Simatai Section of the Great Wall Tours – Beijing, China

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Simatai Section of the Great Wall
司马台长城

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110km Northeast of Beijing, China, Beijing

About this place

Built during the Ming Dynasty, Simatai hasn’t been renovated in recent history.  It is known for being a harder climb than some of the other sections.  Steep inclines and high winds test visitors on the hike from one watchtower to the next.
 
On the east side, there are 12 towers which are open to visitors.  Walking to the end of this stretch of the wall and back should take about two hours.  A cable car, which operates between 8:00am and 4:30pm as long as it’s not too windy or cold, takes visitors up to the 8th tower.
 
To the west, it’s possible to walk all the way to the Jinshanling (金山岭) and Gubeikou (古北口) sections of The Great Wall.  At a brisk pace, this takes about 4 to 5 hours.

As is the case for many major tourist attractions, the hawkers at Simatai can be incredibly persistent.  While walking up the path that leads to the wall, they attach themselves to visitors like burrs on cloth.  Don’t forget that they are there to do business and they will use whatever means they have to earn money.
 
Staying Overnight:
 
For those that want to see the wall at sunset or sunrise, there are several places to stay nearby.  If you’re looking for a cheap place to stay try Simatai Great Wall International Youth Hostel. It’s just a walk across the parking lot from the ticket booth.
 
How to Get There:
 
It’s about a 3 hour drive from Beijing to Simatai.

Tourist Buses leave from Xuanwumen (玄武门) at 8:00am on holidays and weekends and arrive back at about 6:00pm. 95 yuan includes the ride there and back and the entrance tickets.  If you’re lucky, the tour guide will speak a little English.   Check the "tourist buses" article for more information.
 
A cab ride reportedly costs about 400 to 500 yuan one way.
 
Many hotels and hostels offer a tour that will drop you off at Jin Shan Ling and pick you up at Simatai.  These sections of the wall are excellent, as there are not too many tourists, the wall is original, but in good condition, and the views are amazing.  Take note that the hike from Jin Shan Ling to Simatai is quite exhausting, especially in the heat of the summer.  It takes about 4-5 hours, and is almost entirely uphill.  Thankfully, if you’re feeling a bit ill, there is a shortcut that will cut about two hours off the hike.  The tours cost around 150 yuan per person, not including the entrance tickets, which are another 90.  Try to find one of the "no shopping" tours that are designed for foreigners, as the many Chinese tours will make useless stops at tea factories, shopping malls, etc. 

Photos by Ethan Olson, June 2007

6 User Reviews
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By Julia Zhu,

Tours and events, Interpreting across China starting from USD120

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Gubei Water Town now is the entrance of this part of the Wall, a man-made water town in the northern China, beautifully constructed.Especially when you have a night tour to the Wall you can see the well lit up water town from above, unique experience, you must go.
Re: Simatai Section of the Great Wall

By Shaolu86,

Your professional, experienced, knowledgeable tour guide

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SiMaTai Great Wall is known for its steepness, ruggedness and outstanding beauty.
The history of Great Wall - 3

By Dorisica1990,

FEEL CHINA. It's beautiful and I'll help you taste it.

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The last climax was in the Ming Dynasty. Right after Zhu Yuanzhang established the Ming Dynasty, he started the reconstruction of the Great Wall immediately on the basis of the Qin Great Wall. Why? Because 2 big problems were facing him at that time. One is from the remaining forces of Yuan who often made southward counterattacks on Beijing; the other is from the threats of the newly raised ethic tribe of "Nu Zhen”, the Manchu. So, in the first year of Zhu Yuanzhang's reign, he s...read more
The history of Great Wall - 2

By Dorisica1990,

FEEL CHINA. It's beautiful and I'll help you taste it.

0

These high walls laid the foundation for the present Great Wall. In Chinese history, this is the largest project carried out in 3 dynasties that brought the climax of the development of the Great Wall. Large-scale construction of the Great Wall was concentrated in the Qin, Han and Ming dynasties. U wanna hear the story? Let me tell you~
The sections of the wall began to be called the Great Wall in the time of Qin Shihuang, the First Emperor of the Qin Dynasty.
It was in 221 B.C., w...read more
The history of Great Wall - 1

By Dorisica1990,

FEEL CHINA. It's beautiful and I'll help you taste it.

0

The Great Wall, symbolizing China's ancient civilization, is one of the most splendid ancient construction wonders of the world. For many years ,the Great Wall as a military defensive project, kept out the invading troops of the northern nomadic tribes. From your handbook u can see, the Great Wall is just like a giant dragon crossing the northern part of China from west to east.
So, how did the Chinese people create such a great wonder? We need to look back to its history.
Con...read more
I love Great Wall...........
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I always dream to go  to Great wall, to be the real 好汉!  I heard of a saying of that, not sure if it`s right  :P
It`s like a large drangon of China, amazing of this.

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