Listen up folks! If and when you come to China, you simply MUST see The Great Wall, all 8,851 km of it! Okay, not the whole thing! Dating back to the 5th Century BC, the 10 Kilometers that Manali and I hiked from Jinshanling to Simatai is definitely the most memorable thing we have experienced so far on our trip. That 10 km accounts for just over 0.1% of the total length, left us 100% exhausted and was worth every step during the 3 or 4 hours it took us.
There are several options offered up to tourists and visitors to the area, the Jinshanling to Simatai being the most demanding of the handful that we were presented. You will read some reviews saying it was cumbersome, and loathsome, but wipe aside your wary skepticism and make the commitment you will remember forever. If Manali and I can do this, most can, I assure you. We saw a young boy, 6 years old, pull it off without breaking a sweat.
Make sure you take plenty of water, although there is plenty to purchase along the way from hawkers, and even cold beer! Hiking shoes or at least tennis shoes are highly recommended. Whatever you do, no flip-flops! The Jinshanling side is the most original, having escaped so far extensive restoration efforts, proving it that much more interesting. As you approach the Simatai end, widespread restoration has taken place, making the trek a bit easier.
We paid 260 RMB per person, which included transportation from our hostel to Jinshanling and back to our hostel from Simatai. The bus trip was 3 hours each way, with a short 10 minute break in the middle. This proved to be a great value after we looked around a bit. Lunch was also included, but you are advised to pack a sack lunch if you’re not a big fan of traditional Chinese. Not included is the additional 95 RMB per person of Great Wall entrance fees and bridge crossing, so make sure you bring that along with you during your trip.