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Tour Guide to Hiking the Great Wall

FAQs: What to bring with for Great Wall hiking tour for single day and multiple days
First thing first. Bring some more cash, but not credit card or passport, or any important items. You may bring a photocopy of your passport or other identification just in case you and for emergency identification. However, if you take an overnight camping tour (2-day or multiple day-trekking) to the Great Wall, please bring your passport.
Do bring some snacks, or sandwich for your lunch or for the case of getting hungry while you are walking on the Wall. You also want to bring a clean t-shirt or more (You'll get sweat!) for exchange. Bring an umbrella or a raincoat if it gets very cloudy. Check the weather before hand. Here are more remarks to prepare for your hiking.   
Hiking poles (walking sticks) will help you walk better but they are not absolutely necessary. This is because there are steps on the long wall that make it a lot easier to walk on rather than muddy mountain paths. Sometimes, it'll be easy to use your hands to help grabbing the Wall or some rocks or bushes while a stick would make you handful. Great Wall Adventure Club no longer provide pole rental.

To keep the cost low to promote the outdoor activities in Beijing, we only include the tour guide and transfer fees. The tourist insurance is not included, we suggest participant purchase their own insurance before going or buy our PICC accidental insurance.  

Mobile phones have limited coverage in the area, so if you see someone trekking alone, stay with them. This trip is to "smell the fresh air", rather than a competition. But in summer, thunder storms and rain are common while hiking on the Wall. Please make sure to turn off your cell phone in the bad weather. Using cell phone while thundering could be fatal!!!  

There are local people selling Great Wall postcards, book, maps, bottled water and even Coco Cola all along the wall. You are likely to be chased by the peddlers who will walk with you as a company until you decide to buy any.  You should say NO at the beginning otherwise you will be followed throughout the whole walk. For water, they generally charge four or ten yuan (RMB 10) for each. Not too bad if you do need water. However, you are recommended to carry some water at hand. Our recommended drink is Gatorade which can be bought at Carrefour or other supermarkets. Tap-water is not drinkable in China.  

For one-day hike, it is really a long drive for about six hours to and back. We may be delayed by the traffic or something unforeseen, so don't come if you have something planned for that evening. For overnight trip, we usually get back by 5 PM on the last day, so you are free for that night.  

It is likely to be very hot at noon under the sun from May to October., but there is always gentle breeze or even gale. In winter, you are recommended to wear thick winter jacket as it is very cold in the mountains. Do as if you were traveling to New York City or Toronto in cold January.  

Some parts of the way are really rough, and the wall is broken and loose. So you must take care, and bring some medical bits.  

Toilets. No toilet is available on the Wall but at the foot of the mountain (entry points). You should take the advantage of these toilets seriously although the facilities are very basic.  Bring your own toilet paper as it is not usually supplied in the restrooms in China. 

Leave nothing except your footprints. Take nothing except photograph and garbage. We will ensure that all rubbish is disposed of responsibly (burnt, buried or fed to domestic animals!) Batteries should be brought back to the city or your home country. We follow the local guidelines on cultural and environmental protection and we ask that all hiking participants also respect the environment they are travelling through. 

Gifts for the locals. We'll come through local villages in China's countryside when we trek the Great Wall (more for multiple-day trekking). Generally we advise against giving small gifts to children as it can encourage begging. However, if you have any small items or clothing, balloons, toys, pens, stickers that you would like to give, please check with your tour guide for advice. Tipping to local farmers (when you lodge in their house) is not necessary, either.  

For those who are taking overnight hiking or multiple-day trekking, you'll be lodging in our certified farmotels. Those “farmotel”, as we call them, some include brand new rooms with city-hotel standard beds, in-suite bathrooms, and even new flat-screen TVs. Overall, those are clean and safe environment that you would expect from any hotel. However due to their rural location there are a few amenities that are lacking, so we’d like to advise you on bringing some items (especially toiletries) that you would normally use in a hotel. To make sure that your “farmotel” stay is satisfactory, please plan on bringing some of the following: wash towel, shower towel, shampoo/conditioner, tooth paste and brush, mouth wash, toilet paper, dryer, and slippers. If you can think of any items your children might need it is probably better to bring those as well.


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