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Walking the Great Wall, China

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The challenge of walking the entire length of the Great Wall of China is, frankly, a pretty insurmountable one. Not only would it be an immense distance – nearly 9,000km, according to some surveys, snaking from Xinjiang in the far west to the Yellow Sea at the border with North Korea – but there’s a bigger quandary to address : which wall would you walk? The Great Wall, you see, isn’t just one barrier, but many.

The most popular stretch is at Badaling, but despite the crowds this is among the most impressive sections – almost 8m high and 6m across. Mutianyu is another well-restored section with imposing towers; it’s a little further from the capital, so has smaller crowds. For a thrilling walk, head to the Jinshanling stretch near the town of Gubeikou. From here, it’s a spectacular 10km walk to Simatai, through the mountains.

Make it happen: Gubeikou is a three-hour drive north of Beijing; the 10km walk along the Jinshanling stretch to Simatai takes four to five hours. Badaling is 70km from Beijing.

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Travel Gallery: Walking the Great Wall, China
Walking the Great Wall, China
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