Located in the Gubeikou County with about 120 km (75 miles) northeast of Beijing and a 2.5-hour journey from the city center, the Simatai Great Wall has far less travelers than the crowded Badaling Great Wall. The length of the Simatai totals 5.4 kilometers with 35 watchtowers whose average distance between two watchtowers is 100 – 200 meters with the nearest two only 44 meters from each other. It is the most essential and special section of the whole Great Wall which is characterized by elaborate conception, unique design, novelty construction and various appearance. The Great Wall professor has praised that” The Great Wall is the top one wonders in the world, while the Simatai is the No.1 section of the whole Great Wall’. It is the only section to retain the original appearance of the Ming Dynasty and was acknowledged by UNESCO as one the World Heritage Sites in 1987.
Compared to the Badaling Great Wall at Badaling, the Simatai Great Wall is much steeper with precipitous steps and shows some unique features of its own which can be described as “perilous, dense, diverse, artful, and peculiar”. It was built along the steep mountain ridges, with Heavenly Ladder and Sky Bridge being the most thrilling parts. You can enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Great Wall at Simatai by ropeway, pulley, boat or hiking as it is separated into two parts by Simatai Reservoir, over which a chain bridge runs through east to west. Travelling here, you will find a section laid with bricks carrying inscriptions that recorded the date on which they were made, and the code number of the armies who made them. Attractions near the Simatai Great Wall include the Gubeikou and Jinshanling sections with only 20 minutes away.
What should be paid attention to? 1) Dress for hiking and dress for the weather and choose comfortable footwear with good grip and support for the feet. Layers of clothes that can be taken on and off will be a great choice. 2) Wear anti-sunshine product such as hat, sunscreen, lip creams and sunglasses to protect your skin or anti-coldness clothing to keep warm as it is colder on the wall than down in the valleys because of altitude and exposure. 3) Bring breathable waterproofs for protection from heavy rain and strong wind instead of umbrellas. 4) Keep in good physical condition if you want to complete the Shanhaiguan hike as the steps here are rather steep and some points are even narrow during your hiking.