Yanqing District (延庆区; Yánqìngqū) is a rural and urban district in the northwest corner of Beijing Municipality. The most famous attraction is Badaling, a jam packed and classic tourist section of the Great Wall of China. The landscape is mountainous and locals take popular day trips to Yanqing to visit the Longqing Gorge and Guyaju Caves. Yangqing will host the alpine skiing, bobsled, luge and skeleton events for the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Bus 919 (express and non-express) leave from Deshengmen Arrow Tower at high frequencies to stops in Yanqing District. It takes about 90 minutes to get to Dafutuo (大浮坨) on express Bus 919.
Badaling Great Wall
The sleekest way to get to Badaling is by high speed rail. Alternatively if you don't want to wait for the train or travel far to get to the railway station, there are high frequency public bus departing from the center of the city to Badaling. There is also the slower and infrequent Beijing Suburban Railway.
By high speed rail
A high speed train stops at Badaling Great Wall in an underground station that is the world's biggest and deepest underground railway station. The train route starts from Beijing North or Qinghe railway stations and ends in Zhangjiakou. Most trains depart from Qinghe train station, which is located on Line 13 and about 10 km north of Beijing North station. Tickets are 23 RMB or slightly higher. From 1 December 2020, high-speed rail access to downtown Yanqing is also provided at either Beijing North or Qinghe stations, with the second class fare from Beijing to Yanqing up to 35 RMB.
From Deshengmen Arrow Tower take bus number 877 to Badaling. The last bus from Beijing to Badaling leaves at around 12:00 and the last bus from Badaling to Beijing at around 16:00. The ride takes about an hour. On your way to the bus stop, people will try to scam you into taking private buses which cost more and may not even go to the right destination. Ignore them all.
By suburban rail
The Beijing Suburban Railway infrequently goes from Huangtudian Station (500 meters away from exit G4 of Huoying subway station) to Badaling. Huoying subway station is on Line 13 and almost 30 km from the center of Beijing. There are only 2-3 departures to Badaling before the afternoon and 2-3 trains coming back to Beijing in the afternoon. Schedule The train is spacious and has very large viewing windows, allowing you breathtaking views of the scenery and Great Wall even before you arrive at Badaling. Take a seat on the left as the train leaves Beijing to get the best views. If you can't find empty seats you can hang out in the nearly empty dining car, which has a couple of comfortable booths with tables. Upon arrival at Badaling station you'll need to make a left turn and walk 800m to the entrance of Badaling. The ride takes 70 min.
See Great Wall for general information on the Great Wall. Sections are listed from west to east.
- Lower Chenjiapu. This is a section of wild Great Wall offering a challenging hike on the crumbling stones formng narrow causeways that are the remnants of the wall. By hiking west you will reach a long restored section in Upper Chenjiapu, a favorite camping spot. The area is right at the boundary area of Yanqing District and in Huailai County. The Great Wall Fresh provides transportation from Dafutuo bus station to the farmhouse and the trailhead. The owner encourages you to have a meal at his farmhouse before setting off. (Locals refer to Lower Chenjiapu as Upper Chenjiapu and vice versa, opposite of the map.)
- Badaling Remnant. Located about 5km to the west of the Badaling section, Badaling Remnant is not merely an extension for overflow during peak periods for the more popular Badaling section. The combination of a more dilapidated condition of the wall and taller mountain peaks in the background give a more authentic feeling to the site compared to the perfect renovation of Badaling.
- 1 Badaling (八达岭 Bādálǐng). The most popular tourist section of the Great Wall because of extensive, quality renovations. However, very crowded with other tourists. Give yourself about 2-3 hours to climb up the wall if you're a slow climber, an hour or less if you're speedier. The hike is a challenge with plenty of steep hills, so once you get a bit into the wall the crowd thins quickly. A cable car and a "sliding car" (sort of like a roller coaster up or down the mountain) which you can take for extra fees (~¥30/60 one/both way). Tickets to climb the wall are around ¥40 (discounts available for the young and the disabled); Audio tour service ¥15/40 for Chinese/English + ¥200 deposit.
- Great Wall Museum (Down the "Badaling Pedestrian Street" and up a hill behind the "Circle Vision Theater"). Closed on Monday, 09:00-16:00. Visit the under-appreciated Great Wall Museum. The walk-through exhibits provide a good overview of the wall's multi-dynasty history, along with many artifacts from those time periods and photo-worthy models of watchtowers, scaling ladders, etc. The bathrooms are also probably the cleanest you'll find at Badaling (there's even a Western-style toilet). Great Wall circle-vision theater (40y/pers). Free.
- Shuiguan (Water Pass) (水关 Shuǐguān). Located to the east of Badaling, the Shuiguan section is sometimes referred together as the Badaling-Shuiguan Great Wall. It often happens that visitors are guided to Shuiguan rather than Badaling especially during holidays or peak periods. Besides climbing the wall, you can also visit the Genghis Khan Palace, the Stone Buddha Temple, Luotuo Peak (Camel Peak) and the Great Wall Stele Forest nearby.
- 2 Longqingxia (Longqing Gorge). This scenic area is one of the most popular day trips in Beijing. The Lonqing Gorge is called the "Little Three Gorges" because of the resemblance to the Three Gorges near Yichang. The highlight is taking a boat cruise down the scenic canyon, which had been flooded by the dam completed in 1981. Cruise tickets are available for ¥60/person that take in sights along the water including Coronet Island, a small mountain surrounded by water, and the mountain Zhongshan which looks like a big clock in the water from every angle. Another available activity is downhill rope sliding for ¥50/person, where climbers use ropes to descend in a location between two cliffs with blue sky above and clear water below during the five minute descent.
- Yudu Mountain, Eastern Yuhuangmiao Village, Zhangshanying Town (张山营镇玉皇庙村东). A scenic hiking and family camping spot. The primary attraction is the mountain meadow, a large field with a view of the mountain. The Mountain Meadow is packed with families who have pitched tents for the day. For a quiet nearby hike, choose the route that goes to the Second Sino-Japanese War memorial on the mountain top.
- Guishui River Forest Park. The park is suited for cycling. A well designed wooden plank platform overlooks the Guishui River which runs from the Guanting Reservoir on the border of Hebei and Yanqing.
- Four Seasons Flower Valley. One of a number of areas in eastern Yanqing with flower fields. The best time to see is July-August. Disappointing especially considering Yanqing was host the 2019 Beijing International Horticultural Exhibition, an international flower festival.
- 3 Badaling Safari World (八达岭野生动物园; Bādálǐng Yěshēngdòngwùyuán), South of Badaling Great Wall, Yanging District (延庆县八达岭长城南; Yánqìngxiàn Bādálǐngchángchéngnán) (Bus 919 from Deshenmen east of Jishuitan Metro Station (line 2)), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Summer 8AM-5PM; winter 10AM-3PM. Large wild animals like tigers, lions, bears and wolfs can be seen in this park from own car or park buses. Poor reputation for safety and treatment of animals. Alternatively there is Beijing Wildlife Park at Daxing District ¥90.
- Guyaju Caves. The 1,000 year old cave complex of a community hewn from the rock face of cliffs is an "archaeological cipher". The community halls and dwellings are huddled together in a fortified position. One idea is the community may have been founded by the Kumo Xi, a Mongolic steppe tribe on the run. As a Beijing attraction, the site is underrated and does not draw too many tourists. Bring your lunch and settle down inside one of the dwellings.
- Yongning town. The town is typical of small towns in China but with historical gems. It was a major garrison for troops during the Ming Dynasty. In the early 20th century it was a Catholic mission center with a church built in 1904 or 1905. The town square tower was restored in the lead up to the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Parishioners have beautified the Catholic church. On the weekends, there is a bustling market at the town square.
- 4 Pingbei Sino-Japanese War Martyrs Memorial Park (平北抗日烈士纪念园) (near the entrance to Longqing Gorge), ☏ , , . 08:30-16:30. Dedicated to the many Chinese soldiers who died fighting the Japanese in the Pingbei region (a vast region which includes northern Beijing and northern Hebei Province). Inside the park is the Pingbei Sino-Japanese War Museum (平北抗日战争纪念馆), which displays around 200 photographs and artefacts. As of April 2021, the museum is closed for renovations. The reopening date will be announced later on the website. Free.
- Yongning town market. The town's market is bustling on the weekends and located on a street leading up to the town square tower. Vendors sell groceries, household goods, and antiques. The historic tower backdrop makes the street a small town version of Nanluoguxiang, a historic tourist street in Gulou. A local specialty sold in the market is cushions made of mugwort. Locals bundle the mugwort grown in the local area into a circular cushion.
- Great Wall Fresh. This farmhouse homestay is near the Chenjiapu section of the Great Wall. It a popular starting point for hiking this section of the wall. They provide camping gear rental or a bed at the farmhouse. Meals at the farmhouse are RMB 50 per person and very good. They offer pickup from Dafutuo bus station to the farmhouse.
- Commune by the Great Wall Kempinski Beijing. 11 villas designed by top Asian architects and design firms, all of which have butlers. For those with money to splurge!