Walk the Simatai Great Wall
Constructed by the Ming Dynasty general Qi Ji Guang, it is one of the few stretches of the Wall that still preserve the original look of that period. It not only features unique points from other Great Wall sections, but also shows some features found nowhere. To the west there are 12 watchtowers snaking on the sloping hills. To the east there are 16 watchtowers atop peaks up to 1,000 meters high. Only No. 2 to 10 watchtowers opens to public, for safety concern.
This section of the Great Wall might be the best combination of accessibility and crowd-avoiding that you can find! It is well beyond the reach of the great crowds of visitors who come to the more popular and easily accessible parts of the Wall. Because of its proximity to Gubei Water Town, you can get there pretty easily.
The views are amazing. The Great wall at Simatai has received very little renovation. So it still retains its original look.
Simatai is a long section, and you can see it from various parts of Gubei Water Town. You can either choose to hike during the day or visit by cable car at night. Both have their advantages.
For day trippers, you can choose to hike from watchtower 2 to 10, and back in reverse route. Or by one way cable car, the station is short walking from watchtower 5 or 8.
At night, the opened part is much more limited. Simatai is quite steep and you can only access the portion between watchtowers 5 and 6, that’s where the direct path leads, while the view is splendid especially with lights on. It is not recommended for little kids to walk on Wall at night for safety.
Benefits of hiking during the day:
- More freedom to hike – you should be able to access the entire section between towers 2 and 10. Most popular is the section between towers 5 and 8. You can hike from the bottom of the mountain during the day.
- More visibility – simply because there’s more light, you can usually see farther
- You will have more time to enjoy the Great Wall Music Fountain Show, which starts at 19:40.
Benefits of hiking at night:
- A full day to experience Gubei Water Town!
- Sunset on the Great Wall – though this depends on the weather/visibility
- A fantastic view of Gubei Water Town
- No reservation needed, so if you miss out on Simatai during the day, you can fight for a spot at night. Note that tickets are sold at the Simatai entrance, so you will have to go there after 17:30 to buy a ticket. No need to arrive early.
The Simatai Great Wall entrance is inside the Gubei Water Town, if you only want to visit the Simatai Great Wall only, it is a must to book ticket in advance, especially if you want to visit on weekend or holiday, max 10 days in advance. The earlier, the better, due to the limited availability. Without prior booking, you will only be given a ticket if the number of the tourists with reservations does not reach the limit.
The visiting time is fixed at 10:00/12:00/14:00.
On the visiting date, you need the confirmation paper and your passport to procure the Great Wall ticket, there is ferry bus taking you to the Great Wall entrance. The return bus runs on 12:30, 13:30, 14:30, and 16:30.
If you want to walk back to exit, CNY130 for scenic area ticket is required, since the walking back is through the scenic area.
In case if you failed to book tickets one day before hand, and no tickets available on site, you might need to buy the combo ticket, plus Gubei Water Town scenic area, the total charge is CNY170, for non hotel guests only.