Visiting the Great Wall is one of my bucket lists and I really wanted it to be perfect. It is possible to visit the Great Wall on your own but the great hesitation for me was the language barrier. It’s just too hard to communicate with the locals and we don’t want to stress ourselves asking for directions or asking if we are on the right bus, etc. So when I prepared our DIY Beijing IT I decided to book a tour instead of doing it ourselves. We booked the tour at our hotel’s tourist information center which has 2 options, CNY180 and CNY 260.
CNY 180 is a packaged tour from 7am to 6pm which includes an English-speaking tour guide, transportation, lunch, entrance fees (Ming’s Tomb and Mutianyu Great Wall) and 2 shopping centers. CNY260 on the other hand is from 7am to 4pm which includes an English-speaking tour guide, transportation, lunch, and entrance fee for Mutianyu Great Wall.
It was intriguing to note that the latter is offered at a higher price when in fact it offers less service. The information officer then clarified that the CNY180 tourist guides are paid based on commission, thus the need to visit the shopping centers, while the CN Y260 are paid salaries.
The choice between the 2 depends on your preference. For us, we took the CNY180 tour because we wanted to visit the Ming’s Tomb and have shopping options. As for the CNY260, this is a hiking tour where you can spend more time exploring the massive wall.
In the end, I am glad with our choice because the weather was really humid when we visited Beijing. I’m sure we will not last more than 2 hours in that weather. I only walked 6 towers and back but I would definitely try the hiking tour next time I visit China (mid September to mid October is best). For now, I am just really thankful to have step foot on this wonder of the world.
Awed by the Great Wall’s beauty,