Hike the Great Wall, bike to the Ming tombs, and find your Zen with a lesson in kung fu

This active adventure takes you straight to some of China’s most enduring symbols. Spend three days hiking the Great Wall, including time spent traversing an unrestored section. Less known than other parts, stroll this iconic path and take in jaw-dropping views, often without another traveller in sight! Change gears and swap your walking shoes for the saddle of a bike for a scenic bike ride through villages and countryside. Tour the tombs of Ming dynasty emperors, then restore your Zen with a lesson in kung fu from a local master.


Start
Beijing, China
Finish
Beijing, China
Destination
China
Style
Original
Theme
Active Adventures
Code
CBXG
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Hike along unrestored sections of the Great Wall, with magnificent views of the Wall winding along mountain ridges, maybe even all to ourselves!

  • Glimpse how country life is evolving near Beijing with a bike ride through nearby villages and orchards.

  • Pedal to the Ming tombs to learn the myths and legends of the Ming dynasty emperors laid to rest here.

  • Maximise time spend on the Great Wall by staying at family-run local guesthouses nearby our hikes where we can sit down to delicious home-cooked meals after long days of trekking. 

  • Find your Zen while learning kung fu from a local master. Learn the basic principles and common misconceptions of the martial art while being guided through moves and practices. 

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip has active inclusions most days, so you will be expected to have reasonable fitness to be able to fully enjoy all the activities. While there is nothing technical and no specialised knowledge is required, previous experience in hiking and cycling will definitely help too!

  • We will hike some original, unrestored sections of the Great Wall which are very steep and uneven and can be tough going for many. Good footwear and steady balance are a must.

  • As there is little free time or included activities in Beijing on this trip, we highly recommend booking to stay additional days to explore the city. 

  • If you are keen to spend more time being active on holiday in China, check out our South China: Hike, Bike & Kayak (CBXA) trip too.

Itinerary

Nimen Hao! Welcome to China. The capital of the most populous country on earth, Beijing has quickly shed its historical face in favour of modernity. However, there are still plenty of places that give an insight into the nation's ancient past, as well as sights that showcase China's contemporary culture. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm where you’ll meet your tour guide and fellow travellers. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. Settle into your hotel and then maybe head out to explore the Beijing streets – with your hotel located centrally, a walk in any direction will unveil all sorts of wonderful surprises.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
As we do not spend much time in Beijing and depart for the Great Wall on Day 2 of this trip we highly recommend arriving a few days earlier to make the most of your time here.
Today you’ll have some free time in the morning to explore Beijing before taking a private bus to a lesser-known section of the Great Wall – Gubeikou (approximately 3-hour drive) in the afternoon. An incredible piece of engineering, the wall stretches 6000 km/3730 miles westwards from the mountain ridges north of Beijing. Originally constructed to protect empires from invaders from the north, and even though the Great Wall it failed in this purpose, it's still without a doubt one of the country's most remarkable achievements. Take you first steps along the iconic barrier today, then head to a family-run village guesthouse where you’ll learn the art of dumpling-making with a demonstration from your hospitable hosts this evening.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Great Wall - Gubeikou section
  • Great Wall - Dumpling making
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Special Information


Today you’ll rise early and trek from the Gubeikou to Jinshanling section of the Great Wall. You will walk over some steep, remote terrain for approximately 5 - 6 hours. Some parts of the wall are un-restored so you'll need to concentrate hard to keep your footing, while in other parts the trail takes you off the wall to walk alongside it through the countryside. You’ll often feel like you have the whole wall to yourself as you take your time strolling along the wall, which snakes through the hills almost endlessly into the distance. Being perched on this incredible engineering feat and surveying the spectacular surrounding countryside is an unforgettable experience. After the trekking, you'll stay at a different guesthouse by the foot of the Wall. Put your feet up, have a few beers or maybe learn how to play mahjong in the evening.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Great Wall - Gubeikou to Jinshanling trek
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
This is one of the most well rated Great Wall trekking routes. Parts of the section of wall here are not well maintained and the trek can be challenging. You'll need good fitness and walking shoes with good support and grip for the walk – a walking pole may be handy as well. There are many steps and slopes (some very steep) on the way so be prepared for a tough climb in sections. The views make it more than worth the while though – this is a real highlight of the trip.
This morning, we’ll drive back to where we got off yesterday to continue our trek along the Great Wall. This portion of Jinshanling winds through stark hills and mountain ridges. Steep stretches make parts of today's 3 to 4-hour trek challenging, but also largely devoid of other travellers. This stretch is also known for its unusual Barrier Walls, or walls within the Wall, and inscribed watchtowers. Today will be your last day walking the Great Wall, so make the most of it.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Great Wall - Jinshanling section
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Change gears today as you say goodbye to the Great Wall and drive to Miyun, a mountainous region of lush forest and intermittent farmland, for a day of exploration by bike. A stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of nearby Beijing, pass villages and orchards as you pedal through land where the tombs of 13 emperors from the Ming dynasty are located. Only three of the Ming tombs are open to the public. You’ll visit Dingling, often called the Underground Palace. After a leisurely, 13 kilometre/8 mile ride through the countryside, drop off your bike and drive to a lovely courtyard guesthouse and kung-fu retreat for the night.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Miyun - Ming Tombs
  • Miyun - Countryside cycling
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Please note that our accommodation tonight is twin share rooms with shared bathroom facilities.
Start the day with a lesson in kung-fu. Learn basic principles, common misconceptions and how this ancient practice relates to Zen tradition as an instructor guides you through simple moves. Wrap up an enlightening morning with a vegetarian lunch, just like a Shaolin monk, then depart your meditative retreat and return to the chaos of Beijing. The rest of the day is yours to spend how you please. Perhaps see some of the sights you missed at the beginning of the trip or hit up the markets for some last-minute souvenir shopping. In the evening, why not toast to your active adventure with your new mates and leader at an optional final dinner – you deserve it!
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Miyun - Kung fu lesson
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Your trip ends after breakfast. There are no planned activities today and you are free to depart at any time.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

4 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners

Transport

Private vehicle

Accommodation

Hotel (2 nights), Guesthouse (4 nights)

Included activities

  • Great Wall - Gubeikou section
  • Great Wall - Dumpling making
  • Great Wall - Gubeikou to Jinshanling trek
  • Great Wall - Jinshanling section
  • Miyun - Ming Tombs
  • Miyun - Countryside cycling
  • Miyun - Kung fu lesson

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Important notes

1. A Single Supplement to have your own room is available on this trip, excluding Day 5 (Miyun).
2. As there is little free time or included activities in Beijing on this trip, we highly recommend booking to stay additional days to explore the city. 

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.