The day of visiting the Great Wall of China started at 6:30 AM. Instead of paying for a tour, Caleb and I did our own tour of the Great Wall. We first headed to the Beijing Railway Station to reserve tickets to Shanghai. Afterwards, we headed to the Dongzhimen bus station and boarded a local bus towards a town called Miyun. The trip took three hours and I slept most of the way. If it weren’t for the driver telling Caleb and I to get off the bus at Miyun, we would have probably missed the stop. At Miyun, we were supposed to find a way to get to the section of the wall called Jinshanling by bus. However, a local taxi guy told us that since there were no tourists around the bus was not in service and we were supposed to hire his taxi services. Well, the taxi guy wanted like $75 to take us to the wall and back. I did not want to believe him but we could find no bus to Jinshanling. I ended up convincing the taxi guy to take us to the wall for $55. It would include him waiting for us to finish hiking the wall and bring us back to Miyun. I still think we got ripped off and should have payed only like $20.
Once at the wall, the $50 was worth it. The sight was incredible! The air in Beijing is not clean and I could tell the difference at Jinshanling. Hiking the entire section of Jinshanling took around five hours. We started at 10:45 AM and ended at 3:15 PM. It was very hot during the first two or three hours, but then it became cooler. When we got back to the taxi, the driver was furious. He said we were supposed to finished within four hours. He kept shouting at us in Chinese. Thankfully he calmed down and did not charge us extra.
After the hike, Caleb and I headed back to Beijing. We only had eaten snacks on the hike and were starving. There was a vegan restaurant close by I found online that was supposed to be cheap. It ended up being gourmet food and we payed around $15 each. We should have left, but we had already sat down (probably too hungry to look for other options too). The funny part was that we were not in the best attire. Imagine two sweaty guys who just finished a five hour hike sitting at a fancy restaurant. The food was tasty though. I think we might have skipped a meal the following day to balance the cost.