Do and Don’t for Camping on the Great Wall

Camping on the Great Wall(长城) is a must for any Beijing expat. There are many different parts of the Great Wall to choose from. You can hike the wild, half restored, or restored parts of the Great Wall. The wild parts are the most difficult to hike but also very beautiful. It is a stark contrast between the wild() parts and the restored parts.

Do’s

  • Bring lots of water and a first aid kit(急救箱). If you are on a wilder part of the Great Wall, there will not be Chinese people who can sell you water.
  • Prepare to be a little sore() after.
  • Cook a meal over a fire. There’s nothing nicer than enjoying a nice meal on a cool night on the Great Wall.
  • Hire(雇佣) a Driver there and take a bus back. You can take a bus there but it’s a little mafan. Start at Jiankou and end at Mutianyu…it’s a good hike. It’s difficult at first but it’s so much easier once you get to the Mutianyu area.
  • Bring layers. It gets cold at night at the great wall especially with the wind(大风).

Don’t

  • Forget to bring bug spray and sunscreen(防晒霜) and a mosquito net/ tents. Bugs(虫子) didn’t seem to be a problem until about 3am on our camping trip. The buzzing sound woke many people up and most of my friends had to cover() their face with something in order to sleep.
  • Just go on the restored path. The wild part is definitely worth seeing and you don’t want your Great Wall experience to be too comfortable or easy.
  • Settle on a mediocre camping spot because the perfect one can be found
  • Get caught making a fire. It’s frowned upon by local authorities.
  • Camp to close to any touristy place. The wall might be empty at night but you don’t want morning hikers to walk through your camp site.
  • Have too many people on your trip. 6-8 is the perfect number. Some of the hike can be intense and you want to stay together as a group.
  • Forget to appreciate how beautiful the wall is and how cool camping on it is. After a few times on the Great Wall, you start to forget how amazing it is because you have climbed it so many times. DON’T!

Kristen Carusos is from Atlanta, Georgia in the United States. She graduated from Kennesaw State University with a major in International Affairs and a minor in French. She studied abroad in China for the first time in Shanghai in 2010 and again in 2011 at Beijing Language and Culture University. She graduated and moved to Beijing in 2012 and has been studying Chinese since then. She works in the Marketing Department at the Sinology Institute.