ben boyd

Travelled to 10 countries / regions

Written 24 briefs
Living in Hong Kong, visit China often and did GW



Asia > China > Beijing > The Great Wall of China > Useful Info
Updated on Jan 15, 2020 Useful Info

How to get to the Great Wall from Beijing by public transportation

There are many sections of the Great Wall that can be visited from Beijing, each with slightly different scenery and difficulty. Below are the instructions for how to get to the top 3 most popular sections of the Great Wall from Beijing by public transportation

Locations of the 3 most popular sections of the Great Wall

How to get to the Badaling section (八达岭长城) from Beijing

Option 1 to Badaling (best option): direct bus

Bus 877 is the best way to get there, it departs from Deshengmen in Beijing, one of the main gates of the city and very centrally located

  1. Take subway line 2 to Jishuitan (积水潭) station
  2. Exit from B2 and walk east for 700 yards (10 minutes) to Deshengmen, which you can't miss because it's a huge fortress
  3. The bus stop for 877 is on the north western side of the fortress, located here. Bus runs between 6am and 12:30pm everyday
  4. Pay 13 RMB cash to get on the bus. You can also pay with Beijing transit card (Yikatong), which gives you a 50% discount
  5. The bus takes 2.5 hours to get to Badaling, it's a direct bus and doesn't make any other stops along the way. It'll take you straight to the foot of the wall so it's just a short walk to the entrance. Simply follow other people when you get off
  6. Return bus runs between 11am and 4:30pm everyday from Badaling back to Beijing

Note that you can no longer take 919 Express to Badaling Great Wall as of late 2018. The route has changed and it doesn't stop at the wall anymore. I see many blogs suggesting 919 Express but that information is no longer up to date. The regular 919 still stops at the Great Wall but it takes a long time making lots of stops so I don't recommend it.

Option 2 to Badaling: train

The only other public transportation option is the S2 train. From downtown Beijing, the entire journey will take about 2-3 hours each way, for a total transportation cost of less than ¥20 ($3)each way. Heres the step-by-step:

  1. Use either the subway system or taxi to get to Huangtudian Railway Station (黄土店站) in Beijing. If you use the subway system, take it to Huoying Station (霍营) on line 8 and 13, which costs ¥6 ($1) from downtown Beijing and takes about 1 hour. Leave Huoying subway station from exit G4, then walk east for 2-4 minutes to get to Huangtudian railway station. Subway train in Beijing run between 5:30am and 11pm
  2. Get a ticket on the S2 train to Badaling Railway Station (八达岭站). This ticket costs ¥7 ($1) each way and can't be bought online or in advance. There are 6 Tue-Thu and 9 Fri-Mon daily trains (see below for the current schedule). The train takes about 1 hour and 10 minutes each direction. You can pay in cash or use your Beijing subway card (aka Yikatong) if you've got more than ¥16 remaining value on it
  3. Get on the train. Seats are taken on a first come first serve basis. If there are no more seats left, you're going to have to stand (like me)
  4. When you get off the Badaling Railway Station, just follow the crowd or sign to walk for 15-20 minutes to get to the entrance of the Great Wall. If you don't want to walk, there's a free shuttle bus that you can take as well

S2 Train official Schedule

Unfortunately the official train schedule for the S2 train doesn't exit on the web. It only exists on the WeChat platform within Beijing Suburban Train (BCR)'s official account. Below I've included a snapshot of the latest official S2 train schedule between Beijing/Huangtudian Stn and Badaling taken from BCR's official account. This schedule is current as of December 2018, and was implemented on July 1st 2018. Keep in mind that it changes once every few months. I've written a post here about how to access this official schedule on your own on WeChat. (In the chart below "不停车" means "No Stop")User submitted photo of The Great Wall of China

User submitted photo of The Great Wall of China

How to get to the Mutianyu section (慕田峪长城) from Beijing

Option 1 to Mutianyu (best option): Mubus

Option 2 to Mutianyu: Direct tourist bus

Option 3 to Mutianyu: Public bus

There's no train to this section so you're going to have to catch 2 buses. It takes around 3-4 hours each way, so it might be better to get on a private tour. You can definitely do this as a day trip (I did), but it'll be a very long day. I left at 6am and got back around 9pm. Here's the step-by-step:

  1. Take the subway to Dongzhimen Station (东直门) on line 2 or 13. This should be very quick as this is very close to downtown Beijing. Subway trains in Beijing run between 5:30am and 11pm
  2. Inside the Dongzhimen subway station, simply follow blue signs for "Bus Transfer Hall" in English that are hanging from the ceiling. At the bus transfer hall, get into the bus line labeled "916快 怀柔方向", meaning 916 Express, Huairou Direction. Make sure it has the letter 快 in the label as this means "Express". There's also a slow bus that'll take a while. Before you get on the bus, double check to make sure the bus is also labeled on the side with "916快". Cost of the bus is ¥12 ($2) by cash or ¥6 ($1) by Yikatong (the reloadable Beijing subway card) each way
  3. Take the 916 Express for 1-1.5 hours to the stop "怀柔北大街", pronounced like "Huairou Bei Da Jie", which means "Huairou North Street". The Google Maps coordinate of the stop is (40.336094,116.6336085), here's the Google Maps link to this stop. The Baidu Map's coordinates of the stop is slightly different at (116.640842,40.342362), you can manually enter this coordinates on this special Baidu Maps page (check the "坐标反查" box besides the search bar)
  4. After you get off the bus, cross to the other side (north side) of the street towards the China Mobile building. You'll see a bus stop immediately to your left after you cross
  5. At this bus stop, get on either H23, H24, H35, or H36 bus. These buses run towards the Mutianyu great wall between around 6am to around 5:5pm; they return from Mutianyu great wall between around 7am to 7pm. The bus will cost just a few RMB and you can pay with your Beijing subway card (Yikatong)
  6. Take bus H23/H24/H35/H36 for 1.5-2 hours to the stop "慕田峪环岛", pronounced like "Mutianyu Huan Dao", meaning, Mutianyu Roundabout. Google Maps coordinates of the stop is (40.414586, 116.547048), here's the link to Google Maps of this stop. Baidu Maps' coordinates is (116.552993,40.420982), again you can input it on this page
  7. After you get off, continue to walk in the same direction direction as the bus for 10-15 minutes along the same road (don't turn right or left) past the roundabout and the giant overhead bridge. Then you'll see the entrance on your right hand side where you can buy the ticket. Location of the entrance on Google Maps

How to get to the Jinshanling section (金山岭长城) from Beijing

Option 1 to Jinshanling (best option): direct bus

If you're visiting between April 1st and October 31st, you should take this direct daily shuttle option that costs ¥50 ($7.5) each way. The total trip time is 2-2.5 hours each way:

  1. Take the subway to Dongzhimen Station (东直门) on line 2 or 13, then exit from B or E exit
  2. Then turn left to walk for 10 minutes to this point where the bus station is (Google Maps coordinates is 39.944754, 116.439691; Baidu Maps coordinates is 116.446404,39.950655). You can input Baidu maps coordinates on this special Baidu maps page (check the "坐标反查" box besides the search bar)
  3. At the bus station, follow the blue sign for "金山岭长城" to find the bus. Or just ask someone to point you to the bus. Note that this bus runs once a day in each direction, leaving at 7:40am from Beijing, returning at 4pm from Jinshanling. If you miss these times, you're out of luck
  4. This bus will take 1.5-2 hours to get to the front gate of Jinshanling

Option 2 to Jinshangling: public bus

If for whatever reason you can't take the direct bus described above, your have another option for ¥32 ($5) each way. There are multiple buses that run this route with the first bus leaving Beijing at 7am. The trip will take 2.5-3 hours each way:

  1. Take the subway to Wangjing West Station (望京西) on line 13 or 15. Exit from B if you're online 13, or C if you're line 15.
  2. Walk 1-2 minutes west from exit C, or 2-3 minutes north then east from exit B to this point where the entrance to the bus station is located. Bus station is on the south side of the road. Google Maps coordinates is (39.995630, 116.450539), Baidu Maps coordinates is (116.457174,40.00135). You can input Baidu maps coordinates on this special Baidu maps page (check the "坐标反查" box besides the search bar)
  3. At the bus station, ask to get on the bus to "金山岭高速服务区", pronounced like "Jinshanling Gaosu Fuwu Chu", meaning Jinshanling Highway Service Area. Or I'm sure if you tell them you're going to Jinshanling Great Wall ("金山岭长城") they'll direct you to the right bus. Note that the bus doesn't terminate at Jinshanling Highway Service Area; rather, it's a stop along the way to Luanping (滦平). So if you're ushered onto a bus to Luanping, don't panic, just make sure they're stopping at the service area
  4. The bus takes about 2 hours to get to the Jinshanling Highway Service Area. This bus leaves Beijing once an hour from 7am to 4:30pm, the return to Beijing every 30 minutes from 6:30am to 4pm
  5. Once you're at the service area, located here (Google Maps coordinates: 40.684338, 117.285341; Baidu Maps coordinates: 117.291877,40.689802), you can either 1) catch a free shuttle bus to Jinshanling's main gate or east gate, 2) hire a local taxi, or 3) just walk for about 1.3 miles to the east gate.
  6. Note that there are two gates: east gate located here (Google Maps coordinates: 40.686742, 117.268291; Baidu maps coordinates: 117.274701,40.692496), and main gate located here(Google Maps coordinates: 40.697867, 117.248812; Baidu Maps coordinates: 117.255298,40.70412). Most people enter from the main gate, hike the wall to the east gate, then catches the shuttle back to the service area. There are only 4 daily free shuttles, leaving the service area at 10am, 11am, 1pm and 3:30pm)