The Best Way to Get to the Great Wall from Beijing

Written by Matteo Updated Jul. 10, 2023

The Great Wall of China is about 2 hours drive from Beijing, nestled in the mountains. You have several options to get there, including tourist buses, taxis, and public buses. For the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, it's often best to take a taxi. For the Badaling section, a tourist bus is usually the most convenient.

The Best way to get to the Great Wall from Beijing
The Best way to get to the Great Wall from Beijing

There are many Great Wall sections you can visit. However, the only two sections which you may visit on your own are Badaling and Mutianyu. We don’t recommend you visit the other sections on your own as they are either far away from Beijing or wild walls which are hard to reach.

 The Best Way to Get to Mutianyu Great Wall

The Mutianyu Great Wall is about 2 hours drive from Beijing. The best way to get to the Mutianyu Great Wall is to take a taxi. In addition, you can also take a public bus and or tourist bus.

Best Option on your own: Take a Taxi

Travelling by taxi in Beijing is comfortable and most drivers are friendly. It's important to note, however, that many of them may not speak English.

It costs about 250 yuan for the ride to the Mutianyu Great Wall. It is about a 2-hour drive if there are no traffic jams on the way. Traffic to the Great Wall is also busy, so we recommend you depart early in the morning. Ideally, start your journey at 5:30 a.m. to avoid the Beijing rush hour which typically begins at 7 a.m.

The taxi will take you to the tourist center of the Mutianyu Great Wall. From there, you can hop on a shuttle bus to reach the Wall.

You might want to discuss with the taxi driver about waiting for your return trip. Otherwise, it could be challenging to find a taxi back to Beijing in the afternoon since the Mutianyu Great Wall is situated in the suburbs and taxis to Beijing are not always available. If necessary, consider alternatives like a tourist or public bus for your return journey.

Most Recommended: Take a Private Transfer

The best way and the most hassle-free way to travel to the Great Wall is to take a private transfer which is included in a tour. This way, you will pick you up at your hotel lobby, airport, and train station according to your schedule. It will save you a lot of time and hassle. All you need to do is sit back, relax, and prepare to be awestruck by the grandeur of the Great Wall.

To arrange a private transfer to the Mutianyu Great Wall, don't hesitate to contact us.

Beijing airport transfer
Beijing airport transfer

Take a Tourist Bus- Not Recommended

We don’t recommend you take a tourist bus as it is really hard to locate the bus station. Currently, there's only one tourist bus that goes to the Mutianyu Great Wall. However, we don’t recommend you take this tourist bus as it is really hard to locate the bus station.

Here's important information about the bus:

How to get to the Dongzhimen Wai Bus Station

The Dongzhimen Wai Bus Station, an outside station, can be a bit hectic to navigate. Here's a guide on how to get there:

The walk is approximately 10 minutes. However, the station can be hard to locate even for locals, let alone foreign travelers. As such, we don't generally recommend this tourist bus due to the potential difficulties in finding the station.

If you're keen on using the bus service, we suggest getting to the bus station around 30 minutes in advance to secure a seat, especially during peak travel times when demand is high. 

 Take a Public Bus - the Most Difficult Way

Bus number 916 goes to the Great Wall. However, you need to transfer buses to reach the final destination. Taking this public bus route to the Great Wall can be a bit of an adventure.

Start by taking bus number 916 at the Dongzhimen Traffic Hub (东直门交通枢纽大楼内) and get off at North Street (Bei Da Jie, 北大街) in Huairou. From there, take bus H23 on the opposite side to reach the Great Wall. Remember to be prepared for potential difficulties during the journey.

Best Way to Get to Badaling Great Wall

Located around 73 km from Beijing, the Badaling Great Wall is a roughly 1.5-hour drive away. The best way to travel from Beijing to the Badaling Great Wall is by bullet train.

Take a Bullet Train to Badaling Great Wall

It is the fastest way to get to the Badaling Great Wall. You can take the bullet train at Beijing North Station and get off at Badaling Great Wall Station. The journey takes about only about 20 minutes.

Upon arrival, expect a 20-minute walk to reach the Badaling Great Wall entrance from the train station. English road signs are available all along, ensuring you won't lose your way. If you prefer not to walk, there are free shuttle buses available from the railway station to the cable car station at the Badaling section. Please note you may have to queue to board these buses.

You can book the train tickets at China Travel. Remember to book the roundtrip tickets. The ticket price for a second class is about 30 yuan, the first class is about 40 yuan.  

Take the S2 Scenic Train

Taking the S2 scenic train is absolutely the ideal way to reach the Badaling Great Wall from Beijing. The 'S2' refers to a series of trains (S202, S203, S204, S205), which link Beijing with its suburban areas.

Notably, these trains have larger windows, enabling travelers to take in breathtaking views along the journey. In spring, witness splendid cherry blossoms surrounding the Badaling Mountains; in autumn, be enchanted by fiery red foliage.

Here is a guide on how to board the train:

The journey to the Great Wall takes around 50 minutes to 1.1 hours. 

 How to book the tickets

Unfortunately, S2 train tickets can't be booked online, and there's no fixed timetable as the departure schedule frequently varies. During the peak season, the S2 train runs to Badaling from 6:20 am to 10:30 pm, while off-peak hours shift from 7:20 am to 9:20 pm.

Tickets are only available for purchase directly from the station. You can use a Beijing Bus Card or buy direct tickets. There's no specific seating arrangement; it operates like a subway with no reserved seats.

Due to high demand, especially during holidays such as the Spring Festival, Tomb Sweeping Festival, and weekends, aim to arrive at least 2 hours in advance to purchase tickets. The train only accommodates 40 seats, so tickets tend to sell out swiftly. Some travelers may find tickets unavailable for the day.

Take a Tourist Bus to the Badaling Great Wall

There's a tourist bus service operating from the center of Beijing to the Badaling Great Wall.

Here are the details:

Why a Tourist Bus might not be your Best Option

Similar to the reasons why we don't highly recommend the tourist bus to the Mutianyu Great Wall, getting to the dispatch centers can be confusing, and language barriers may pose issues.

Take a Public Bus to the Badaling Great Wall

There's only one bus leading to the Badaling Great Wall: Bus No. 877. It departs from Deshengmen Station (德胜门) and the last stop is at the Badaling Great Wall.

The bus to Badaling departs every 30 minutes until 12 am, and the return buses to downtown Beijing start leaving from the Badaling Front Mount Parking Lot from 12 am onwards. If there's no traffic, the whole journey should take about 2.5 hours.

Explore the Great Wall of China with China Travel

Visit the Great Wall
Visit the Great Wall

Taking a private transfer to explore the Great Wall is undoubtedly the best choice.  It spares you much hassle. We'll pick you up from your hotel, the airport, the railway station, or any other location. Our travel advisors and guides make every effort to optimize your travel time and ensure you spend the maximum time exploring the Great Wall. Contact us now!

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