Although Mutianyu comes in second for Great Wall tourist destinations, putting it on equal ground to Badaling in terms of visitation would be inaccurate. There is a noteworthy gap in the volume of tour groups that come to Mutianyu, so if you’re looking for convenience marked with less hordes, this might be your place. This section has also been recently renovated (1986), and features a chairlift, a cable car, numerous tourist facilities, and an ever-popular toboggan slide. Mutianyu takes a bit longer to reach than Badaling, so most tours here tend to sidestep the off-putting side trips to jade markets and silk factories that are problematic elements on Badaling tours.Though there are good hikes and the crowds are much more manageable than Badaling, Mutianyu can still get somewhat congested, especially from spring to mid-autumn.
Hiking & Info
Mutianyu is possibly the best of the wall sections to bring a family. Recent renovations have made it very photogenic and it is quite easy to hike and maneuver. Furthermore, souvenirs can be found (bargaining is highly advised) for those who want something from the wall, but the hawkers generally keep to the lower areas, so you can enjoy the scenery without being accosted. Finally, the presence of a cable car and toboggan slide can ease hiking time going up and down to various parts of this section.
Because Mutianyu is only 3 km (2 mi) long, trips to this area do not require much packing. Restaurants and fruit stands sit at the bottom, so food is available, though overpriced.
There is also accommodation at Mutianyu if you want to stay the night before or after a hike. The Great Wall Villa offers a more luxurious stay, while the farmhouses are scenic, charming, and have a rustic authenticity. They are equipped with a dining service and even – get this – karaoke!
Pack & Additional Options
Sunscreen, Water, Snacks, Camera
Charlift – ¥50 one way
Cable car – ¥60 one way; ¥80 round trip; children half-price
Toboggan slide – ¥60 adult; ¥50 child
Fuguihong Farmhouse (Fùguìhóng Nóngjiāyuàn; 富贵宏农家院; phone: 6068 1116) – ¥40 ordinary room; ¥50 standard room; ¥60 heated brick bed
Bao Sheng Ren Jia Farmhouse (Bǎoshēng Rénjiā Nóngjiāyuàn; 宝生人家农家院; phone: 6068 2120; 133 6626 8828) – ¥50-80 standard room; ¥100-120 luxury room; ¥60 heated brick bed
Great Wall Villa (Chángchéng Shānzhuāng; 长城山庄; phone: 6162 6395) – ¥180 standard room; there is a Finnish sauna here
Taxi - ¥500 to ¥600 round trip.
Bus - Dongzhimen Wai (东直门外) bus stop seasonally runs bus 867 to Mutianyu twice a day from March 15 to November 15 only, otherwise you will need a tour or the alternate bus option.
867 departing – ¥16, 2.5 hours, 7:00 and 8:30
867 returning – ¥16, 14:00 and 16:00
The other local bus option requires some extra steps, but is a nice little adventure for those so inclined. From Dongzhimen Transport Hub (东直门交通枢纽) which is right at Dongzhimen Subway Station, you will need to take bus 916快 (快is “kuai,” or fast) to Huairou, exiting at the Mingzhu Guangchang (明珠广场) stop. Take your first right and grab one of the minivans waiting to take passengers up to the wall for ¥15 (30 mins).
916 快 departing to Huairou – ¥12, 1 hour, 6:30 to 19:30
916 快 returning from Huairou – ¥12, all day to 19:00
If you miss the last minivan coming home, grab a taxi to Huairou before 19:00. If you get to Huairou but miss the last bus, grab a taxi to the northernmost subway station on Line 15: Houshayu (后沙峪). You can subway it back from there.