Great Wall Tour F&Q

Weather? What to take? What do you provide?

Thinking about booking with Great Wall Hiking, Everything you need to know…

How to book a Great Wall hiking tour?

All our itineraries are displayed on our website, plus a PDF trip note which covers most of your questions. Please download the PDF trip note and read it carefully and then make a direct booking on our website. Credit card payment via Paypal is safe and fast. Please drop us an email if you have any special questions.

How long in advance to book a Great Wall hiking tour?

We operate tours on a first-come first-serve basis. Our guides’ availability is limited, it is suggested to book the tour once you make decision to visit China, the earlier the better. Currently we’re booked out at least one week in advance. Slots for high seasons at April/September/October are sold out 2 weeks in advance.

What is the average age of past clients? Is there any age limits? 

There’s no age limits for hiking the Great Wall. People decide to attend the hike on the Wall by their fitness level instead of ages. In our past clients, one 73-year-old Scottish lady trekked the Wall for 2 days, another 6-year-old boy hiked the Jiankou to Mutianyu section (5 hours) in April.

People suffering from vertigo or not in a good shape are not recommended to attend these activites.

What’s the weather like on the Great Wall?

It’s meaningless to say the exact weather on the Wall. There are different sections of the Wall far away from Beijing, and it depends on which section you’re going to walk. Generally speaking spring and autumn are comfortable. In summer rain and wind can occur on the Wall anytime, because you’re walking along high ridges, you’re exposed to the elements. Please check the weather forecast three days before your departure.

When is the best season to walk the Great Wall?

Spring and Autumn are the best seasons to walk on the Wall, e.g. April/May/September/October.

It’s very hot in summer (max 30-35 C) in June/July/August, and freezing cold in winter (-15 C) in December/January/February. It’s no problem for our hiking guides at these seasons though.

Will you cancel a tour if it’s bad weather? 

We only cancel trip if it’s moderate rain or heavier by weather forecast in raining season in June/July/ August. We run the tour as usual if it’s light rain. We’ve prepared disposable ponchos in our vehicles. The sections of the Wall we’re walking are up to 120km away from downtown Beijing, the weather forecast in Beijing may not indicate the authentic weather on the Wall. Most of time we run the tour as scheduled unless there’s extreme weather and we will contact you the night before to cancel.

We will refund the deposit or full payment we’ve collected if we cancel the trip due to extreme weather.

Will you operate Great Wall hiking tours all year round, even in winter? 

Private hiking are running all year round except moderate rain in summer or heavy snow in winter.

Small group hiking are running from 15th March to 15th November. Small group hiking’s departure is guaranteed, even with just one traveler.

We still run tours in winter and will cancel tours only if it’s heavy snow. It will be averagely -15 Celsius on the Wall in December/January/February. We do organise hiking on the Wall if the clients are keen to do the hike. Our guides will prepare hot coffee for clients on the Wall.

Is it necessary to call me by your guide the night before departure to reconfirm the itinerary? 

Not necessarily. Our guides will arrive at your hotel/accommodation 15 minutes before meeting time in the morning. We know your duration in Beijing is limited and there are many activities even at night, for example, a Beijing Duck dinner, a Kungfu show etc. It’s not easy to find you at hotel the night before. Most of messages left at the hotel reception actually do not work.

Shall I leave earlier in the morning as I want to escape from crowds? 

One of our advantages is that we only run tours on less-visited, original and remote sections of the Wall.

Based on our past experience, the hiking duration and experience can be guaranteed if we departure at 8am from downtown hotels in Beijing. However there are special requirements, e.g. flight in the afternoon or appointment at night. The earliest departure in downtown Beijing we can organise is 7am without additional cost. If you require to depart earlier than 7am, then CNY100 additional cost is applied for taxi subsidy for guide.

Could I change the travel date after arriving at Beijing?

Most of time we’d been booked out and there’s no flexibility to change your date as the change will affect another group.

Is there any chance to try the toboggan at Mutianyu? 

Toboggan at Mutianyu is optional and it can be done in any of our itineraries including Mutianyu section. Please advise your guide when meeting up.

Could you pick me up or drop me off at airport or train stations before or after the hike on the day?

If you plan the hike on the first or last day of your duration in Beijing, we can include a customized pick-up or drop-off at the following points without additional cost. It’s safe to store your luggage at our car/van. Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK at T1/T2/T3): arrival before 7am or departure after 7pm Beijing Railway Station: arrival before 8am or departure after 7pm Beijing West Railway Station (train to/from Xi’an): arrival before 8am or departure after 7:30pm Beijing South Railway Station (train to/from Shanghai): arrival before 8am or departure after 7pm

Can sunrise/sunset be organized on the tour?

Sunrise cannot be organized for one day hike. Sunset is fine and the group will depart later from city and drive back at night.

If you’re keen to both sunrise and sunset, please consider our multi-day hikes. All our accommodations are next to the Wall, thus it’s more easy to watch sunrise/sunset.

In any cases, sunrise/sunset are not guaranteed as it likely depends on the exact weather condition on the Wall.

What type of shoes do I need to prepare for the hiking?

Sneakers or trainers will be fine for day hike or 2-day itinerary. It is strongly recommended to prepare hiking boots for longer hiking itineraries.

Do I need to bring my own trekking poles? 

We’ve prepared 32 “Made in Italy” Maters trekking poles in 7 vehicles. It’s a part of our service. You’re welcomed to bring your own trekking poles for longer durations on the Wall.

Is there any water & snacks provided on the tour?

We supply unlimited Nestle bottled water in all our vehicles. Water will be prepared in a freezer in summer and hot water and coffee will be carried up by our guides in winter. Snacks are included for all hikes, and mainly are snickers. We also prepare seasonal fruits like apple or bananas if possible. You need a daypack to carry water and snacks.

What are the facilities in local farmer’s guesthouse? 

The twin room are equipped with air-con, electric shower and western toilet. We will shift to a local hotel in Huairou Town instead of Jiankou village when the guesthouse is closed in winter (November – February).

What type of breakfasts available at local farmer’s guesthouse? 

Nestle Gold Blend coffee, pure orange juice, black tea, green tea, omelette, home-made pancake, congee and other pickled vegetables.

What kind of food for lunches & dinners? 

Our guides will organize food upon your specific requirements. Beef is not popular in China. It’s easy to organise pork & chicken. We will organize half meat and half vegetables. Obviously you can tell your preference to your guide. Unlimited drinks (water, coke, sprite, tea & beer) are included except after-meal drinks.

Is there any family room or connected room at local farmer’s guesthouse?

Sorry there’s no family room or connected room available at the moment.

Will you offer separate airport transfers or city sightseeing service? 

Sorry, currently we’re only running hiking tours on the Great Wall. Our hiking guides’ availability is very limited, and we focus on hiking tours only. Please make your plan with other operators.

Are there any German, French or Spanish speaking guides available? 

Sorry, we’re only available for English-speaking hiking guides. It’s difficult to find other foreign languages speaking guides. The priority for hiking tours is the safety of clients. A city guide or amateur guide without hiking experience is not able to take this job. It’s easy to get lost in summer time as the group hikes at remote and less-visited sections. Our professional hiking guides team is the best possible you can find in Beijing.

Can I bring my Phantom Drone and fly my quadcopter and film remote areas of the Wall?

We’re not sure if any permission is required to fly quadcopter and film remote areas of the Wall. Some remote section (e.g. Gubeikou & Jinshanling) is close to military area and it maybe a problem. Local authority at Jinshanling actually requires permission and will charge CNY20000 (robbery!) for filming. We’re not able to help you much for this. We can organise the tour, however you will do the filming on your own risk.

Latest updated in November 2015