A few days earlier, we visited Juyongguan(居庸关), one of the greatest “Great Wall forts” in China… but several locals urged us to visit Badaling(八达岭) as well..
First impression of Badaling(八达岭)…well the place has more crowded than Juyongguan(居庸关), the scenery, although foggy is way better. Some parts of the wall can be kinda steep, and since it was snowing that day, the place was pretty slippery.
In my own opinion, if you don’t mind the crowd… the scenery here is way better that Juyongguan(居庸关). If I do go back to Beijing one day… I’d like to visit this place again…but this time…NOT DURING WINTER!!..
- Location: 72 kilometers (45 miles) from Beijing, 2 hours’ drive
- Features: The most popular section among Chinese tourist groups, it is always very crowded.
- Facilities: cable cars, Great Wall Museum, circular-screen cinema, and some wheelchair access.
- Tour time: half a day
How to get to Badaling Great Wall from downtown Beijing
There are two kinds of public transport: bus and train.
Bus 877: Deshengmen ⇔ Badaling
Bus 877 is your first choice. It departs from Deshengmen, about 10 minutes’ walking from Jishuitan subway station (Exit B2) of subway line 2. It is a non-stop bus, taking about an hour and costing CNY 12 per person. The drop-off site is close to the pulley car lower station and about 10 minutes’ walk to the entrance. Please note that the last departure from Deshengmen is at 12:30.
From Deshemngmen: Apr. 1 – Nov. 15: 06:00-12:30; Nov. 16 – Mar. 31: 06:30-12:30
From Badaling: Apr. 1 – Nov. 15: 10:30-17:00; Nov. 16 – Mar. 31: 11:00-16:30
Tourist Bus Line 1: Qianmen ⇔ Badaling
Boarding Point: southwest of Qianmen Arrow Tower, to the south of Tiananmen Square
Hours at Qianmen: the end of Flag-Raising Ceremony on the Tiananmen Square (5:00-7:30) to 11:00
Destination: Badaling Guntiangou Parking Lot
Hours at Guntiangou: April to October: 9:00 to 17:00; November to March: 11:00 to 16:30
Duration: 100 minutes
Frequency: 30 minutes
Fare: CNY 20 per person paid in cash; transportation card is not applicable.
Tip: The bus to Badaling has a stop at Juyongguan Pass, but the return bus runs directly back to Qianmen. There is a tour guide on each bus.
Special Note on Bus 919:
Bus 919 is not recommended any more. It used to be a non-stop line from Deshengmen to Badaling. However, it now does not run on expressway and has many stops on the way. It takes 2 hours and costs CNY 12 to Badaling, which is just an intermediate station. The bus is always crowded, with no seat left. In addition, the drop-off site is 1.5 mi (2.5 km) from the entrance. You need to walk or take the free shuttle bus to the ticket office.
If you fail to catch bus 877 before 12:30 or the tourist bus line 1 before 11:00, and want to go there in the afternoon, you can choose 919. Please note that bus 919 has many branch lines heading for different destinations. Please confirm with the driver your destination Badaling before you board a bus 919.
On the way from Jishuitan subway station to Deshengmen, there are many fake buses 877, which look similar to the official ones. The ticket sellers even wear “uniforms”. Please ignore them. We recommend that visitors take the official ones from the parking lots.
If it is an official bus, there are usually many passengers in a long line waiting to boarding; no one is trying to convince you to get on the bus; the official buses are equipped with a card reader, passengers can either pay by cash or transportation card.
There may be a guide on bus 877 who sells tickets for the wall. The tickets are usually a combo type and we do not advise you to buy them. Regular tickets are available at the scenic site and you can buy what you really need upon arrival.
If you are using Transportation Smart Card, the ticket fare will be 50% off.
By Train: S2
The trains depart from Huangtudian Railway Station, which is near the Huoying Station along subway line 8 and subway line 13. One should get off at Badaling Railway Station; the entrance to the scenic area is a 15 to 20 minutes’ walk. Just follow the passenger flow or direction boards and one will get there easily. A single rail ride takes about 1.5 hours and the fare is CNY 6. There are free shuttle buses between S2 train station and cable car station. If you don’t want to walk, you can queue up to take it.
The tickets cannot be booked online or bought in advance. Plan to get there early, especially when traveling in a peak season.
Seats on the train are not numbered. If you board late, there may be no seat left and you may need to stand all the way to the destination.
If you have a Transportation Smart Card with a balance of more than CNY 16, you can get onboard by swiping the card and no paper ticket will be required. If you do not have a Transportation Smart Card, you will need to buy a paper ticket before boarding; if in that case, be prepared of long queues at the ticket office and you should arrive there at least two hours before departure. The transportation card can be bought at many subway stations. After returning, you can return it to get the remaining money back.