The Great Wall is a huge, ancient fortification built to keep out rampaging Mongol hordes from the north over the last 1800 years. It extends along the old northern border of China and consists of over 6000 kilometres of wall, though these days some sections are in disrepair and wouldn’t stop a sheep from crossing over. It’s great to walk up its steps and paths and to the regular castle-like fortifications along its length. Imagine the work that went into building it and the ancient days of war and riches that prompted its construction. The Great Wall is perhaps the most iconic symbol of China and well worth a family visit. For the kids it’s like an enormous playground fort, and in some sections the local kids treat it as such too.
Trekking remote lengths of the Great Wall is by far the best way to experience this amazing feat of conception, construction and perseverance, and much of the country it was built to protect. You’ll walk sections from the restored to the dilapidated at Huangyaguan, Gubeikou, Jinshanling, Simatai, Mutianyu and Jiankou, and enjoy hiking the most way-out of Chinese climes, through lush forest, desert sands and tiny villages. The community life alongside the wall is a cultural treat and, combined with the landscapes and the monumental wall itself, well-worth the physical effort.