After arriving into Beijing, the afternoon is free to relax after the overnight flight. There is a welcome dinner organised for the group allowing us to sample one of the cities most famous dishes: Beijing duck. *Dong Fang Hotel or similar*
This morning we leave the capital and head into the countryside to the Great Wall, a 1.5 hour journey to the north east of the city. We reach the lesser-visited section at Huanghuacheng, which has an incredibly picturesque location by a lake. The name Huanhuacheng translates as 'Yellow Flower City', as during the summer the surrounding mountains are swathed in yellow as the local wild flowers come into bloom. The walk today is relatively challenging and with uneven topography, but the views are worth every effort! We will spend the night in a guesthouse close to this section of the wall. *Huanghuacheng Homestay or similar*
Today we take a short drive (40 mins) to Mutian Yu. At this lesser-visited section, the Wall is an impressive sight indeed, snaking off across mountains and valleys into the distance. As one of the best-preserved parts of the Great Wall, the Mutian Yu section used to serve as the northern barrier defending the capital and the imperial tombs. There are 22 watchtowers on this 2,250-metre-long section. We trek to Jiankou where we enjoy the hospitality of a local guesthouse. *Mr Zhao Homestay or similar*
This section of the Great Wall was built along a mountain edge and remains completely wild, with towers clinging impossibly to the steepest of ridges. Highlights of the day include the 'Nine-Eye Tower', an important command post during the ancient wars, and the 'Beijing Knot', which marks the connection with the previous section with a famous pine tree. This area is the most photographed section of the Great Wall due to the unique construction style combined with stunning scenery. We walk along this portion before transferring to Gubeikou to spend the night. *Mr Liu's Homestay or similar*
Today we walk the length of the Jinshanling Great Wall section (from Zhuandoukou Tower to Eastern Five Window Tower), which is renowned for being the best-preserved part of the Great Wall and dates from the Ming Dysnasty (1368-1644). This section reaches seven metres high and six metres wide and incorporates five main passes, sixty-seven watchtowers and two beacon towers as it zig-zags its way through the Big and Small Jinshan Mountains (the Big and Small Jinshan Watchtowers are the highlight). The construction is of huge bricks, each weighing around 12 kilograms (26 pounds) and this section features various structures which were used for an array of functions ranging from weapon stores to soldiers’ bedrooms. At the end of the day, we descend to a village and transfer by road to Gubeikou for the night. *Mr Liu's Homestay or similar*
Today we hike along Gubeikou's Panlongshan Section. This portion keeps the original essence of the Wall and will transport us back to the time of the Tang Dynasty. We will pass many watch towers until we reach the unique 24 Window Tower (3 level tower). Once here, we will leave the wall and take a detour around the military zone and enjoy a small walk in the woods. At the end of the day, we will meet our driver and transfer back to the guesthouse (25 min. drive). *Mr Liu's Homestay or similar*
Today you will discover the part of Gubeikou's Great Wall known as, Majiagou Hill. Gubeikou's GW was first built in the 6th century and has not been reconstructed since 1644. It is somewhat dilapidated but it still retains its original beauty. Your steep ascent will start from the northern gate and once you reach the top watch tower you will enjoy some great views as you are stepping on 1500 years of history. On the way down, this lesser-known path will give you the opportunity to see the Niangniang Daoist temple which remains unspoiled. From here we will drive back to Beijing (approx. 3 hours) *Dong Fang Hotel or similar*
We take a morning walking tour of the city's hutongs (narrow alleys) to see what is left of old Beijing and its traditions. We also visit Tian’anmen Square; the largest in the world and able to hold over a million people. Later in the day, we visit the Forbidden City with its innumerable courtyards and temples. This evening, recommended activities include the amazing Beijing opera or a Kung Fu show. The leader will also arrange a farewell dinner (optional) before we leave tomorrow morning. Beijing is a fantastic place to explore at your own pace; if you wish to add on any additional time please speak to your sales consultant at the time of booking. *Dong Fang Hotel or similar*
Our trips ends today in Beijing after breakfast.
* 5 nights basic hotels and 3 nights standard hotel * 6 days point-to-point walking with full porterage * Group normally 4 to 16 plus tour leader and local staff. Min. age 16 yrs * Low altitude; maximum 1044m, average 600m * Travel by private minibus * Free transfers for any flight
All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 6 dinners are included. Food is cheap in China and you can avoid the spicier regional food if you wish. The cuisine on this trip is fantastically varied with lots of new flavours and 'things' to try. Gastronomically the trip can be divided into two parts: 'tourist hotels' and 'local hotels'. In tourist hotels the breakfast is normally a buffet, with a huge spread of Chinese and western food, including coffee, juice, breads, cakes, fruit, eggs, bacon and a wide variety of noodle and stir fried dishes. Dinners are normally taken in the hotel or local restaurants, serving rice with assorted vegetables, pork, fish, chicken and duck dishes with flavours roughly approximating those you would find in a Chinese restaurant in the UK. In the local hotels, breakfast includes rice porridge, dumplings, eggs, noodles, etc, however, we tend to augment this with fruit and cakes where available. Dinners are taken in local restaurants where the food is heavily flavoured with ginger, garlic bamboo shoots and chilli. Lunches are taken in local village restaurants and will normally consist of noodle soup or stir fried vegetable noodles. Expect an audience most lunches as the locals crowd around to watch the 'big noses' trying to master the use of chopsticks! Vegetarians are well catered for but please inform us before departure of any special dietary requests. Please note that in China the availability of certain specialized products for restricted diets, e.g. gluten-free or dairy-free, is minimal or non-existent and we strongly recommend you bring these specialized dietary items from home. Strict vegetarians may find the diet rather limited to stir fried vegetables and eggs as all the soups are made with meat stock.
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