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6 Interesting Things to Do on the Great Wall Besides Hiking

The most popular thing to do on the Great Wall is HIKING, i.e. walking on the Wall. But besides hiking, you have 6 other ways to appreciate the Great Wall:

1. Walk on the Great Wall at Night - Coolest Thing Ever

  • Recommended section: Simatai, the only section lit up at night
  • Best time: any time without rain

You may have seen beautiful pictures of the Great Wall below the blue sky and white clouds. But have you seen Great Wall glowing at night?

Simatai's Great Wall section offers night access for a short distance. The Great Wall will be lit up at night between the 5th and 6th watchtowers. There is a well-paved path up to the wall.

On Simatai's wall at night, you can have a beautiful view of the brightly lit Gubei Water Town resort at the bottom of the mountains. After your night visit to the Great Wall, you can relax at the resort area, which offers up to 5-star hotels and hot springs.

Simatai Great Wall at NightSimatai Great Wall at Night

2. Camping on the Wild Great Wall - a Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience

Camping at the Great Wall
  • Recommended section: Jiankou, a wild and perilously steep section
  • Best time: autumn

If you are an outdoor lover and want a special experience on the Great Wall, camping is a good choice. Gazing down from a Great Wall ridge, and listening for sounds in the night, you could imagine how China's northern sentries felt keeping watch centuries ago.

The best season for Great Wall camping is early autumn, before it gets too cold, with fewer clouds in the sky. Then you can best enjoy clear views of the Great Wall winding its way along the mountains during the daytime. If you are lucky enough, you may also able to appreciate the milky way at night.

3. Picnic on the Great Wall - Have a Memorable Meal

Picnic on the Great Wall
  • Recommended sections: Mutianyu, Simatai, and less touristy sections
  • Best times: dry days from spring to fall

If you enjoy picnics in the great outdoors, you should have a picnic on the Great Wall during your China trip.

There is little choice for restaurants when visiting the Great Wall. If you are going to do a 5-hour hike, you should prepare some snacks in case you need more energy. Why not bring a picnic too?

Touring with China Highlights, our tour guide will help prepare food and drinks and carry them for you on the Great Wall. You can have a picnic in a watchtower during your hiking trip. It will definitely make your Great Wall hiking trip more memorable, as you imagine the conditions the garrisons and wall workers endured as they ate.

Read more about the Great Wall:

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4. Take a Toboggan Down from the Great Wall

Take a Toboggan Down from the Great Wall
  • Recommended section: Badaling, Mutianyu
  • Best time: anytime

The Great Wall was built on mountain ridges. To reach the wall, you will usually need to hike up mountain paths for about 1 hour, and you will also need to hike down.

Luckily, some sections offer cable cars so you don't have to do the hiking up and down.

At Badaling and Mutianyu, there is another fun way to get down from the wall: toboggan. Michelle Obama had ridden a toboggan down at Mutianyu. You too can sit on a toboggan and roll safely down to the valley, as the former first lady.

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5. Outstanding Way to Visit the Great Wall - Helicopter Experience

A Bird's Eye View of the Badaling Great Wall
  • Recommended section: Badaling
  • Best time: under good weather conditions

Can you imagine taking a bird's eye view of the Great Wall by helicopter? In a helicopter, you can see the magnificent ancient wall from multiple angles, lying on the sinuous mountain ridges like a huge dragon's backbone.

The helicopter flying time is about 10-60 minutes, and it only operates under good weather conditions for the best views and safety. If you would like to experience this helicopter tour, please contact us in advance to check whether it can fly.

4. The Huangyaguan Great Wall Marathon - a Challenging Route

Huangyaguan Great Wall Marathon
  • Recommended section: Huangyaguan holds the official marathon - at least one other section holds an imitation
  • Date: usually held in May

The Huangyaguan Marathon was first held in 1999 and has become very popular for its challenging route, stunning Great Wall scenery, and quiet Chinese villages. It's one of the 10 coolest marathon routes. It attracts runners from all over the world.

Participants not only need to run but sometimes need to scramble with their hands and feet on the steep Great Wall. You can enjoy Chinese village views and kind volunteers hand out water and snacks. Children from the villages come to high-five the runners.

Besides the village scenery, you can appreciate the most colorful season on the Great Wall. Pure white apricot and pear blossoms make a gorgeous view along the way.

Read more about The Great Wall at Huangyaguan - Longest Restored Section, Marathon Venue >>>

Enjoy a Different Great Wall Tour with Us!

If you are planning a Great Wall tour and want to experience the interesting things above, don't hesitate to let us know. Or you can start to create your own Great Wall tour here by telling us your interests and requirements.

If you want more inspiration, please see our popular great wall tours below. Our tours can be customized:

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