Yanqing District (延庆区; Yánqìngqū) is the most northwest district of Beijing Municipality. Badaling, the most visited section of the Great Wall of China run through Yanqing. The district is a mix of urban and rural areas. The landscape is mountainous and local Beijing people visit the nature parks for the weekend. The district will host the alpine skiing, bobsled, luge and skeleton events for the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Badaling Great WallIt is most convenient to take the public bus. The Beijing Suburban Railway makes a stop but there aren't many trains.
From Deshengmen bus station, the north side of an impressive archery tower, take bus number 877 to Badaling (¥12 one way, subway card is available and card holders get a 60% discount). The last bus from Beijing to Badaling leaves at around 12:00, the last bus from Badaling to Beijing at around 16:00, but within these hours buses are very frequent. For the ride back, better arrive half an hour early if you want to sit down during the 1-hour drive! This ride can be annoying, with traffic on the freeway plus a self-appointed tour guide lecturing in Chinese over the microphone, but it is the most convenient way to reach Badaling. The ride takes about an hour. Along the walk to the 877 bus, people will try to scam you into taking private buses which cost more and may not even go to the right destination. Ignore them all.
By trainThe Beijing Suburban Railway reaches Badaling from Huangtudian Station (500 meters away from the exit G4 of Huoying subway station). This train only runs once every hour or two, so check the schedule ahead of time on cnvol.com. The train is spacious and has very large viewing windows, allowing you breathtaking views of the scenery and the great wall even before you arrive at Badaling. Take a seat on the left as the train leaves Beijing to get the best views. Tickets costs ¥6 each way, they must be purchased the same day of travel and only from the station of departure. If you can't find empty seats you can hang out in the nearly empty dining car, which has a couple of comfortable booths with tables. Upon arrival at Badaling station you'll need to make a left turn and walk 800m to the Great Wall entrance. The ride takes 70 min.
Great WallSee Great Wall for general information on the Great Wall. Sections are listed from west to east.
Upper ChenjiapuThis is wild Great Wall with the excitement of a risky hike on the crumbling stones that still form a narrow causeway along the remnants of the wall. It takes about 40 minutes from the trail head to reach this wall section. Walking to the south and west will reach the restored section in Lower Chenjiapu in Huailai County where campers occupy the area with the two towers during the summer. The Great Wall Fresh homestay is a popular starting point for this hike and camping gear rental or a bed back at the farmhouse.
BadalingThe most popular tourist section of the Great Wall because of extensive, quality renovations. However, very crowded with other tourists. Give yourself about 2-3 hours to climb up the wall if you're a slow climber, an hour or less if you're speedier. The hike is a challenge with plenty of steep hills, so once you get a bit into the wall the crowd thins quickly. A cable car and a "sliding car" (sort of like a roller coaster up or down the mountain) which you can take for extra fees (~¥30/60 one/both way).
Great Wall MuseumVisit the under-appreciated Great Wall Museum. The walk-through exhibits provide a good overview of the wall's multi-dynasty history, along with many artifacts from those time periods and photo-worthy models of watchtowers, scaling ladders, etc. The bathrooms are also probably the cleanest you'll find at Badaling (there's even a Western-style toilet). Great Wall circle-vision theater (40y/pers).
ShuiguanLocated near the Badaling Great Wall, the Shuiguan section is sometimes referred together as the 'Badaling-Shuiguan Great Wall'. It often happens that visitors are guided to the Shuiguan Great Wall rather than Badaling especially during holidays or peak periods. The wall was opened to the public in 1995 after repair. Besides climbing the wall, you can also visit the Genghis Khan Palace, the Stone Buddha Temple, Luotuo Peak (Camel Peak) and the Great Wall Stele Forest nearby.
Longqingxia (Longqing Gorge)This scenic area is one of the most popular day trips in Beijing. The Lonqing Gorge is called the "Little Three Gorges" because of the resemblance to the Three Gorges near Yichang. The highlight is taking a boat cruise down the scenic canyon, which had been flooded by the dam completed in 1981. Cruise tickets are available for ¥60/person that take in sights along the water including Coronet Island, a small mountain surrounded by water, and the mountain Zhongshan which looks like a big clock in the water from every angle. Another available activity is downhill rope sliding for ¥50/person, where climbers use ropes to descend in a location between two cliffs with blue sky above and clear water below during the five minute descent.
Yudu Mountainaddress: Eastern Yuhuangmiao Village, Zhangshanying Town (张山营镇玉皇庙村东)A scenic hiking and family camping spot. The primary attraction is the mountain meadow, a large field with a view of the mountain. The Mountain Meadow is packed with families who have pitched tents for the day. For a quiet nearby hike, choose the route that goes to the Second Sino-Japanese War memorial on the mountain top.
Guyaju CavesThe best archaeological site to check out in Beijing. Over 1,000 years ago this site was the home to a tribe that built a community out of the cliff face.