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Author Topic: Visiting the Great Wall with a 4 year old.  (Read 1663 times)

Slim Pickens

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Visiting the Great Wall with a 4 year old.
« on: April 13, 2014, 01:13:23 AM »
We've spent the last few weeks visiting friends and family and next week we're off to Beijing for a few days sightseeing before returning home.

I want to visit the Great Wall and take pictures of my son for the family album with that classic image of the Great Wall rolling away like an unfurled ribbon into the distance behind him. Any ideas on the best place to go? He's only four, so very long walks and climbs are not going to be possible, I guess this greatly limits my options, but any tips or suggestions would be appreciated.

BrandeX

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Re: Visiting the Great Wall with a 4 year old.
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2014, 07:11:37 AM »
I may be vastly misunderstanding the Great Wall from the one time I visited, but it seemed like there are only 2 choices of places you can go in Beijing, and the rest is blocked off from public access. The one I went to (something like Badaling?) would generally require a young person to be carried if you went to far. It has several steep angles you ahve to walk up and down.

Borkya

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Re: Visiting the Great Wall with a 4 year old.
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2014, 08:26:18 AM »
I think there are more than just 2 but the common ones are Badaling and Mutianyu. Mutuanyu us less crowded I heard (but still packed) and I think if you go these days there is just no way around the crowds. But obviously go on a weekday if you can, and I would say the earlier the better. I went once to the Mutuanyu section in January, before the holiday and it was kinda misty weather and the place was totally empty. Even the touts on the wall were just kind of staring out forelongingly at the mountains around us. It was awesome. But now that the weathers perfect and springy I don't think you could expect that. 

And yeah, lots of steep steps once you take the chairlift up.


The Local Dialect

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Re: Visiting the Great Wall with a 4 year old.
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2014, 12:26:42 PM »
Badaling is ok, very picturesque. It will be quite crowded if you go on a weekend but if you go on a weekday on like, a Wednesday or something, it should be manageable.

Be very very careful about "one day tours" if you have family members who are the types to partake in such things. There are some incredibly scammy Great Wall tours where they take you to some privately owned section of the wall that is basically a massive tourist trap. The biggest operator of these tours was actually arrested but I am sure there are others like it.

We took our son to Yunmengshan, near Miyun, when he was about 6 months old. Really pretty and practically deserted. The wall is crumbling in parts there and it isn't the typical pristine wall for miles and miles, but we really liked it.

Slim Pickens

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Re: Visiting the Great Wall with a 4 year old.
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2014, 04:48:34 PM »
Thank you for your feedback.

We ended up going to Mutianyu.  The cable car ride up was the deciding factor.  We didn't have the place to ourselves, but there were not the kind of crowds that you see at the Summer Palace or Forbidden City.

We went on a Friday morning, arriving at around 9.00am, having found a taxi driver a couple of days earlier to take us there from the Dongcheng area of Beijing. We paid him 600RMB and it was worth every jiao (I too dislike organised tours).

I would love to do the more remote or challenging parts of the Great Wall one day, hopefully we'll get to do it when my son's a bit older, he can hold my hand over the more tricky steps.

Mister Barfly

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Re: Visiting the Great Wall with a 4 year old.
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2014, 04:23:48 PM »
Mutianyu is awesome. Been a few years since I went. Does it still have the slide down the other side?

Slim Pickens

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Re: Visiting the Great Wall with a 4 year old.
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2014, 12:53:31 PM »
We turned left after the cable car ride up, so didn't get to see the entrance for the toboggan ride down, but I think it's still there.