WALK THE GREAT WALL
You know… Beijing, China
With time and 10 million visitors a year eroding its Great Wall, China took action. The restoration of Beijing’s Simatai section, in addition to Badaling and Mutianyu, may help protect these popular sections from the crowds, but in flattening watchtowers and smoothing over cracks, many argue it has prioritised numbers over the texture of history.
But what about… Jiayuguan, Gansu Province
Yet for those who don’t fancy being just another brick in the Wall, there are still quieter, wilder parts of the wall to be found, even near to Beijing. Parts of Jiankou ( just 2.5 hours away by car) are still far enough removed to avoid crowds, while Wild Wall tours (wildwall.com) seek out remote sections with an expert in tow.
But few travellers make it to the wall’s westernmost point, out in Gansu Province’s Jiayuguan. Here, on the cusp of the Gobi Desert, you can gaze out from its huge, restored fort before heading to ruined strategic posts and up the snaking wall itself, inching across the tan mountainsides some 10km away. It’s quite unlike any view of the wall you’ll find elsewhere, and in 2019 you can even combine it as a stop on the luxurious Golden Eagle train route from Lhasa, Tibet, as you hurtle there across the world’s highest railway. ⊲