Expect to be picked up from your hotel by your professional hiking guide around 8.30 am and driven directly to the site of the Ming tombs, the burial site of 13 of the Ming Dynasty Emperors - about 1.5 hours from the city. It covers an area of 30 acres (12 ha). The Ding Tombs is the only one open to the public.
Marvel at the entrance, known as The Sacred or Spirit Way, a walkway lined with some 36 impressively sized statures; important officials and meritorious figures, exotic animals- lions, camels, elephants, xiezhis, (a mythological unicorn) and the like, each unique or of special significance, which your guide will happily explain.
Learn about the historical significance of the site, its architecture, distinctive wood carvings and ancient relics that provide a rare glimpse into Chinas rich imperial past. Then visit the Ding Tombs, known as the Underground Palace, the tomb of Emperor Wanli and his two Empresses.
Emperor Wanli, the 13th Ming Emperor had the longest reign of the period ruling for 48 years. His tomb, at 89 feet below ground is well preserved and extravagant. Unusual for a burial place it has five rooms. Some of the Emperors jewels and other artefacts are on display. Break for lunch at a local Chinese restaurant before enjoying a scenic drive to the Great Wall at Huanghuacheng, a section of the wall less visited, even in Summer time, and still in its original or wild condition, unrestored.
With the construction of the Xishuiyu Dam in 1974 on the former site of Xishuiyuguan Pass, the valley that the wall crossed was flooded, along with some of the lower sections of the wall. By default the man-made lake separated the Great Wall into three sections, creating a most intriguing site. Images of the Wall going into the water are both dramatic and beautiful. The submerged section is often referred to as the Water Wall or Wall in Water.
On arrival at Xishuiyu village, your guide will show you the best path to ascend the ramparts and navigate them safely. The wall here follows quite mountainous terrain and affords quite a spectacular hiking experience. Marvel at the breath taking scenery and view of the wall cascading into the man-made lake below.
When summer arrives the entire village below becomes a sea of wild, yellow flowers ('yellow flower' is 'huanghua' in Chinese), hence this sections name.
Overall the pristine setting, lack of crowds, and cool, clear mountain air make this tour a pleasant contrast from visits to other sections of the Wall.
After your descent youll be free to wander down by the lake, take a boat ride to see the submerged section of the wall up close or simply return back to your hotel in Beijing, approximately 1.5 hours away where your guide will wish you a fond farewell.