On arrival in Beijing you will need to make your own way to the group hotel. The afternoon is free time for sightseeing in the central city district. Perhaps barter for a bargain in the colorful silk markets or do as the locals do and hire a bike for a spin through the bustling back roads of this vibrant city. This evening we will meet in the hotel lobby at approximately 6.30pm (please check with reception to confirm this time) for a group meeting before we head out to enjoy our first meal together.
This morning we depart Beijing and travel by bus to Gubeikou at the border of Hebei Province to begin our walk. The Great Wall is one of mankind's most extensive structures and in total length, including early walls, it totals over 5000km from the Bohai Gulf in eastern China to Gansu Province. After lunch at Gubeikou we explore a section of the wall on a high ridge above the township where several prominent towers afford great views of the terrain. We will walk at a leisurely pace with plenty of time to stop and take photos of this majestic structure. Following our 3-4 hour walk, tonight we will camp at the head of the valley.
From our campsite we will ascend and explore a spectacular section of the wall above the Gubeikou valley. This is a little-visited section and offers views of a wild landscape. We climb to the junction of the Ming Dynasty wall where we explore the terrain before descending on a local trail to camp. Like all nights, our crew prepare a delicious meal of fresh local dishes for us to enjoy under the nights sky. Approx 6 hours walking.
Today we set off early to trek through some local temples before exploring this classic section of the wall. Here we are well off the beaten track, experiencing every day village life as we pass along the way. With broad sweeping views, it is easy to see how the wall resembles a dragon's back weaving its way across this beautiful golden land. This evening we will camp in Hebei Province.
Breaking camp in Hebei Province we climb on to the Great wall and begin a morning's walk towards Simatai, passing through Jinshanling, a restored section. This section of the wall was built in the 15th century. There is time on the walk, as elsewhere, to explore and photograph this section of the original wall. We will note the wall's intriguing design features that gave the defenders a military advantage against the nomads. We descend on a winding trail into Miyun county of Beijing to a campsite at the village of Daweihao.
We head off early this morning to hike to Beijing Tower at the summit of Mt Simatai. Today's walk is challenging with a rugged climb to the summit. Our efforts are well worth it as we are rewarded with stunning vistas and awe inspiring views back across to Hebei. The Great Wall was built by over 1 million people who were largely soldiers, peasants and prisoners. Thousands of them died in the process.Today as we trek this ancient section of crumbling wall, we can imagine the hard work and structural genius that went into creating what is now a national treasure in modern day China. This afternoon we transfer back to Beijing.
Today we have a full day in Beijing to explore some of the most majestic and historically significant sites of this immense city. We start with Tiananmen Square and the "Forbidden City" so called as it was off limits to the general public for over 500 years. Its ancient buildings served as the imperial palace for two dynasties, the Ming and Qing. We take a full tour of this marvelous enclave, inspecting the massive courtyards. We also visit a courtyard district at the Bell Tower, Hou Hai, in northern Beijing, for a traditional lunch.
Please note: should the Forbidden City be closed for an official visit (which happens often and suddenly) your tour leader will adjust your daily itinerary accordingly to try to ensure a visitation without losing any listed activities.
Tonight we enjoy a farewell dinner of Peking duck to celebrate a successful trip.
After breakfast our trip concludes in Beijing.