A power line runs through it (The Great Wall, Beijing, China);

A power line runs through it

(The Great Wall, Beijing, China)

I was surprised to see this when I visited the Great Wall of China:


I bought a tour that went to the Ming tombs because I wanted to see the Sacred Way. The tour however just went to one of the tombs so I was sad I missed the most liked part according to my friends who have been there.  Most of what is at the Ming Tombs is recreated and there is relatively little to see, so it is not a very good use of your time in my opinion.

TLDR for this section: the tour company I took wasn’t a very good one and our wall experience suffered. So vet your tour company well. More about how to do that at the bottom.

Then there was a problem with the tour company. They said there was a problem with another bus breaking down, but it turned out that the other bus driver didn’t have a license that covered driving passenger buses. So we went back to pick up some of the people who then had no tour bus.  That took over an hour due to the number of police that showed up and the continued questions to the witnesses and the drivers. We wasted so much time there,  for our lunch stop we only had 20 minutes and some of the food only showed up a few minutes before, and the tea we’d paid for never arrived.
When we finally arrived at the Great Wall, we went to the line for the lift to the top and the wait was an hour and a half. So we were told to take the other lift that had a shorter wait. In the end, we only got about 45 minutes at the top, which was disappointing, given that we’d spent about that much time at the Jade shop.

The restored section of the wall is really interesting to walk on, but it does look a little strange that there is a power line running through it. I understand they can’t bury the cable, but it just looks odd to have that at one of the most popular sections.

The stairs on the wall are often very steep and have some kind of centipede (?) all over them.  There are exits to the hillside at frequent intervals from the wall if you want to check out the area.

To get back down there are 3 options:  walk, ride the lift down, or go down on the toboggan.  So, of course, I chose the toboggan. The ride down on a toboggan was really fun, and I highly recommend it.

MORE TLDR tour group problems:

Because of traffic, we were really late, but the guide insisted we stop at a tea shop although we were already an hour late returning to the city. And everyone was required to go to the presentation. One guy was really upset because we were so late and then spent another hour there. The tour gets a poor grade for that and the super brief wall stop, but also because they tried to charge 3 of us for included items titillating about 130 Yuan each. Very disappointing tour, but the wall was great.
I was the 2nd person dropped off and I got home 3 hours later than expected.

If you go, I would recommend skipping the tours that include the  Ming Tombs and going straight to the Great Wall.  When you look at the reviews, see if many people complain about the time spent at the jade factory or the tea house.  Nearly all tours will go to those locations even if they don’t list them in the summary, so check reviews, as those stops give kickback payments for what you buy, so they like to go and spend as much time as people are willing there, which cuts short your time at the actual attractions you want to see.

When you see the wall, you realize what a good job the Lego people did with their Great Wall build in their archetecture series.

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