The next day in Beijing, the Happy Dragon Hostel took us & a van-load of other travelers to the Great Wall. For 260 RMB (about US $40) we got transport to & from the Wall & a yummy lunch.
The weather that day couldn't have been more perfect. The sun was shining & the temperature was just cool enough. We took a chair lift to the top of the wall, which snakes its way up & over the hills. I'd heard about the Great Wall all my life & could hardly believe that I was now actually standing on it. Incredible!
The views were absolutely amazing from the top. We walked along the wall for a little over an hour snapping photo after photo before heading back to the rendezvous point. I had no idea how many steps that thing had! We climbed & climbed, then descended the other side only to climb again. By the end of our trek, my legs were wobbly.
There are several different sections of the Wall that are open to visitors. I imagine all of the sights are equally spectacular with views of the Great Wall for miles & miles. The most popular sight is Badaling, probably because it's the most accessible, but we went to Mutianyu. Both are about an hour's drive from the center of Beijing.
The cool thing at Mutianyu was getting back down the mountain. Instead of taking the same chair lift down, we hopped on a super long, super fun slide! The ride was fast & thrilling & well worth the extra 60 RMB (about US $9). Wee!