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The Great Wall Workout

[ 13 ] April 18, 2010 |

The Great Wall of China, the star of epic historical tales and one of the seven wonders of the medieval world.  It’s the cover girl for China featuring in brochures, calendars, postcards and on the most tacky souvenirs.  Going to China and not visiting the Great Wall would be like going to Egypt and not seeing the pyramids you just wouldn’t do it.  So naturally it was on the top of my list of things to see while I was in Beijing.

I was so excited to finally get the chance to visit The Great Wall even if it was to the restored tourist section (it was much to cold to hike to the un-restored portion).  Seeing The Great Wall for the first time was a WOW moment and not because I found it to be a spectacular image but because I was finally here snapping away with my overworked camera.

Seeing the wall was the first big WOW but getting the chance to climb it was really what me and hundreds of other tourist had came here for.  That and the bragging rights to say “Hey, I’ve climbed The Great Wall of China, have you?”

Now originally I thought climb was an over exaggerated way to say stroll along the wall, after all this wasn’t exactly a cliff we were scaling.  However within minutes of ‘strolling’ The Great Wall I finally understood why they say climb.

No one had ever told me that I would need months of training to prepare for the strenuous walk.  This is where a few months of using a squat toilet would of come in handy. I would then have had thighs of steel ready to take on any incline no matter how steep.  The steep inclines and uncountable steps never seemed to end.


Puffing, panting and lagging behind the rest of the group I slowly step by step made my way up only to then go down then head up the next lot of waist high steps.  On my many rest breaks between the puffing and panting I was able to take in the spectacular view (disappointingly veiled with a thin layer of smog).  If I’d had any breath left the view probably would of taken it away.  It was at this point that I was grateful that my group had decided to take the steeper left hand side leaving behind the tourist masses.

I’m now in preparation (thanks to my squat toilet) for atempting on my next Great Wall Workout in the summer to an un-restored section off the tourist trail.


Tip:  You may be tempted to buy a panda hat or one of the many fantastically tacky souvenirs for sale at the wall.  My advice to you is restrain yourself (I know it will be tough).  Everything at the Great Wall is grossly overpriced, even with bargaining it can be as much as three times more expensive than you pay elsewhere in Beijing.  If you like me see yourself walking around in a panda hat then the area around Tiananmen Square is the place where you can bag your self a panda hat bargain!

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Category: China

About onurwaytravel: Colin has been travelling the world with his young family for the past 2 and half years. He runs a couple of websites all revolve around travel, family travel and digital nomadism. His websites include,, and now View author profile.

Comments (13)

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  1. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by velvetescape: RT @tangenghui RT @onURwaytravel: New Blog Post: Great Hike Up the Great Wall check it out!!!

  2. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by onURwaytravel: The Great Wall Workout!!! and hell it ain’t easy!!! #lp #matadorN #china…

  3. Poi says:

    I can’t wait to do the great wall workout! It’s one of the frist things we will be doing on our trip, excited!

  4. Sasha says:

    The Great Wall certainly is fantastic!!! The pain was totally worth it!!! :) When are you heading to China?

  5. JH says:

    This is 1 of my travel destinations on my list !

    Hope to visit & climb up the Great Wall one day !

    .-= JH´s last blog ..How to Handle & Do Well in an Interview =-.

  6. [...]  Above: Committing no nuisance at The Great Wall of China [...]

  7. [...] is one thing I would say to do in China if you were only here for a few days it would be climb The Great Wall of China, after all it’s a wonder of the [...]

  8. tucky says:

    the geat wall is awsome, i was very lucky when i did it we went uber early and it was dead, there were like 20 people there, ive been told you can do holidays where you walk the whole thing

  9. Sasha says:

    Yes getting there early is certainly the way to go, I’m heading back in a few weeks, though hell no i’m hiking the whole thing!!! lol

  10. [...] I love kayaking so whenever I get the chance I take the opportunity to work out my very weak arm muscles by doing some strenuous paddling.  The Li River seemed to be the perfect place to get this workout! [...]

  11. Chinamatt says:

    I was disappointed with the Badaling section (where you were). I only went there because it was easier for my parents. The year before we went to Mutianyu, which is straight up a mountain, and my parents didn’t make it too far. I enjoyed that section much more.
    .-= Chinamatt´s last blog ..Malacca-minded =-.

  12. Sasha says:

    Yes I went to Mutianyu just recently (much better than badaling!) though I swear my gluts were recovering for a week!!! My friend didn’t even make it all the way and she was meant to be much fitter than me!

  13. [...] the only boomer to experience this. Read the story of one woman’s surprise at how challenging her visit to The Great Wall of China was. For some interesting tips on travel planning based on human psychology and social sciences [...]

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