My friend Carolynn made a trip to China and we met up to spend a couple of days in Beijing.
I did the typical things like visiting Tiananmen Square, eating Peking duck, checking out a food street and visiting the Summer Palace.
But the outstanding, though also problematic, part of the trip was camping on the Great Wall. I can’t explain it well, but the adventure of doing it was awesome and the actual sleeping on the Great Wall wasn’t so much. I love camping, but we weren’t prepared for the cold weather and heavy winds that nighttime would bring. So, do I regret it? Absolutely not! It was amazing. I just wish I had planned a little better.
To sleep on the Great Wall you have to go to the less crowded areas of the wall where you won’t get in trouble. I read a lot of articles online. Some said it was legal to camp on the wall. Some said it wasnt. I followed this blog for how to get to a good spot for camping in an area where we were less likely to get in trouble. There are tour companies that will take you, but I personally found it to be too expensive. It may have been much more convenient, but in the end we saved money and got to have an adventure of getting and camping there ourselves
Overall, we managed getting there okay. The biggest issue was getting confused after the local bus dropped us off at our final destination. We actually hiked up this one area for a little bit before realizing it was 100% the wrong way. Eventually, we just got a driver to take us there. He was a pretty nice guy. We haggled with him some because we knew the distance wasnt that far, and he was trying to charge too high a price. But it was all light-hearted and actually kind of fun.
I remember being a little worried when buying our tickets that they would realize we were going to camp and turn us down. But no such thing happened, and we only saw two other campers that night. Technically we didn’t meet them until the next day, but it was nice knowing other people were being rule breakers just like us. They were just smarter than we were and brought a little alcohol to warm themselves, haha.
We walked along the wall a bit and then set up camp in a watch tower. It was pretty dark in the tower so we sat right outside it a bit it while the sun set. That was my favorite part of the experience. We snacked on food, chatted and just took in the fact that we were about to sleep on the Great Wall. It was a really amazing moment. The hours after that of cold wind, no jacket, and basically no sleep kind of sucked. But that didn’t take away from the awesome feeling I had.
The next morning the sunrise was a bit anticlimactic, but I honestly was happy the sun was coming up so that I would finally be warm again. We eventually made our way back to Beijing, and dang I sure did sleep well on the bus ride back.