Simatai Great Wall

Simatai Great Wall, Beijing Attractions, Beijing Travel GuideFurther to the east of the Jinshanling stretch of the Great Wall is the quiet and remote Simatai section. The ruinous state of this part of the Wall gives it an air of authenticity that has earned it the reputation of being the most beautiful section of the Great Wall. The local people are proud of this monument and proclaim that it was as a consequence of visiting Simatai that UNESCO was convinced the wall should be listed as a World Heritage site. It towers over the nearby villages and farmland as it winds its way like the spiny back of a dragon over the sharply clipped peaks of the mountains.

Because this section has retained much of its original 500 year old features it offers a quite hazardous passage to those who wish to walk along it. Needless to say, the inherent dangers offer a challenge that is quite irresistible to dedicated hikers in quest of adventure. An additional attraction is that as Simatai is some 130 kilometers (80 miles) to the north-east of Beijing it is well beyond the reach of the huge crowds of tourists that throng the more popular and accessible parts of the Wall.

There are in total sixteen watchtowers set at intervals along this expanse and it will take about two hours to reach the twelfth watchtower. Beyond this point the condition of the stairs and walkways deteriorates and the passage becomes both steep and narrow which means that it is often safer to use the adjacent footpath rather than try to walk on the Wall itself. A flight of steep steps starting from the 14th tower leading to the 15th tower, Fairy Tower, is called Stairway to Heaven for its sharp ascending. Meanwhile a climb of this section could be an adventurous hiking and travelers are suggested to take security into consideration