We decided to head out to the Great Wall again to explore part of the Gubeikou section again. When we first went there, we only hiked a portion of it (Pangloshan), so we wanted to try the Wohushan part.
As we were driving, we hit some traffic (which was to be expected as we headed out on a day over the long weekend). As we were in traffic, we decided to go to the Simatai section instead as we started to see signs for it and have been planning to visit it for awhile.
As I researched Simatai previously, I read that you have to schedule your visit in advance, and I read it was hard to find since it was out there. I also researched that you had to take a shuttle bus to get to the wall and there was a cable car. This was what I knew. The fact that you had to sign up in advance and needed your passport to register had kept us from going in the past.
We decided since we were out that way that we would try Simatai and maybe check out the Gubei Water Town afterwards (we’ve always seen signs for it but never went).
As we followed our GPS to Simatai, we quickly learned that you go through the Gubei Water Town to get there. Parking was CRAZY. I’m sure the holiday weekend had something to do with it. We had to park up on a hill in a dirt lot and then walk down to the town.
After we reached the town, we went to the office that was for scheduled tickets to the Wall. Because it’s narrow up there on the wall, only 1,100 people can be there at once. We purchased our ticket (for the cablecar there and up and the shuttle bus) and waited until the shuttle bus was due back. We walked around the area during that time.
It was then we saw where we could purchase tickets to the water town (and apparently you could buy a combo ticket for the Great Wall there too—so not sure about that advance planning?! It was also a little cheaper buying the combo ticket-next time!).
Anyways, the shuttle bus came and we headed to the cable car to take us up to the Wall. That part was nice and quiet and the ride up was cool. You go high up on the mountain! Once there, there were two suggested routes to take depending on where you wanted to hike. We went to tower 5 and hiked to tower 8 (glad we followed that because the paths were steep and I would rather climb up that steepness than down).
Simatai is a wild part of the wall as there are no walls left as you are climbing. It is steep, but this section of the wall is not too long (to clarify-you aren’t allowed to climb much at Simatai).
We learned that they do night tours where you take the cable car up at night (not sure about hiking there then though!). We may try that sometime.
Gubei Water Town
After we finished hiking up Simatai, we went to check out the water town. It was, yet again, busy here, but it was a cute (man-made) town along the water. You could sign up to do boat rides. There were plenty of shops and restaurants along the way too.
Overall, we had a great day that started one way and ended another way. It certainly was a long day, but it was a fun adventure!
TOTE: You never know where you may end as you start out the day!