Walking the Great Wall

10 days
from
£1,769
View Trips
Loading...
Traveller ratings
4.7 / 5 from 104 reviews >
Trip code: 
TCW
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Walking & Trekking
Min age:
16
Group size:
5–16

Walk one of the seven wonders of the world

Stepping out across the peaceful semi-ruin of a section of the Great Wall is like walking in the footsteps of the past. Far from the tourist crowds we are able to get a great sense of the scale and majesty of this remarkable piece of engineering without rushing through in a big group. We trek along various contrasting sections of the wall, both dilapidated and rebuilt stretches. The old portions have a romantic feel, but the new ones may look odd to people who are used to seeing their ancient monuments in a poor state, though since the wall was constructed over a 2000 year period, the new sections are just a continuation of that process. We will get closer to day-to-day life in rural China before returning to Beijing, a city steeped in history yet plunging headlong into modernity.

Highlights

  • Trek alongside mountains on lesser-visited parts of the wall
  • Experience rural life first hand in little villages
  • Watch a Kung Fu show in Beijing
  • Possibility to add Terracotta Warrior extension

Key information

  • 5 nights basic hotels and 3 nights standard hotel
  • 6 days point-to-point walking with full porterage
  • Group normally 4 to 16 plus tour leader and local staff. Min. age 16 yrs
  • Low altitude; maximum 1044m, average 600m
  • Travel by private minibus 
  • Free transfers for any flight

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 6 dinners included
  • All accommodation 
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Arrival & departure transfers

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Chinese Visa - GBP201 with Travcour or GBP151 plus GBP18 special delivery direct with embassy
  • Vaccinations
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

6

Days of Walking & Trekking
Pace:

Approximately 5-7 hours walking per day

Terrain:

Low altitude; undualting paths, some rocky sections

Day by day breakdown
Day 35.0km/3.0miles
Day 48.0km/5.0miles
Day 55.0km/3.0miles
Day 68.0km/5.0miles
Day 714.0km/8.0miles
Day 86.0km/3.7miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Beijing
to
Beijing
  • Day 1

  • Day 2

    Arrive Beijing; free afternoon and Beijing duck dinner

    After arriving into Beijing, the afternoon is free to relax after the overnight flight. There is a welcome dinner organised for the group allowing us to sample one of the cities most famous dishes: Beijing duck.

    Dong Fang Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 3

    Drive to Huanghuacheng; afternoon trek

    This morning we leave the capital and head into the countryside to the Great Wall, a 1.5 hour journey to the north east of the city. We reach the lesser-visited section at Huanghuacheng, which has an incredibly picturesque location by a lake. The name Huanhuacheng translates as 'Yellow Flower City', as during the summer the surrounding mountains are swathed in yellow as the local wild flowers come into bloom. The walk today is relatively challenging and with uneven topography, but the views are worth every effort! We will spend the night in a guesthouse close to this section of the wall.

    Huanghuacheng Homestay or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Trek from Mutian Yu to Jiankou

    Today we take a short drive (40 mins) to Mutian Yu. At this lesser-visited section, the Wall is an impressive sight indeed, snaking off across mountains and valleys into the distance. As one of the best-preserved parts of the Great Wall, the Mutian Yu section used to serve as the northern barrier defending the capital and the imperial tombs. There are 22 watchtowers on this 2,250-metre-long section. We trek to Jiankou where we enjoy the hospitality of a local guesthouse.

    Mr Zhao Homestay or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Morning trek at Jiankou 'wild' wall; afternoon drive to Gubeikou

    This section of the Great Wall was built along a mountain edge and remains completely wild, with towers clinging impossibly to the steepest of ridges. Highlights of the day include the 'Nine-Eye Tower', an important command post during the ancient wars, and the 'Beijing Knot', which marks the connection with the previous section with a famous pine tree. This area is the most photographed section of the Great Wall due to the unique construction style combined with stunning scenery. We walk along this portion before transferring to Gubeikou to spend the night.

    Mr Liu's Homestay or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    Hike the Great Wall at Jinshanling Section; overnight in Gubeikou

    Today we walk the length of the Jinshanling Great Wall section (from Zhuandoukou Tower to Eastern Five Window Tower), which is renowned for being the best-preserved part of the Great Wall and dates from the Ming Dysnasty (1368-1644). This section reaches seven metres high and six metres wide and incorporates five main passes, sixty-seven watchtowers and two beacon towers as it zig-zags its way through the Big and Small Jinshan Mountains (the Big and Small Jinshan Watchtowers are the highlight). The construction is of huge bricks, each weighing around 12 kilograms (26 pounds) and this section features various structures which were used for an array of functions ranging from weapon stores to soldiers’ bedrooms. 

    At the end of the day, we descend to a village and transfer by road to Gubeikou for the night. 

    Mr Liu's Homestay or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Trek Gubeikou's Palongshan section

    Today we hike along Gubeikou's Panlongshan Section. This portion keeps the original essence of the Wall and will transport us back to the time of the Tang Dynasty. We will pass many watch towers until we reach the unique 24 Window Tower (3 level tower). Once here, we will leave the wall and take a detour around the military zone and enjoy a small walk in the woods. At the end of the day, we will meet our driver and transfer back to the guesthouse (25 min. drive).

    Mr Liu's Homestay or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Majiagou Hill circular walk via Niangniang temple; drive to Beijing

    Today you will discover the part of Gubeikou's Great Wall known as, Majiagou Hill. Gubeikou's GW was first built in the 6th century and has not been reconstructed since 1644. It is somewhat dilapidated but it still retains its original beauty. Your steep ascent will start from the northern gate and once you reach the top watch tower you will enjoy some great views as you are stepping on 1500 years of history. On the way down, this lesser-known path will give you the opportunity to see the Niangniang Daoist temple which remains unspoiled. From here we will drive back to Beijing (approx. 3 hours)

    Dong Fang Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 9

    Beijing city tour

    We take a morning walking tour of the city's hutongs (narrow alleys) to see what is left of old Beijing and its traditions. We also visit Tian’anmen Square; the largest in the world and able to hold over a million people. Later in the day, we visit the Forbidden City with its innumerable courtyards and temples. 

    This evening, recommended activities include the amazing Beijing opera or a Kung Fu show. The leader will also arrange a farewell dinner (optional) before we leave tomorrow morning.

    Beijing is a fantastic place to explore at your own pace; if you wish to add on any additional time please speak to your sales consultant at the time of booking.

    Dong Fang Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Fly to London.

    Fly to London.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Extend Your Trip

Xian extension

Code: XCW
Price per person: £399.00
Mandatory Single Supplement: £274.00

Extend your adventure with our perfectly designed Xian extension.

 The ancient city of Xi'an is best known for the Terracotta Warriors; an international symbol of China's long and storied history. Whilst the historical ruins, museums and cultural relics are major draws for the many tourists that visit Xi'an, the city also offers some excellent cuisine, vibrant night markets and the chance to cycle along the imposing city walls.

This extension offers an opportunity to see it all. You will take an overnight train from Beijing and enjoy 2 full days in Xi'an, with plenty of time to see the major sights. You will be met off your overnight train from Beijing by a local guide, who will accompany you on the Terracotta Warrior visit and city tour. In the evening you will have free time to relax, or explore Xi'an's exciting night markets and sample the delicious local cuisine. The detailed itinerary can be found here

Please ask your sales consultant for more details.

Essential Info

Visas

China

Nearly all nationalities require a visa to enter China, which must be obtained prior to departure. The Chinese authorities now require a letter from Exodus, confirming all your accommodation details. Along with this, you need to supply a copy of your flight details, which are on your invoice if you have booked directly through Exodus. For further information see http://www.exodus.co.uk/assets/travelink/China.pdf
It is also essential that we have a clear copy of the details page of your passport. This is required to book certain ground services in China and we cannot confirm your details with our local partners until it has been received. This must be emailed as an electronic scan to [email protected] a minimum of 8 weeks prior to your trip.

Vaccinations

China

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 6 dinners are included. Food is cheap in China and you can avoid the spicier regional food if you wish. The cuisine on this trip is fantastically varied with lots of new flavours and 'things' to try.

Gastronomically the trip can be divided into two parts: 'tourist hotels' and 'local hotels'. In tourist hotels the breakfast is normally a buffet, with a huge spread of Chinese and western food, including coffee, juice, breads, cakes, fruit, eggs, bacon and a wide variety of noodle and stir fried dishes. Dinners are normally taken in the hotel or local restaurants, serving rice with assorted vegetables, pork, fish, chicken and duck dishes with flavours roughly approximating those you would find in a Chinese restaurant in the UK. In the local hotels, breakfast includes rice porridge, dumplings, eggs, noodles, etc, however, we tend to augment this with fruit and cakes where available. Dinners are taken in local restaurants where the food is heavily flavoured with ginger, garlic bamboo shoots and chilli. Lunches are taken in local village restaurants and will normally consist of noodle soup or stir fried vegetable noodles. Expect an audience most lunches as the locals crowd around to watch the 'big noses' trying to master the use of chopsticks!

Vegetarians are well catered for but please inform us before departure of any special dietary requests. Please note that in China the availability of certain specialized products for restricted diets, e.g. gluten-free or dairy-free, is minimal or non-existent and we strongly recommend you bring these specialized dietary items from home. Strict vegetarians may find the diet rather limited to stir fried vegetables and eggs as all the soups are made with meat stock.

Weather

The north of China has warm (25 deg C), quite humid summers, and cold dry winters. If you travel between June and August, it will be hot more or less everywhere, except in the mountains. Some rain must be expected, possibly heavy. If you travel in September/October, you will probably get less rain and the temperatures will be fairly warm (around 20 deg C) everywhere. The winter months in China are cold, so if travelling in March/April be prepared for temperatures to drop, below (10 deg C), at night, but with almost guaranteed dry sightseeing.

Is this trip for you?

This trip is classified as grade 4 - moderate/challenging.

6 days walking, with full and half-day walks with vehicle support, and low altitude throughout; maximum 1044m.

We strongly recommend that you thoroughly read the Exodus grading system as outlined in the Walking & Trekking Brochure before booking this trip. You will need to be confident in your physical ability to attempt this trek.

Walking Conditions

Daily distances are not long but some sections are narrow and overgrown and there are some sections where you will need to use your hands. The wall has deteriorated due to earthquakes and heavy rain in recent years and some parts may vary from trek to trek. There are a couple of hilly days and most days will involve some up and down. Some of the restored areas have very steep steps.

Parts of the wall we walk on are generally in good condition, between about 5 and 7 metres high and approx. 4 to 5 metres wide but a lot of sections can be steep, and are in poor condition with loose rocks and flagstones.

Accommodation

We spend 5 nights in varying basic hotels and in basic guesthouses/homestays, as the sections of wall we visit are well away from tourist style hotels. You should be prepared for these conditions and bad roads on this trip in order to get away from the usual crowds in China.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels & Guesthouses

You will spend 3 nights in comfortable hotels, and 5 nights in basic guesthouses. In Beijing you will stay in well located tourist class hotel. Outside of Beijing the accommodation is more basic and hot water is sometimes erratic.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

, Antarctica, Arctic, Argentina, Canada, Chile, China, Dolomites, Germany, Greece, Iceland, North America, Norway, Patagonia, Russia, Spitsbergen, USA
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Embracing a healthy lifestyle can be a challenge, but if you’re going to keep it up there’s got to be more to it than

  • Reviewed May 2018
    John Floy

    Walking the Great Wall; and Xi'an

    We recently returned from the Great Wall tour and the extension trip to the city of Xi'an to see the terracotta warriors (14th-26th April). The Great Wall experience opened our eyes to the hinterland of Beijing where we trekked the rugged sections of the wall, some of them challenging, staying in local homestays along the way. The families who run the homestays provided authentic hospitality in the most fantastic locations in and around national parks. Throughout our trip, under the inspirational leadership of our guide Jerry (who looked after our every need with inexhaustible attention to planning and detail) we learnt about China's fascinating history and culture as well as entertaining asides on the economics of China. The weather was brilliant. Following the tour of Beijing (mainly Forbidden City) at the end of the walk, we took the extension to Xi'an, under a new guide. The sleeper train from Beijing was an extra experience (it was fine!) not to be missed. The terracotta warriors are housed in a purpose-built heritage site; the numbers and scale are massive; you feel you are right back in the 2nd century BCE during emperor Qin's rule. Xi'an is also worth exploring, including the city wall, which is in perfect condition. Food on the Great Wall was excellent - invariably eating in local restaurants along the way - all food freshly cooked and washed down with the ubiquitous "cold beer"; always with fast and friendly service. This review is just a snapshot of a truly memorable holiday. Well done again Exodus.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Difficult question. Some parts of the Great Wall after a steep ascent revealed wondrous scenery. The terracotta warriors are so life-like and the scale and detail have to be appreciated. Connecting with local people far removed from our British culture and way of life.
  • Reviewed May 2018
    Steve Johnson

    Very good - just a few tweaks

    Overall, we LOVED this trip and would highly recommend it. Just a few minor complaints, many of which are unavoidable (but some could be addressed): - Air pollution was pretty bad on some of the days (though not all). Obviously, Exodus can't do much about this, but future travelers should be aware. I had heard the air quality had improved significantly since the 2008 Olympics, and that might be...but it was still pretty bad. - Plumbing! Other than the Beijing hotel, every single guest house we stayed at had plumbing issues (and it wasn't just our rooms - the other travelers in our group had the same issues). You name it - scalding/freezing shower water, no water pressure, drainage issues. It seems like these SHOULD be pretty easy to fix, and yet.... - WIFI - there are many sites that are banned in China, but others (CNN, EPSN, local news sites) are accessible...when you can get a signal. Most places we stayed at *claimed* to have wifi, but the networks were slow at best, and in most cases unusable. - Food - generally pretty good at the guest houses, but there was not much variety (suprisingly). - Tai Chi - it was nice to have a Tai Chi lesson, but the instructor stood in the front of the group which made it difficult for those of us in back to see her. She should have been in the center, or if possible elevated on a platform or stage so everyone could see her. - Crowds - on the final day we went to the Forbidden City in Beijing at what seemed like the worst possible time: Sunday afternoon. The crowds were ridiculous. If possible, Exodus should try to arrange this tour early on a weekday morning to avoid (or at least lessen) the crowds. Again, all these complaints are minor. Overall, we loved our experience and would recommend it to anyone considering it!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The first day on The Wall - just the exhilaration of actually being there!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jerry was good - he spoke a bit quickly and was a bit difficult to understand at times, and was quite opinionated on some topics...but overall quite good. Very patient and good sense of humor.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The hiking gets a bit intense - be sure you are in good shape!
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Louise Taylor

    Our China experience

    Truely wonderful, the Great Wall was full of twists and turns, ups and downs , it’s more than I expected. The food was amazing , and we were made very welcome by all. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone who loves mountains as the scenery is second to none , I did the Xi’an extension; great fun seeing the 8th wonder of the world something I won’t forget! To top off this trip we were blessed with WEE WON English name JERRY. He is a true ambassador to his country. He was there 24/7 , full of energy and a graduate in economics, history, and tourism! Thank you exodus.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The first sight of the Great Wall brought a tear to my eye , the length history and reason for it’s being there !

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jerry is an ambassador of knowledge in his country, he is a great speaker and very organised, never late, and should be used for any extensions after this trip ;

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    My advice pack light, wear good walking shoes , there are high climbing up stairs, and slopes down , so a head of heights is needed, and be a little fit or may struggle with pace .

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip isn’t just walking the Great Wall , you get the experience of culture, traditions, and to enjoy their food ! We had the opportunity to see a kung foo show , and other evening activities, each activity was brilliant and memoriable .
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Ian Tucker

    Great Wall and Xian

    Great Trip. Hiking the wall was the highlight of this trip. The group got on really well together. The hotel hosts were great. Jerry the guide was fantastic. He knew his job so well. Great guy. The walking was tough at times. The extension to Xian was also good. I would recommend this trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing how big and how long the wall really is.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jerry was so good. He got everyone in the right place at the right times. He made the group feel at ease. This is my third trip with Exodus and he has been the best group leader I have had.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Hiking can be tough at times. There are a lot of steps to go up and down.
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Maureen Lamb

    Wishing I was back in China

    I loved this holiday. I'm missing being outside all day, walking surrounded by great scenery, lovely company, apricot blossom, learning about a culture I knew very little about, the food..... I hadn't travelled with Exodus before, but would definitely do so again. I'm really glad that I was able to do the Xi'an extension. After walking the wall and sightseeing in Beijing I really wanted to see more, and was not disappointed.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved all of the walking, even in the rain. Seeing the local guides look as though they were out for an afternoon stroll while we were puffing and panting was certainly impressive. I found the wall and the Terracotta Warriors to be on a scale I had not been able to imagine. Cycling around the city walls of Xi'an as the sun went down was delightful.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader, Jerry Wu was excellent. We benefited not only from his knowledge patience and enthusiasm but his local contacts and friendships. Jerry clearly felt a real responsibility for us, even writing potentially useful questions in Chinese and English for our journey to Xi'an. These did in fact help us. He ensured we had as good a holiday as possible, and stayed safe. In addition he has a wonderful sense of humour. Michelle our guide in Xi'an was also knowledgeable and really helpful. She took us off the tourist track for a meal after our visit to the Terracotta warriors. I never knew noodles could taste so good.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't be fooled by the apparently low number of miles walked, as the video clip on the exodus website shows, the walk is steep up and steep down, my calf muscles certainly knew about it. I wondered whether to take walking poles, as I hadn't used them previously. Took them but didn't use them, I did however use my hands and knees. I packed a woolly hat, gloves, a sun hat and sun cream and used them all - the woolly hat and gloves to sleep in one night! The weather certainly changed quickly. I took a sleeping bag liner, which was well worth packing. If rain is a possibility a rain cover for your day rucksack looks helpful. I imagine if you love coffee it would be worth taking your own supply. I really enjoyed the additional activities - Tai Chi, the Kung Fu show, the Acrobat show, all great fun.
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Duarte Rocha

    A great hike and a small taste of China that leaves you wanting more.

    I enjoy hiking and love the Far East for its culture so this trip was a good choice when comparing length, cost, activities and travel involved. The majority of the time was spent hiking the Great Wall (6 days). A worry I had before setting off were that it could be quite monotonous spending all your time walking on a wall but I was pleasantly surprised to find that each day and usually multiple times during the same day the terrain would vary from fresh reconstructed parts of the wall to sections that were ruins and had not been touched for hundreds of years. The constant ups and down, with some sections being *very* steep, some minor scrambly sections, areas that looked to have a sheer drop to one side and also not really knowing what was coming next as you headed around a corner or over a ridge made for a fantastic hike. The scenery was amazing, seeing the Wall snaking over the beautiful mountain ridges for miles into the distance leaves you in awe of the sheer scale of its size and human effort that went into building it. The apricot trees were blossoming and the skies were blue for most of the trip. Walking the untouched areas meant that for the majority of the trip we were the only group walking the wall which added to the experience and lessens that feeling of "being a tourist". One day we did walk a beautiful but touristy part of the wall that was fairly packed with visitors but this was a nice experience, especially the huge groups of local school children who wanted to practice their English skills with us and take selfies with members of our group. At the homestays the local families were friendly and welcoming and the food provided was outstanding, and quite different to the usual fried Chinese food you may be used to in the UK. Our final day was spent in Beijing, visiting Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City which is a worthwhile experience and along the way we attempted Tai Chi, visited a Taoist shrine, saw a Kung Fu and an acrobatics show as well as some shopping in town. This was just a small taster of the China experience and it did leave me wanting to visit other parts of that vast country at some point. I've been on a few Exodus tours and I've been fortunate once again to have shared this one with an extremely friendly, kind and funny group of people that made the trip all the more enjoyable.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Great Wall of China is immense and the views of it passing over the mountains for miles on end are breathtaking.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jerry Wu is one of the best leaders you could wish for. Very knowledgeable about the history and culture of the locations we visited. He would often break into long but entertaining, funny and enlightening monologues telling us of his personal experiences in China. Our welfare and enjoyment was always his number one concern and so we always felt we were in very safe, organised and capable hands.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    One thing I wish I'd researched before leaving is access that access to certain web services are banned in China so you may need to find an alternative or a work around so you can use translation or messaging apps while on the trip. I don't believe O2 has a 4G contract with the local telecom services in China so if you have a travel bolt package with them your data speeds will be slow. Wifi is available at the hotel and homestays but they can also be quite slow. The taxi drivers don't speak a word of English. Make sure you have the name, address and tel no. of the hotel you are staying at written in Chinese characters to show the driver in order to prevent a potential faff at the airport. Also, use the officially licensed taxis, they are very cheap and wont charge over the odds compared to drivers standing at the airport arrivals (This generally holds true for many places around the world). I wore running trainers for the hike and was glad I did - they are more flexible, have good grip for fairly flat surfaces and light, I felt they suited the terrain better especially in the dry season. The homestays usually had boiled eggs as part of the breakfast but they do not provide salt so bringing some along might be an idea. Chop sticks are your only option for some of the meals. Be prepared for squat toilets and make sure you have some warm clothing and waterproofs, mountainous areas can see drastic weather changes - on our trip the temperature dropped at least 10 C degrees literally overnight and went up again the day after. Plenty bottled water is provided by the driver or available at the homestays and you can pay for them (cheap) at the end of your stay (honour system). Beers in most places cost around £1 for a 660ml bottle, the hotels in Beijing may charge 3 x that much. The local "fire water" is an acquired taste but guaranteed to liven up an evening.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was overall a fantastic trip, the week flew by in no time but it was extremely fulfilling.
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Howard Perkins

    Even better than expected...

    We chose this trip as something that was a bit more special than just trekking in Europe, where we would also be in a completely different culture. It exceeded our expectations in just about every way. There are a number of reasons for that. Firstly, the Wall is simply incredible (in the true meaning of the word). Whenever the Wall headed up some impossibly steep ridge, the question "How did they manage to build this bit?" was immediately followed by the question "Why?". Secondly, we had really good weather with only a few hours of cloud/drizzle on the whole trip. Thirdly, this was one of the best groups I've been part of and finally, the trip leader Jerry was excellent. So I know we were lucky, bad weather and limited views would definitely detract from the experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    All those views of the Wall following ridge after ridge as far as you can see.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jerry was one of the best trip leaders I've ever had. Totally committed to us as a group, but what stood out for me was that he gave us a fascinating insight into Chinese culture, drawing on his own background whenever necessary. But be warned - if you ask a question, be prepared for a very full answer!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read the trip notes! The daily distances are not very far - but you're either going up or down, usually quite steeply. There is very little flat walking. If you have dodgy knees think carefully. You also need to be comfortable on uneven, steep and exposed terrain, especially where the Wall is ruined. Hands are needed in places. I took walking poles, but didn't use them. Jerry recommended a single walking pole, so that you had a hand free for holding on. A lot of the group wore walking shoes - but I think walking boots are more appropriate. The accommodation outside of Beijng is fairly basic. Some people had squat loos, some had a western style seat. In one homestay, toilet paper goes in the bin and is not flushed. None of the tap water is drinkable (even in Beijing). If that sort of thing puts you off, then this isn't the trip for you. However, every room was en-suite and mostly everything worked. I've stayed in a lot worse. There was very little heating and it was surprisingly cold in the evenings/overnight (2nd week April) to the extent that on one night I slept in my down jacket. The food was a lot better than expected and always plenty of it. I personally don't like spicy food but there was still enough choice. There also seemed to be enough vegetarian options too - although perhaps a more limited choice. It's worth practising with chopsticks before you go or else you might be quite hungry! Jasmin tea is the only drink served with meals - but most places you could buy soft drinks or beer. Coffee or milk are not readily available so if you are addicted, take some sachets. Everywhere advertised wifi - but the speeds were really, really slow. There are also several western sites that aren't reachable. If you can't survive without Facebook (really?), then set up a VPN before you go. Finally, just go with the flow and have a great trip!
  • Reviewed October 2017
    Dominique Hopes

    Great Wall trip-can not recommend enough!

    Travelled alone on the trip, met some incredible people and shared some phenomenal walks! Exodus made real effort to give us the full China experience, rural walks and tourist excursions. Already booked my next trip!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Rural walks with amazing scenery

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Humourous, knowledgeable and have plenty of cultural facts. Could have done with a second person as sometimes half the group fell behind as slightly held up the rest of us!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do everything, take on all challenges and you'll be amazed what you can achieve.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thank you to all involved. Feel the community blog aspect could have been highlighted to those booked as only found one person before my trip which was a shame as a solo traveller.
  • Reviewed June 2017
    Joseph Carraway

    Great Wall, great tour

    Walking the Great Wall is a great tour with a good mix of activities. I go on theses trips to do some good trekking, but it is also nice to see the important tourist sites in Beijing. What is nice about this itinerary is that you do Beijing, spend time away and then finish in Beijing giving you a nice balance and not spending too much time in the big city. The guesthouses are a unique experience and are run by the nicest people I have ever come across. I highly recommend the Xi'an extension as the Terracotta Warriors are a must see, and Xi'an itself is very different with a lot of charm and character.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Overall I enjoyed the day with the spider wall the best but really the highlight for me was any day away from the touristy, restored parts of the wall. That combined with a really great group made the trip exactly what I wanted.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jerry is one of the best leaders you could possibly ask for. He is very knowledgeable and has a good sense of humor to keep things interesting. We had many issues with our itinerary due to the Silk Road Conference, but he handled all the changes well.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Check the weather before you go to ensure you are prepared. I would recommend some electrolyte supplements for those extremely hot days.
  • Reviewed June 2017
    Ferenc Suhai

    Walking the great wall

    Before going on the trip the highlight was for me of course the wall and the scenic views but this all changed and the whole experience was the people I was travelling with the teamwork and friendships I made.. has left a positive impact on me and at the moment all I can think about is the next trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The sense of achievement personally and of the group when reaching a high point and then getting photos of the views stretched out below.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Great.. an original genuine character made the trip an enjoyable experience for me

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read trip notes I did and used blister plasters at early stage and managed to keep feet from getting any worse than just a bit sore.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    My own feelings of trip it gave me more than I expected it was always going to be taking on a section of the wall and then being rewarded with amazing views but the group I was with were just amazing. I would love to meet them all again at some other challenging great location they have left their mark on my mind my memories and in my heart.

Dates & Prices

Please provide as much information as possible below so we can best help with your holiday requirements.

Fields with * are mandatory.

Please provide as much information as possible below so we can best help with your holiday requirements.

Fields with * are mandatory.

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

Trips you might also like

Trails of Ladakh

A cultural trek through remote villages and fertile valleys of the spectacular Indian Himalaya

Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures

Walking & Trekking
15 days Incl. Flights
From £1,949
Activity Rating - Moderate
4.6 / 5
 from 
Call us on 020 8772 3936