As the first section to be restored and turned into a tourist attraction, Badaling Great Wall is the most famous section of the Great Wall. Unfortunately, this also means heavy crowds, as most Chinese tourist groups choose Badaling simply for its reputation, which is why we usually recommend our guests go to Mutianyu instead.
The Badaling Section of the Great Wall can be visited within a half day due to its proximity to downtown Beijing (around 70 km, or a one-and-a-half-hour drive in normal traffic).
While Badaling Great Wall was built in 1504 during the Ming dynasty, it wasn't until 1957 that it became the first part of the wall to be opened to tourists. In 1972, US President Richard Nixon visited the Badaling Great Wall along with his wife. Other prominent figures to climb Badaling include former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and former leader of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev, just a few of the more than 370 world leaders that have visited this section of the Great Wall.
Badaling Great Wall was completely renovated in the 1980s, somewhat depriving it of the ancient feeling you can experience at other sections of the Great Wall. Although it's more touristy and less challenging than other portions of the Wall, you can still enjoy scenic views at Badaling. The fully restored Badaling section also stretches over more than 7 kilometers, offering some space for you to escape the crowds if you're willing to venture out a little farther from the more congested spots.
Hiking up the Badaling section of the Great Wall is relatively easy in comparison to other sections of the Great Wall. The stairs at Badaling are not very steep and they are also equipped with handrails at some parts. Furthermore, you can visit the north section of the area using the provided cable car or the more daring pulley. The pulley is not recommended for young children and seniors as it is a little more challenging compared to the cable car.
Remember to take some water with you for the hike, as there are no restaurants inside the scenic area. Some restaurants can be found around the entrance but you can avoid touristy prices by preparing your own snacks for the trip.
Badaling Great Wall is the most accessible section of the Great Wall. Ramps and elevators are provided so that visitors in wheelchairs can access the Wall, although wheelchair users would not be able to go far before encountering stairs on the Wall. Accessible restrooms are also available within the scenic area.
Opening hours: 06:30 - 19:00 (April - October) / 07:00 - 18:00 (November - March)
Entrance fee: 45 CNY (April - October) / 40 CNY (November - March)
Cable car: 100 CNY (one way) / 140 CNY (round trip)
Pulley: 100 CNY (One way) / 140 CNY (round trip)
Average time for this activity: 1/2 day
When going to Badaling Great Wall, crowds would be the first thing to consider. We advise against visiting Badaling during any public holidays, weekends, or students' summer vacation (August), when this part of the Wall is even more packed with people than usual. (Read our tips for avoiding the crowds when traveling in China here.)
Badaling Great Wall is accessible by bus line 919, which departs from Deshengmen bus station, or Suburb Train line S2, which departs from Huangtudian Railway Station. It takes around two and a half hours one way by public transportation. For visitors with a tight schedule, we suggest hiring a private car or joining an organized tour to save time. Please be aware that heavy traffic is very common on the highway from downtown Beijing to Badaling Great Wall.
Visitors can purchase tickets at the ticket office upon arrival at Badaling Great Wall, but reserving a ticket online in advance may help to save time, especially during the busy season.Visitors can book tickets three days ahead of their visiting date. To reserve a ticket in advance, please visit the official ticket booking page here. This page has no English version. If you cannot read Chinese, you may want to use Google Translate. Here's the translated page:
Select the date of your visit, tourist type, and ticket type, and then input the visitors' information. After submitting the order, you can choose either AliPay, WeChat, or a Chinese bank card to pay.
Once you arrive at Badaling Great Wall on the day you booked, you can show your passports to the staff at the service window to claim your tickets.