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‘I know this is horrible now but soon we’ll look back and think about how amazing it was!’
Visiting The Great Wall of China is on everyone’s bucket list right? Especially as it’s one of the seven Wonders of the World. But did you know that you can Camp out on the Great Wall of China? And not only that but Camp on a disused part of The Great Wall of China and not see any other tourists apart from your group??
Well, that’s what I did and I’m going to share with you what it’s like and how you can book a tour to camp on The Great Wall of China too!
I travelled around China with a company called The Dragon Trip who specialise in China Tours, and all of their long tours that include visiting Beijing include camping on The Great Wall of China. I had a really good experience with them and therefore really recommend them as a company to use. You can read my full review of The Dragon Trip here!
You can either book onto one of their China Tours which goes via Beijing, or if you are visiting China and Beijing independently, or perhaps have just a stopover in Beijing and want to visit The Great Wall of China you can do so on their one-night camping trip!
Plus, to get 10% off this tour and any of their other tours use the discount code – wanderingquinn/TDT19 when you go to pay!
Firstly, what’s good to know is that there is a section of The Great Wall of China that is the closest part to Beijing, this is the part that most people visit, especially on a day trip to The Great Wall of China, this part gets extremely busy and is the restored part. However with The Dragon Trip, we didn’t go here, instead, we drove 2 hours from Beijing to a disused part of The Great Wall of China making it a really unique experience!
Before heading up to the wall, as part of The Dragon Trip’s agreement with the local farmers we had to have lunch at a farmers house in order for them to let us up on the part of the wall we visit, however, this wasn’t a problem as they served us an amazing lunch full of fresh, healthy food which was to be our last real meal before lunch the following day back in Beijing.
From the farmer’s house, we drove another 10 minutes to the base of the walk because you don’t get to the top of The Great Wall of China by bus! We also had to pick up our camping equipment. It was 2 to a tent which meant carrying a roll mat and sleeping bag each plus the tent and another base mat – 3 items each in total.
Some of us managed to attach these extra items to our bags, others like me carried them in our hands. Unfortunately for my group, what was a bight blue sunny day suddenly turned into a torrential downpour and we did the whole walk in the rain getting soaked which is where the ‘I know this is horrible now but soon we’ll look back and think how amazing it was!’ quote comes from!
That quote was totally true! This was by far the most memorable experience from my China Trip and one I’m so glad I experienced!
The walk to the top of The Great Wall of China takes 40-50 minutes, it starts off pretty easy but definitely gets harder closer to the top. On its own the walk would have been hard work but not too bad, however carrying a backpack with overnight things, bottles of water, (and in some cases a fair few bottles of beer), snacks and 3 extra bags for camping meant it was a tough walk I won’t lie. And like I said, it was raining all throughout our walk!
Related Posts: Tips for visiting The Great Wall of China.
The top soon came into sight though and so did The Great Wall of China! We’d seen it from the road as we drove closer earlier that day and of course I’ve seen many photos and videos of it but seeing it in real life after that hike to The Great Wall of China was pretty amazing!!
By this point the rain had stopped and if it wasn’t for the fact that all of our stuff, and us, were very wet it would have been like it never happened as the sky was back to an amazing blue, the sun was shining and we knew at that point that we would see a pretty epic sunset from The Great Wall of China just like we had hoped!
Before heading off to explore we had to put the tents up. The camping ground is used by all of The Dragon Trip groups so it’s a well laid out section of flat land nestled literally next to the wall with the most amazing view of all of the mountains in front.
Luckily the tents that The Dragon Trip provide are easy to assemble so it didn’t take too long at all before we were able to head up onto the wall, have a play, take a load of photos and catch that amazing sunset!
As evening time came we settled outside our tents, because I camped on The Great Wall of China at the start of May it was very chilly as soon as the sun went down and we slowly had to put more and more layers on.
The Dragon Trip used to allow camp fires which I bet not only added to the atmosphere immensely but also warmed everyone up, however they no longer light fires which is a bit of a shame, so instead we had some battery powered lamps to sit around.
As there’s no fire and no other way to cook food so the snacks we had bought from Beijing earlier that day provided as dinner.
The bathroom and toilet situation is as wild as it gets, as in, there isn’t one at all. There’s a path leading away from the camp site and the trick is to go up there and find a quiet spot to yourself in between the trees!
Our actual night camping on a disused part of The Great Wall of China wasn’t particularly nice I’ll be honest, my sleeping bag was still pretty damp from the walk up, it was cold and very uncomfortable as the tents are only small and I, of course, had to make the dreaded toilet break at 1:00 am in the morning. However, 5:00 am did come around which was the time to wake up if we wanted to see the sunrise.
For those of us who got up, we saw a pretty amazing sunrise between the clouds and over the mountains too. The camping spot is well located for sure!
It was a very windy morning and I had a huge lack of energy as the night before camping we were on an overnight train from Shaolin to Beijing with limited sleep so instead of spending more time walking the wall which is an option we had, many of us huddled outside our tents with our sleeping bags over us until 7:00 am when we had to pack up and walk down to the bottom.
The walk down was different one to the one we walked up, steeper but quicker (I believe sometimes this way is used to walk up), and I definitely appreciated the ease after the walk up the day before. It was also pretty cool to be walking down the mountainside of The Great Wall.
We met our driver at the bottom, dropped off our camping stuff and headed back to Beijing before a full day sightseeing in Beijing!
Camping on The Great Wall of China is weather dependent. If bad weather is expected such as rain and cold temperatures The Dragon Trip arrange a hostel stay near the Great Wall and walk up in the morning to see the sunrise from a disused part so you do still see the wall with no one else on which is still very special.
Booking the one night camping tour with The Dragon Trip will mean you join an organised tour of people who have already been together travelling China which may seem a bit intimidating however I feel like The Dragon Trip attracts nice people and I know you would have been welcomed into our group well so I wouldn’t worry about that!
If you can’t spare a night to camp there are other ways you can get to the Great Wall of China from Beijing and visit various parts of the wall.
A small backpack with some things for overnight is all you’ll need and you definitely don’t need much. The clothes I wore up are what I slept in and wore the next morning too!
Layers are key, especially in the Spring and Autumn months when it’s colder.
A Woolly Hat, Gloves and Thick Socks are a good idea in the colder months.
Raincoat and Umbrella incase of rain. I witnessed first hand how quickly the weather can change.
A change of clothes incase your clothes get wet.
Good walking shoes. Trainers are needed but if you have walking shoes even better.
Mosquito Spray for the warmer months.
A sleeping bag inner is a good thing to take if you already have one, if not it’s fine.
Snacks for the evening and morning plus enough water as there is nowhere to get water on the wall.
Basic Toiletries. There are no sinks or anything that resembles a bathroom so a toothbrush and toothpaste plus some wipes are all you need.
All you need to do now is to book the trip!
Book to camp on The Great Wall of China with The Dragon Trip on their website direct here! Remember to use the discount code wanderingquinn/TDT19 to get 10% off your booking when you pay which also works for any of their tours.
For more of my China posts see:
I was on a complimentary trip around China with The Dragon Trip and the discount code provided acts as an affiliate code too but all thoughts and opinions are my own and I truly recommend the experience.
I’m Ellie Quinn!
I’m a travel addict who has been travelling on and off since 2010. In the Summer of 2018 I quit my office job in London, left my flat and I now travel and blog full time! Yes, I’m living that dream!
NOV-DEC: PROBABLY INDONESIA
If you want to join or read more about the details of the group tour.