Friday, February 11, 2011

The Great Wall at Jinshanling (金山岭)

Getting to and from the Jinshanling section of the Great Wall wasn't easy and I must admit I was a little nervous of being stranded out there almost 100 miles from the city.We bought tickets from the Sihui long distance bus station (四惠长途汽车站) bound for Chengde (承德). Now jinshanling is a long ways out from Beijing, much further then I realized and the bus took the slow route trying to pick up more passengers along the way. We road the bus for 4 hours or something before the bus driver finally dropped us at the turn off for the place. From there it was still 2 and a half miles to the entrance, and even though we had tried to get an early start, it was nearing 4 o'clock and the sun was quickly sinking in the sky. Luckily a little van drove by and for 20 yuan we hitched a ride to the main entrance. The place was nearly deserted aside from a ridiculously drunk Australian man (or at least that's what his accent sounded like to me) shouting curse words at the Chinese people trying to help him. All the gate employees were staring and laughing and one remarked "he's drunk" to me as I paid for the tickets. we then booked it up to the wall racing against daylight still not exactly sure how to get back. Unfortunately we were only able to spend about 30 minutes atop the wall despite the 8 plus hours round trip it took traveling. But the internet did not lie in stating that this place was far better then the Badaling (八达岭) and other super touristy sections. Plus our late arrival was oportune for the evening light. The sight was gorgeous and we were perfectly alone to enjoy it.

On our way out we mistakenly took the wrong path and out of concern for time ended up crawling down a path carved by water run off. Once we passed through the exit we started walking down the road munching on a few crackers I had the foresight enough to buy at pit stop the bus had made. About ten minutes into it I was able to flag down another car, I tried to bargain but ended up paying another 20 yuan to get to the end of the road. There, for 30 more yuan, they convinced me to drive to a nearby town where they said flagging down a bus would be easier. After trying to persuade me to pay them another 400 yuan to drive all the way to the city they dropped us just inside the boarder of Beijing proper in a place called Gubeikou (古北口), no where near actual Beijing City mind you. Here we waiting for about an hour an a half warding off shady mini vans trying to get our business and watching darkness slowly set in. That 400 yuan wasn't sounding so bad about then and my girlfriend wasn't looking too happy, but eventually a bus came and for just over 100 yuan the two of us made it back to our hotel safe and sound.

1 comment:

Ricky Wong said...

Thanks for this briiliant post and all the lovely pics--Your pictures are amazing. Just looking at those pictures make me want to climb the Great Wall of China now. I also found a great blog of Jinshanling travel tips, I’d love to share it here with you and for future travelers.