinese meaning is The Immeasurably-Long or the 10,000-Mile-Long Wall. It is 13,171 miles long.

The Cost of Construction

During its construction, it was called “the longest cemetery on earth” because so many died building it. The estimated number of lives lost is over one million.

Some World Math

If you added the length of all Chinese defense walls built over the last 2,000 years, the number would be about 31,070 miles—6,216 miles less than the circumference of the planet.

Outer Space Myth Debunked

The Great Wall cannot in fact be seen from the moon without aid. This widespread “Great Wall of China from space” myth was popularized by Robert Ripley back in 1932.

Saving a Legacy

Over 10 million people visit annually. With sections crumbling and graffiti-covered, the Chinese have struggled with maintenance—the sheer length makes preservation impossible.

Great Wall of China: Our Tips

Research where to visit

The best point of departure is Beijing with the four most popular sections being Badaling, Mutianyu, Simatai and Jinshanling. Each has its advantages and disadvantages: some are closer but more crowded, better for kids or the elderly, have a better view of the mountains, beautiful forest cover, or fun ruins to climb.

Prepare Ahead

Give yourself no less than three hours to explore, so be sure to pack sunscreen, snacks and a good supply of water. Don’t forget to check the weather before you head out!

Wake Up Early

Take the first tourist bus around 7:00AM, arriving around 9:00AM or 10:00AM, to avoid the crowds.

Good to Know

  • When to visit
    Hours vary by entrance point. Some sections of the wall close periodically for repairs, so check online in advance.
  • What is the price?
    Entrance-only prices vary by location, and can be as low as 25 RMB ($4) or even free, but continue up with tour options.
  • Will I need a guide?
    A guide is recommended not only for the history, but also due to the fact that some wall sections are very dangerous and poorly maintained.
  • How to get there
    Directions vary by selected entrance, with the closest being 50km away. Many train/bus options are available to each.
  • Additional tips
    • Remember that November to April offers bitterly cold weather, so a visit to the Wall may not be enjoyable.
    • If traveling without a guide/tour, please use caution as some sections of the Wall can be in disrepair.

What People Are Saying About Great Wall of China

Tour good but website and tour description need to be better

Tour was very good and the lunch was good too. Tourists need to be aware that the tour takes about 11 hours in all once pick up and travel to/from the wall is included. Tourists also need to be aware that the walk up to the cable car is very steep.

Great Wall of China Mutianyu Section Tour by Cable Car Reviewed by a GetYourGuide Customer, 11/02/2015

Cancel Jade factory and tea house visit!

Summer palace visit was quite rushed and didn't get a decent look around. Badaling was great but very crowded (to be expected). We wasted too much time at the Jade factory and tea house which was only slightly interesting but felt more like a paid TV commercial with an expectation that we had to buy something at the end if it. Overall a good trip though. Our tour guide (Tina) was friendly. Cable car tickets not included as part of the price. It costs 100 yuan for a single return ticket on the cable car. Would try it again in the office season…

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Great Wall of China
4.4
Based on 16 reviews by GetYourGuide customers