Old Dragon Head
Summary: Why Visit Laolongtou (老龙头)
Laolongtou (Old Dragon's Head) is the most eastern end of the Great Wall. It is 5 kilometers (3 miles) north of Shanhai Pass, and extends about 23 meters (75 ft) into the Bohai Sea, like a dragon dipping his head drinking water from the sea, hence its name.
Laolongtou is an important part of the miliary defense system of the Ming Dynasty Great Wall, and also a key attraction of the Shanhai Pass.
Standing at the Laolongtou Great Wall, to the north, visitors can see it zigzagging over the rolling mountains, while looking to the south, it is the vast expanse of the sea stretching far away.
History: The sight's name derives from a legendary stone-carved dragon head that used to face the sea. It was built in 1579 in the Ming Dynasty. Unfortunately the original wall has long since crumbled away, and what stands today is a 1980s effort by the authorities to replicate the original. By the shore, the Changtai Tower, and the Temple to the Sea Goddess that sits in its center, was originally built in 1579, but is now covered with replica soldiers in Qing Dynasty costumes.
Sights: The Laolongtou Great Wall is mainly formed by 7 parts, which are the Estuary Stone City, Chenghai Tower, Nereus Temple, Jinglu Beacon Tower, Nanhaikou (Southern Estuary) Pass, Ninghai City and Binhai (Seafront) Walls. Among them, Chenghai Tower is the most celebrated structure.
Chenghai Tower is a two-storey building built with wood and bricks, which functioned as a defensive arrow tower. Emperors of the Qing Dynasty once visited it while on their way to Northeast China, worshipped their ancestors and left many poems and inscriptions. There are also poems by famous literary figures inscribed on the tablets embedded on the walls.
When to go
The scenery of the Great Wall varies with the seasons and each season has its pros and cons. Click here for what you can expect on the Great Wall near Beijing.
- 4-Day Essence of Beijing Tour A from $445*
- See the top sights of Beijing, including the Great Wall at Mutianyu.
- 6-Day Great Wall Hiking Around Beijing Tour from $885*
- Includes Mutianyu, Gubeikou, Jinshanling, Simatai and Huangya Pass.
- 8-Day Essence of China Tour – Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai from $1463*
- See the top sights of China's Golden Triangle, including the Great Wall at Mutianyu.
- more Great Wall Tours *Prices based on 2 persons
The Laolongtou is 5 kilometers (3 miles) north of Shanhai Pass, which is located in Qinhuangdao City, nearly 300 km (186 miles) east of Beijing. China Highlights use high-quality air-conditioned private transport to take the hassle out of getting to the wall.
What to Wear
Dress for hiking and dress for the weather. Choose comfortable footwear with good grip and support for the feet. Layers of clothes that can be taken on and off allow for greater comfort and temperature control. Wear/bring sun protection in the summer and dress for sub zero temperatures in the winter.
What to Bring
Bring breathable waterproofs for protection from rain and wind. Umbrellas may be used here as the ascents and descents are not difficult, but may be inconvenient in strong winds. Bring a camera and money for souvenirs and refreshments. Bring snacks and water if you want to walk a long portion of the wall.
The Great Wall at Laolongtou is well preserved, and therefore walking conditions pose no risks.
Nearby Attractions: Beidaihe Scenic Area in Qinhuangdao City.
If you want to see more of the Great Wall near Beijing, see here for a list of the sections.
There are also many attractions to see in Beijing City.