Sunday, December 16, 2012

JianKou Great Wall 1 Day Trip

JianKou, known as one of the most beautiful great wall.  Its beauty lies in the fact that it is unrestored, a wild great wall, with a picturesque backdrop, which makes for a fantastic hike!
I took a day trip down from Beijing city to Jiankou.  Took the 1st bus (916 快express) out of Dongzhimen bus station (the indoor one) to Huairou bus station.  The express bus takes slightly more than 1H and 1st bus goes at 550am.  There is a regular bus but that would take twice as long, so look out for the 'express'.  Bus fare is 12RMB
Once i got off at the bus station (ok if you search the web, there are other stop which you can get off and catch a local bus.  But the problem with this is that you have to wait for specific timing of the bus.  If you are short of time like I was, or you prefer more flexibility, get off at the bus station and hire a minivan).  I was the only one off at the bus station at that time of the day, and an uncle approached me to offer his service.  I quoted RMB260 for his service - Return journey (from Huairou bus station to XiZhaZi village where I started) + waiting time.  Good deal I would say! If you were a group, even more worth it.
The ride took about 1H+.  Paid 20RMB at the entrance and very soon started the hike.  The morning started real cold and I was freezing when I walked towards the start of the trail. 

But soon enough, I started to warm up from the walking and uphill hike.  It took about 45mins to get from the village to up the Great wall.

I started at Beijing Knot towards JianKou.  Well it was not an easy hike.  I was faced with a vertical wall of at least 20m which I had to climb bare hand to get onto the wall.  Tried a few meters but gave up - Too difficult in my thick winter getup.  Would have been easier in summer I guess.

So I walked around the wall abit, trying to find an easier way up.  Finally, found a slightly less intimidating wall which I could kinda climb up.  Still no ladder or steps, just bare-hand climb up the wall.
I climbed up that wall

As I climbed up, a group of 4 hikers followed behind me.  1 of them managed to climb up the same way I did, while the other 3 went further up ahead to find easier opening.  Ended up hiking together with them through out.  Nice lads from Inner Mongolia, with interesting nicknames like Turtle, Eagles etc

The first section was the toughest.  Having to deal with almost vertical climb up! And almost vertical climb down.  Where I had to climb on all fours.  The rocks/stones were unrestored so some of them were shaky and uneven.  Was abit scary but it was damn fun!
Yes, we climbed down vertically

The weaher was fantastic that day, sun was up and bright and shining.  So made for a good day to hike, with no big wind blowing to freeze us hikers.

And I thought Jiankou is quite isolated with very few hikers.  Who knew we bumped into SOOOO many people!  There was even a group of 50+ hikers!  Well goes to show, even in winter, people hike the great wall!

 Our hike was intermitten, not continuous.  So we stopped along the way to rest a while, take photos, enjoy the scenery.  Of cos some people can just walk continuously, but what would be the point if you just walk and not enjoy the magnificent scenery and marvel at the grandness of the Great Wall?
The 4 Mongolian Lads who hiked with me

The hike took in total 6H from Beijing Knot all the way to JianKou, where I parted ways with the Monolians.  They were headed towards MuTianYu, which would take another 3-4H from where I left.  Caught up with my driver and another 2+H journey back to Beijing.  It was a great hike! I would go back again given the time and chance, to do the leg from JianKou to MuTianYu!  Of cos, I still have to go JinShanLing.  Too many great walls, too little time :)
The journey back was pretty smooth.  The 916 express bus was pretty frequent, like every 15mins, so it didnt take long for me to get onto a bus and rested my way all the way back to Beijing.


Anonymous said...

Well done ! You are so brave and adventurous! These are great pictures of the Great Wall! Which reminds me... I should go through my India pictures and post some. Having read this I thought it was rather informative. I appreciate you finding the time and energy to put this article together. I once again find myself personally spending a significant amount of time both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worth it! In return, I also found a great blog of Jinshanling travel tips, I'd love to share it here with you and for future travelers.

DianShan said...

Thanks! It was great fun!
Thanks for the link to Jinshanling info. I would love to try that someday when I get the chance to