You'll enjoy a walk on the wall and seeing the rugged scenery at Jiumenkou. This is a recently built section of the Ming Great Wall, and it is next to remains of the original wall that you can see also. It is only 15 km away from the Shanhaiguan Great Wall, so you can visit them together. The scenery is beautiful, and a visit here might be more enjoyable than the more famous sections since there are fewer tourists and the natural scenery is as beautiful as the other sections.
- Chinese: 九门口 Jiǔménkǒu /jyoh-mnn-koh/ 'Nine Openings'
Where is the Jiumenkou Great Wall Section?
This section of the Great Wall is in the Xintaizi Village area in Liaoning Province, on the Jiujiang River that divides Hebei from Liaoning. It is about 313 km (200 miles) or 4 hours' drive from Beijing.
Who Built It and When? — Jiumenkou Great Wall's History
The Jiumenkou Great Wall was built in 1382 by the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) in this strategic area of a valley that that was an important pass allowing access inland. It was built during the reign of Emperor Hongwu (1368-1398). It was restored several times afterwards.
The Northern Qi Dynasty (AD 479–502) originally built a wall there to defend this important travel route from northwestern China to central China. Rugged ridges and cliffs are a natural land barrier between the two regions that impeded access. This was considered the most important valley pass. Control of the nearly 100 meter wide river with the river-crossing bridge portion of the wall was important for military control in the area and control of river transportation.
This portion of wall is the only part of the Great Wall that crosses a river. So it is a unique section of the 8,850-km (5,500-mile) Ming Great Wall that stretched from Hushan on the North Korean border almost to Xinjiang far in the west. In the map below, this section is at the eastern end of the Great Wall near the Bohai Gulf.
Facts about the Jiumenkou Great Wall
Jiumenkou Great Wall Facts
- Height: 10 m (32 feet)
- Bottom width: 5 m
- Length: 1.7 km
- Start of reconstruction: 1998
- Construction material: Bricks and stones
Until the discovery of the Hushan Great Wall, it was thought that this section and the nearby Shanhaiguan Pass section of Great Wall were the eastern termini of the Ming Great Wall.
The Ming built the wall, bridge, and fortifications at Jiumenkou strongly, since it seemed that attack was second most likely through this valley after Shanhai Pass. There was a watchtower every 500 to 1,000 meters. Flanking towers for archers and soldiers defending the face of the wall were constructed about 70 to 80 meters apart on the wall. Additional fortresses were built as strongholds.
In the current reconstruction, there are 12 watchtowers, 4 standing sentry towers, 1 terrace, 1 smoke tower, and 1 fort within the approximately 2-kilometer reconstructed length. It reflects the original appearance.
In the 1990s, archaeological excavations uncovered iron cannons, stone cannons, blue and white porcelain bowls, vats and many other things that help historians and visitors learn more about the lives of the Ming troops on the wall.
- Main features: This section of the Great Wall provides good mountain and river scenery. Along with the reconstructed wall, tourists can see the remains of the original wall nearby and a troop tunnel.
- Troop tunnel: A cunningly devised tunnel 1,027 meters long was carved out under the wall perhaps to house troops or for use to hide troops in event of an attack. It is thought that 1,000 soldiers could stay in it.
- The Jiumenkou bridge: The 100-meter wall across the river is a main highlight. There are interesting architectural features.
- Less crowded: It is a much less crowded section of the wall than Mutianyu or Jiankou.
- Bird zoo: There is a bird zoo, but it isn't interesting to most tourists except children.
- Fame: It was included on the World Heritage List in 2002.
- Best view: The top of the highest part of the wall has a wonderful all-around view.
- Cost: There is a 90 RMB main ticket that includes the troop tunnel and a bird zoo.
- Time needed: about three or four hours for a good look round, and to walk two kilometers of Great Wall from end to end and see the tunnel.
See the Unrestored Section
An unrestored section of the wall is nearby, but it isn't usually seen by tourists and isn't in the area people pay the ticket for. To get there, at the parking lot, instead of walking left and entering tourist ticket office entrance, walk right and cross the river. Turn left and walk towards the wall for some 100 meters. Take the path and stairs to the right and you'll reach a paved path to the unrestored ruins.
When Is the Best Time to Visit?
The best time to visit the Jiumenkou Great Wall is in late spring, summer, and fall before the snow falls. The winter weather is blustery and freezing. In summer, you can see the green countryside all around. The countryside is a bit bleak in winter.
We advise our customers to try to avoid the major holidays when the wall might be packed with Chinese tourists:
- National Day Holiday (October 1–7)
- Labor Day Holiday (May 1–3)
Getting to Jiumenkou: Independent, Group, or Private Tour?
Jiumenkou is about a half hour drive from Qinhuangdao. It is a four hour drive from Beijing. There is no convenient direct public transportation from Beijing to this part of the Great Wall.
Going Independently — public transport is full of hassles, be patient!
Traveling on your own you may meet a lot of hassles and trouble such as the language barrier, lining up for tickets, and figuring out the best travel routes.
From Beijing: You can take a bullet train (about 2 hours) to Qinghuangdao and then take a taxi directly for about 40 minutes. Here is the address in Chinese to show the driver: 辽宁省葫芦岛市绥中县长城管理处九门口. Unfortunately, taxis going back are difficult to find on site, so it is best to prearrange for a taxi to pick you up or go back in another way.
Group Tour — cheaper, but less flexibility
Some companies may provide one-day group tours to Jiumenkou. These tours may include souvenir store visits or eating at a tourist-trap restaurant for commissions.
If you take a group tour with a Chinese tour group, be prepared for a noisy crowd following someone with a load speaker. You might need to go to a designated spot to catch the tour.
Private Tour — free of hassles, more flexibility
The most convenient and pleasant way is to go with us on a private tour. Our driver and guide will wait for you at your hotel in Qinhuangdao and drive you to the wall by air-conditioned car.
A private tour means more flexibility, and you will be taken care of by your private guide and the driver.
- Your guide will arrange your entry tickets (in advance), saving you a lot of time and trouble lining up.
- Our guide will help you go at the best time to avoid crowds.
Our experienced guide will also help you learn more about the history of the Great Wall and Chinese culture. You'll make the most of your visit. Create a Jiumenkou tour>>
What to Bring?
Water and snacks: Bring your water and snacks for the visit. You might not like the snacks and food available.
Clothing: Bring rain gear if you choose to go on a rainy day. Shoes with good traction are essential. Bring a sunhat and cover your skin if you have light skin.
The wall is well made and walking should be no problem. Be sure to cover up on sunny days if you have sensitive skin. Make sure your shoes have good traction on rainy or snowy days.
Where to Stay
Qinhuangdao hotels: See our list of recommended hotels in the Qinhuangdao area. Moderately priced rooms most tourists would want to stay at average about 55 USD. We can arrange your room for you and maybe even find you a discount.
See Other Great Wall Sections
Hushan Great Wall: For different scenery overlooking the Yalu River and North Korea, you could go to the Hushan Great Wall. It is also in Liaoning Province. It is another restored wall section and is a place for an interesting hike. It is 7 or 8 hours away by private vehicle.
Qinhuangdao: Just about 40 minutes away by vehicle, the city of Qinhaungdao is known for beaches frequented by foreigners in the summer. It has a bullet train station.
The Nandaihe Scenic Area is one of the area's top attractions. It is a beach resort and beach area.