In this article, we would like to advise you on how to visit one of the world’s greatest architectural wonders – the Great Wall of China – low cost/budget. If you don’t care about the budget, it is easiest and most convenient to pay for a tour that will take you to the place and arrange everything. Low cost way is (at least according to us) more fun: D
This description will relate to the route from Gubeikou to Jinshanling (from the Wild part to the repaired part) and back.
How to get to the Great Wall of China by bus from Beijing (Gubeikou)
The cheapest option to get to the Great Wall of China is by bus. First take a bus number 980 (two types – express and normal) from Dongzhimen Transport Hub (it is hugebus station close to Dongzhimen Shuniuzhan) to Miyun. Bus 980 costs 15 RMB.
From Miyun, you can reach Gubeikou village by bus number 25, which costs 12 RMB. When you get off the bus 980, go straight to the main street and after turn right, go about 200 metres and you will find a bus stop. Or you can get to the final station of bus 980 (see map) and change to 25. You can pay directly on the bus, but you must have exact amount. Money is thrown into a cash register that does not return.
Bus 980 runs from 6 am to 8 pm, bus 25 runs till 6 pm (not verified) – these are times in the direction to Gubeikou.
The way back is exactly the same, only the bus stop in Gubeikou is in a different location. You have to walk through the tunnel, which is located before entering the village, on the other side. The bus stop is approximately 400 m away.
The last bus 25 to Miyun runs at 4:30 pm and the last bus 980 to Beijing runs at 6:30 pm
Where to stay in Gubeikou
If you want to catch the sunset and sunrise, we recommend staying in the village of Gubeikou. Who is brave can sleep on the Wall (especially in summer when it is warmer, or in spring and autumn with proper equipment) with a tent and sleeping bag (it is possible only in Gubeikou, because Jinshanling is much more guarded part of the Wall and there are cameras at every corner). You can sleep in individual towers. Although it is not officially allowed, but many tourists do so (mainly clean everything after yourself and do not destroy the wall).
We stayed in Great Wall Inn Gubeikou, which cost us 180 yuan per night. The price is higher, but we chose it mainly because of its convenient location: 15-20 minutes up to the Wall.
Entrance fee Great Wall of China
Entrance fee to Gubeikou part costs 25 RMB / person and to Jinshanling 65 RMB / person. If the hotel owner did not call the lady who is working on the cash register and quickly came from somewhere, we would have free access to both parts of the wall.
We went to Gubeikou to see sunset at 5 pm and we paid in the end, but when we arrived to Gubeikou at 6 am the next day, the cash register was closed. Also no one was at the cash register at Jinshanling around 9 am. So the summary of the journey for two parts of the Wall came to 25 RMB / person 🙂
Route from Gubeikou do Jinshanling
On the way to the Gubeikou Wall you come to a crossroad. If you go to the left, you will reach the part of the wall that leads to Jiankou and we recommend it for watching the sunset. The way on the right leads to Jinshanling, which we walked during the sunrise. After about an hour’s journey, you need to climb off the wall and go down to the valley. Behind the wall is a military zone and entry into this part is strictly prohibited and guarded. The journey through the valley takes about an hour (2-3 km).
We started our hike to Jinshanling at 6 am and we came there about 9 am. The biggest advantage was that we were almost alone on the restored part of the Wall and we didn´t have to pay entrance fee because it was too early in the morning. Route from Gubeikou to Jinshaling is about 10 km long and it is quite demanding because of stairs and bad terrain. But we managed to go back and catch the bus 25 at 5:30 pm back to Beijing.
To sum up, trip to the Great Wall of China costs for two people for transportation and accommodation 349 yuan + food and drink (around 420 yuan) 🙂