Shanhaiguan Pass

the Shanhaiguan PassShanhaiguan Pass in Heibei Province

Shanhaiguan (Shanhai Pass) became known as the "First Pass under Heaven" since ancient times. It is a major pass of the Great Wall, with strategic importance at its eastern beginning. Laolongtou, meaning "Old Dragon's Head" in Chinese is the place where the wall itself meets the Pacific Ocean at Bohai Sea.

You will not understand the military power of ancient China, if you do not visit Great Wall at Shanhaiguan. Shanhaiguan is a tourist complex with six major tourist areas, including Laolongtou (Old Dragon's Head), Temple of Meng Jiang Nü, Jiaoshan Mountain, First Pass under Heaven, Longevity Mountain, and Yansai Lake. Among them, Laolongtou and First Pass under Heaven should not be missed.


The Great Wall at Shanhaiguan has a long history of more than 600 years, and held a very important military position in ancient times. Most of the walls are well preserved and still keep their original look.

History: In 1381, General Xu Da of the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644) led the construction of Shanhaiguan Great Wall. "Shan" means "mountain" and "hai" means "sea" in Chinese language, Shanhai Pass got its name due to its position between mountain and sea. It served as an important frontier defence since then.

Dimensions: The Great Wall at Shanhaiguan stretches 26 kilometers (16 miles) long. The average height is 12 meters (39 feet), its width over 10 meters (33 feet). It was built of rammed earth faced with bricks.

Sceneries: 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.

Comprehensive Tourist Resources: Besides admiring the Great Wall, visitors can also visit the Temple of Meng Jiang Nü and Great Wall Museum, climb nearby mountains, or go boating on Yansai Lake.     

Travel Essentials

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.


Shanhaiguan Great Wall 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.

Walking Conditions

The Great Wall at Shanhaiguan is well preserved, and therefore walking conditions pose no significant 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.

Popular Great Wall Tours