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A strategy for visiting during the summer?

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  • A strategy for visiting during the summer?

    Hello,

    My husband and I are planning a trip to China/Mongolia for the summer. I was all set to spend most of our time in Mongolia, with a little side trip to the Great Wall, but then I went and found this forum. Mongolia might have to wait for another year! We live in Taiwan, and I hope we are able to stay here for years so this is not necessarily a "Once in a lifetime" trip. But if we move on to another school in another country, it could be.

    From what I'm reading heat/rain are the big summertime issues....but here's what I'm thinking (and please jump in with other ideas!). We'll have a couple of weeks (at least) and we are far more interested in rural areas/people than cities. My husband was a farmer in Mexico in his former life, and we're both learning Chinese, so meeting people "of the land" would be as much of a draw as the wall itself.

    I'm wondering about the feasibility of doing short morning hikes at a number of places, staying with farm families and figuring out transport from family to family through some local Chinese contact (identified before we go). If it's rainy, we could stay inside and read/study Chinese/teach little kids English...or if it's not too bad, hike in the rain. If we were going to be there with better weather, I'd like to do a 3-4 day hike to appreciate the scale of the wall.

    Me: 46, in ok shape but some knee/back issues (I think I could do 3-4 hours without much problem if I take it slowly....I only feel pain if I really overdo it)
    Chinese:If I have a pad of paper and can play "pictionary" along with my simple grammar, I can get across a fair number of ideas. I can't read much, and what I can read is in traditional characters (that they use in Taiwan).
    I also am very interested in textiles and weaving.

    Husband: 39, great shape, has some Chinese, very interested in plants. We both like food! And we both are drawn towards rivers.

    Indoor plumbing would be nice, but it's not essential (just so you can gauge our "rough-it-ness". I'd like to keep the cost of the trip down, but having access to a bi-lingual guide for at least part of the journey would be nice.
    Both of us are pretty resourceful and if there is something we can do (photo documentation? Location verification? Reviews of places to stay?) that would further the mission of this forum, please let us know.

    Thanks,
    Wendy

  • #2
    Re: A strategy for visiting during the summer?

    Do you propose to do this around Beijing?

    If so, I suggest you start in the village of Xizhazi. It has a few rustic guesthouses (the famous Zhao's is not the only, nor the cheapest, one). There are a ton of hikes you could on mornings from there, including to other villages (eg the ones over the hills to the west).

    Equally there is a guest house at Chenjiapu (download the GWF map onto your GE). That guy has a website: www.greatwallfresh.com. From there you can do a range of walks including the (relatively) popular route over the wall to Changyucheng. That area gets far, far fewer people than Xizhazi.

    I don't know how interested people will be in getting their kids taught English, particularly by people who are going to be there for 3 days. It can't hurt to ask though.

    I wouldn't worry too much about rain. It usually buckets hard, but not long.

    Around Beijing, the transport from place to place would be easy enough to organise with a map and just a little Chinese.

    BTW it's 37 degrees C in Beijing today...
    If you're tired of the Great Wall, you're tired of life.
    Journeys, &c

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    • #3
      Re: A strategy for visiting during the summer?

      Thanks for the reply bianfuxia....we're flexible on location. The link you provided looks great....a good balance between good support and not being where there are zillions of people. We bought the GW map (that's a deal!) and open to hearing more ideas.

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      • #4
        Re: A strategy for visiting during the summer?

        I would also consider Gubeikou. From there you could hike Wohushan, Panlongshan, Jinshanling, Simatai, Bailingguan, the Northern Qi walls around Gubeikou, and more walls to the west.
        Bryan

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        • #5
          Re: A strategy for visiting during the summer?

          Hi! I'm going to the Great Wall this weekend, and was looking at pictures and I think Simatai would be a cool hike, but I read that it was closed. Can you still get there from Gubeiko?

          Actually after some more research I think the Jinshanling to Gubeiko would be a good route...I'm sorry this is a little OT, but would that be an OK hike to do without a guide? There's a group of about 5 of us who want a less travelled area of the wall, but we don't want to pay a ton of money for a guide.
          Last edited by ChelseaJK; 06-18-2012, 05:04 PM.

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          • #6
            Re: A strategy for visiting during the summer?

            I can't believe it has been over 2 years since I started this thread. For various logistical reasons, we still have not made it to China. We may go for 5 days in April or May (limited by school schedule) and would like to spend it all near the wall. Any updates on recommendations? All of the mentioned preferences still hold. We would be flying into Beijing. Happy to hire a guide. Up to taking relatively gentle two-day hikes. Our Chinese has improved, but still rudimentary.

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            • #7
              Re: A strategy for visiting during the summer?

              Same recommendations. Good luck!
              If you're tired of the Great Wall, you're tired of life.
              Journeys, &c

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: A strategy for visiting during the summer?

                Although on reflection you might like to check out the Brickyard or Schoolyard at/near Mutianyu. They have a website. It's more (considerably more) upscale than the places I referred to before. Well accustomed to ex-pats.
                If you're tired of the Great Wall, you're tired of life.
                Journeys, &c

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: A strategy for visiting during the summer?

                  All sound great, thanks for posting. We postponed the trip because our school breaks are either summer or winter, and now finally we have a few days off that fall in the spring. Plus, we know considerably more Mandarin. Hope we can make it fly!

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                  • #10
                    Summers can really turn your holiday mood off , specially in Asian countries where summer hits hard. I am on my Europe Tour right now and will visit the wall in summer i am also worried about my visit to the Wall.

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