Huangyaguan Pass Great Wall of China, near Tianjin - less crowds and less flashes.
Great Wall is seen from the Moon, at least that is what the Urban Legends say. Although, the majority of the foreign tourists go to Beijing to catch a few snaps of the relatively new version of The Great Wall, I wasn’t born to follow. That is why I embarked on a trip to the not so well known Huangyaguan Pass, seen near Tianjin. Yes, you can see great walls everywhere around China (sorry to break your image) – they come in various shapes and forms. Having said that, bear in mind that from what I’ve heard in China there are only few sites left that are actual remnants of the original constructions.
On this day, I was accompanied by a friend of mine and two local ladies. We got the bus from the Tianjin railway station and full of excitement chatted about useless stuff. The small traffic congestion (1 hour) passed almost unnoticed - after all I had been living in China for a while so patience was among my virtues.
From the base of the site you will take opened taxis that go straight to the top. Thus you can start from the distant gate and slowly climb down. My eyes were desperate for greenery and wilderness, all that smog and grayness took their share. Still in elated spirit we arrived at our starting point and looked down. Impressive and enticing!
The route is descending from the top section. While on our way down, after having a quick snack we observed the wave-like terraces on both sides. The village down below seemed distant and foggy. Behind our backs the high rocky mountains were glaring at us in contempt.
When you approach the small village keep your eyes open for the BaGua labyrinth. In accordance with the traditions there is a temple (no surprise) and the typical incense aromas floating in the air.
Just outside the exit there are small stands offering local products – fruits and nuts. Remember, don’t bring your naive foreigner expression. Be like locals – cut the price when buying 2 packs.
We jumped on the bus and dozed off.
Although, I haven’t been to the Beijing section of the Great Wall, from what I’ve heard it is likely to be overcrowded. So, if you prefer more secluded and intimate places where you can enjoy the breathtaking view without constant flashes give it a try!