The Great Wall
Avoid the Badaling stretch like you would typhoid, unless you enjoy mingling with huge swarms of sweat-drenched, khaki-panted tourists. Head instead for the restored Mutianyu section /慕田裕/ 90 minutes out of town / with an easy-access cable car up and zippy toboggan down (plus some pretty dross souvenir stalls). Take lunch at nearby The Schoolhouse / 12 Mutianyu Cun / Huairou / 6162 6506 /懷柔區慕田裕村12號/ theschoolhouseatmutianyu.com / for farm-fresh international fare; or rustic homemade noodle shop Xiao Lu Mian / 130 Yingbeigou Cun / Huairou / 6162 6506 / 11am-4pm Apr-oct, or by appt Nov-mar /小廬面/懷柔區渤海鎮營北溝村130號/ xiaolumian.com. In the same village are countryside-chic house rentals from The Schoolhouse crew (see above), or former tile factory turned 16-room smart eco-lodge The Brickyard / Yingbeigou Cun / Huairou /瓦廠/懷柔區渤鎮營北溝村南100米/ brickyardatmutianyu.com. Have your hotel pack you a sarnie and a bottle of pop for the ride over.