CLIMBING THE JIANKOU GREAT WALL OF CHINA OFF-THE-BEATEN-PATH

There are at least 5 major sections of the Great Wall of China near Beijing and each section of the wall is different in character, and attracts a different type of tourist.

When climbing the Great Wall of China, it’s important to know which section of the wall is right for you and what experience you want to get out of the climb.

Getting to Jiankou section of the Great Wall of China

The Jiankou section of the Great Wall stretches from the Nine Eye Tower (Jiu Yan Lou) in the north to Zheng Bei Lou in the south-east and has around 22 towers.

The starting point for hiking Jiankou is a small village called Xi Zha Zi that is around 75-80 kilometers north of Beijing and hard to reach.

To get to the village you first catch the subway to Dongzhimen station on line two then catch the 916 express bus at Dongzhimen Wai long distance bus station.

From the Village to the Great Wall of China

The village is small and only has a population of around 300 people who are mostly farmers. Walking through the village is a great way to see a side of China that most tourists never experience.

Once you pass through the village, there are a number of paths you can take and only one of the paths heads towards Nine Eye Tower.

I had to ask for directions three times to find right path. The locals are friendly so if you are not sure, ask for “jiu yan lou” or just point at the wall which is clearly visible I the distance look lost.

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