Jiankou section of The Great Wall of China
Distance from Beijing: 73 km
Length: 19 km
Difficulty: Hard, can be dangerous
In order to visit Jiankou section (箭口长城; Jiànkǒu Cháng Chéng) of The Great Wall, you should use Xizhazi Village as a base since this section is not officially open for visitors. It is one of the most dangerous and at the same time most picturesque sections, and it is quite appealing for photographers and hikers who like risky paths. It is almost impossible to climb this section if you are not in a good form. Jiankou Great Wall has around 28 towers, where the most popular are: Stairway to the Heaven, The Beijing Knot, Big Steps and Zhengbeilou Tower, which serves as the perfect place to enjoy the magnificent view of sunrise and sunset.
History of section
Jiankou section of the Great Wall was built initially around 1000 years ago, but its main reconstruction occurred between the period of 1568 and 1615, during the reign of the Ming Dynasty. The wall is almost 20 kilometers long and it connects to Mutianyu to the east and Huanghuacheng in the west. General Qi Jiguang, is usually mentioned as the main responsible for rebuilding this section. It is quite different from the other sections since it was made of colored rocks, making it visible even from the greater distances.
Jiankou section is touristically underdeveloped, isolated and untouched, which make this sections so beautiful and attractive. The drawback is the lack of facilities that can make visits to this great place easier. There are no much sleeping and dining options in the area, and most of them are in Xizhazi Village. However, there are some very nice guesthouses where you can sleep or try the homemade food. Supply yourself with food and drinks before you head to the Jiankou.
As for a Mutianyu, take bus #916快 (Express; kuai) from Dongzhimen Transport Hub (东直门交通枢纽; Dongzhimen metro station, Exit E) to the Huairou Bus Station (70 minutes; CNY12; 6:00-17:00 on every 20 minutes). From there take the minivan (about CNY8-10 per person) or taxi (about CNY140) to the Xizhazi Village. From there walk to the Wall. The last bus from Huairou Bus Station to the Dongzhimen Transport Hub in Beijing leaves around 19:00.