Badaling or 八达岭 (Bādálǐng) is the site of the most visited section of the Great Wall of China, located approximately 50 miles (80 km) northwest of urban Beijing city in Yanqing County. The section of the wall was built during the Ming Dynasty, along with a military outpost reflecting the location’s strategic importance. The highest point of Badaling is Beibalou, which is approximately 1000 meters above sea level.
The portion of the wall at Badaling has undergone heavy restoration, and in 1957 it was the first section of the wall to be openned to tourists. Visited annually by millions, the immediate area has seen significant development, including hotels, restaurants, and a cable car. The recently completed Badaling Expressway connects Badaling with central Beijing. Line S2, Beijing Suburban Railway, serves people who wanted to go to the Great Wall from Beijing North Railway Station. Tickets are available at Beijing North Railway Station to Badaling Station. A bus also runs frequently from Deshengmen to Badaling.
Badaling is notorious for being crowded, congested and polluted. It is one of Beijing’s largest “tourist traps” and depending upon what time of day and year you visit, may be packed with Chinese and foreign visitors. While it’s easy to get to, the long lines and lack of scenery are not work it in this person’s opinion.
Badaling Fun facts:
President Richard Nixon and his wife, accompanied by Vice Premier Li Xiannian, visited on February 24, 1972, during his historic journey to China known as “Ping-pong Diplomacy”.
Badaling and the expressway were also the site of the finishing circuit of the Urban Road Cycling Course in the 2008 Summer Olympics. Laps of the circuit passed through gates in the wall. Must have been tough breathing in that pollution as the photo below was taken some 2 days before the race: