The real Great Wall, Beijing

Photo © Bianca O'Neill

Anyone heading to China will have the Great Wall on the itinerary. But who wants to be surrounded by tourists on a rebuilt replica when you can see it in someone’s backyard?

Not many people know, but the most popular tourist site is a reconstructed renovation of the original. If you want the real Great Wall experience, drive a few hours outside Beijing to one of the many local sites.

Sure, you can’t walk along it for a kilometre, and you might risk breaking your neck. But standing on the relic as it crumbles around you, with not a tourist in sight, is breathtaking. Be warned – the locals consider the Wall to be part of their private gardens – and you must pay a grand sum of 2 yuan (about 30c) to pass!

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