One of the modern wonders of the world, China's most famous attraction, the Great Wall, is an impressive feat of construction. The Great Wall of China is actually a series of several walls that cumulatively stretches thousands of kilometres from Liaoning Province to Gansu Province.
The initial wall was built in the Qin dynasty (221-207 BC) and added to during the Han and Jin dynasties and finally in the Ming dynasty (1367 – 1644). The separate walls were constructed to keep pillaging nomads from independent kingdoms and were eventually linked to form the wall we know today. The Great Wall varies in condition from ruins to perfect examples and through quite different terrains and climates. Located only 60km away from downtown Beijing, the restored Badaling section of the Great Wall is the most popular tourist site. Stretching 3.7km, the Badaling Great Wall is built along the ridges of mountains and offers that undulating brick wall image associated with the iconic structure.
A mountain pass on tree-covered Jundu Mountain, Badaling is remarkable for its scenery and architecture. The site contains beacon fire towers, which used fire and smoke to warn of invaders, as well as two-storey watchtowers, and city and wall platforms. There is a cable car to facilitate the trip to the top of the wall for CNY40 one way or a round trip for CNY60. You can alternatively climb up the sloping steps and tackle the (sometimes) steep hills. On a clear day, the views are quite amazing and the Badaling section also changes dramatically with the seasons; from red leaves and yellow trees in autumn to snow in winter and from green trees in summer to spring blooms.
Admission to the Great Wall at Badaling is CNY45. Different areas of the Great Wall have different admission prices so if you plan to visit separate sections you will need to pay for each section. To visit, take the high-speed train from Beijing North station to Badaling. From here, it's a 24-minute walk or take the Y17 bus to the ticket office.