- Beijing’s Best Sights
- Beijing’s Best Restaurants
- Beijing’s Best Nightlife
- Beijing’s Best Arts and Leisure
- Beijing’s Best Shops
- Beijing’s Best Hotels
- Best of the Great Wall
- Shanghai’s Best Sights
- Shanghai’s Best Restaurants
- Shanghai’s Best Nightlife
- Shanghai’s Best Arts and Leisure
- Shanghai’s Best Shops
- Shanghai’s Best Hotels
- Shanghai’s Best Excursions
The Great Wall at Huanghuacheng
This section of the Wall (Chengguan Town, Huairou County, 10/6165-1004, www.huanghuacheng.com, daily 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., ¥25 adults, ¥12.5 students, free for children under 1.2m/3’11” tall) dates from the Ming Dynasty and snakes through some beautiful mountains and lakes.
The yellow flowers that carpet the hills around the Great Wall give the village of Huanghuacheng its name: huang means “yellow” and hua means “flowers” in Mandarin. This section of the Wall isn’t the best preserved, but it’s well worth a look if you want something a little more unusual than Badaling and Mutianyu. It’s only 60 kilometers (37 mi) out of town, so it’s not actually too remote.
This 11-kilometer (6.8 mi) stretch of the Wall crosses six passes and includes six forts, 12 beacon towers, and 32 guard towers. It gets steep in parts, so prepare for shin splints. Look out for two large carved characters on the cliff face below the Wall. They are jin and tang, which mean “strong”—a reference to the sturdy construction of the Wall.
Getting to Huanghuacheng
Bus 916 from Dongzhimen (10/6467-1346, ¥11 bus with a/c, ¥6 bus without a/c) will get you to the Huairou Local Tax Bureau (Huairou Dishui). Say “kong tiao?” (“air-con?”) to the driver to find out which type of bus it is. When you get to the Tax Bureau, look for the bus to Shuichangcheng that leaves nearby. A ticket from here to the wall is ¥3. A taxi to Huanghuacheng will cost around ¥150 each way.
© Susie Gordon from Moon Beijing & Shanghai, 2nd Edition