All ways to Badaling Great Wall from Beijing downtown
‘He who has not climbed the Great Wall is not a true man’ – Mao Zedong
If visiting Beijing, it is mandatory to see the Great Wall, and if you read travel books or travel brochures or searching online, then Badaling is mentioned as the most popular section of the wall. Also note popular means swarming with tourists. The scenery is impressive with the wall snaking off over the hills in the distance.
Deciding to visit the Badaling Great Wall, but there is the problem that always confuses all of you: how do I get there on my own?
All sections of the wall can be visited without an organized tour. Here are three ways I direct you to get to the Badaling Great Wall.
1. Direct Train Line to Badaling Great Wall from Beijing downtown
It is easy to get to from Beijing with a direct train line from the Beijing North Train Station. The fast train to Badaling (codename S2 Train) leaves Beijing North Railway Station at 07:26 am, 09:33 am, 11:08 am, 13:19 pm, 15:01 pm, 19:32 pm; Journey takes about 55 minis, and the entrance to the Badaling Great Wall is a 15-20 minute walk from Badaling Railway Station.
The first scheduled return journey starts at 3:15 pm, and if you arrived too early, you end up sitting in the waiting room. I think there are only 3 schedule trains servicing on the return journey. It costs RMB 19 for hard seat, RMB 23 for soft seat. You purchase ticket again on the return journey.
The train is quite under-utilized, thus you do not need to book the ticket in advance. You can purchase return tickets from Beijing North Railway ticket booth. S2 has an exclusive ticket booth, which is on the way from where taxi usually drops you off to the station. There are clear directions everywhere, so it is acceptable to you.
As for how to get to the Beijing North Station, the nearest subway station is Xizhimen station and it is a 500m walk. Look out for the signage that points the way. Just believe the signs.
2. Buses to Badaling Great Wall from Beijing downtown
The cheapest way to get to Badaling is to use the local bus service. It costs RMB5 but takes 2 hours to get there. Bus No. 919 – near the Deshengmen gate tower & the Jishuitan subway. At this stop there are also express luxury buses that take one hour & cost RMB 12. Or, Tour Buses leave from the Beijing Sightseeing Centre – Near Tiananmen square. They depart between 7.30am & 11.30 am & cost RMB100 which includes admission to Badaling. You need to get to this part of the wall early – as soon as it opens (6:30am – 6:00pm). That way you will beat the crowds and group tour buses.
Or, You can go on a tour run by most Hostels. They cost about RMB180 and include admission and usually lunch.
The first bus leaves at 6.30am and they run regularly until 6pm. The returning buses run between midday & 5pm.
On your way you will encounter another 919 bus station (quite close to Jishuitan Exit A), but that is headed towards the CITY, and is the WRONG direction. There will be allegedly “official tourist information volunteers” with red badges on, who will try to get tourists to get on their minibuses (for 80/person each way), and they will come up with all sorts of excuses to lure you on. We got there at 10:30am and they told us the public bus to Badaling was no longer running, and the only way to get there would be by the “official” minibus. DON’T FALL FOR IT! Just walk away, further towards the east, and you will find the Deshengmen bus stop from which the 919 headed for Badaling departs. It’s rather confusing that there are like 5 lines of 919 in Beijing which lead to different places all throughout Beijing. Be sure to get on the right 919 and don’t fall for these “official volunteers”!
3. Hiring Private Car to Badaling Great Wall from downtown
Hiring a private car getting to Badaling is also a good choice if you are not travelling on budget and want to avoid the crowded people and traffic. Or if you are travelling with 3 or 4 friends, this way is much more cost-efficient.
The costs for hiring a private car usually depends if the car is luxurious and the service is very good. If you can know beforehand, about 800RMB is reasonable. If you book in a hostel, about 560 RMB inclusive of entrance fees will be acceptable, but you will have to make your own way to and from the hotel.