The Great Wall Hike (James Private Tour)

The Great Wall Hike (James Private Tour)

The Great Wall Hike (James Private Tour)
5
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Monday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Tuesday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Wednesday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Thursday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Friday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Saturday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Sunday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
About
we are a Great Wall hike tour operator based in Beijing and have trekked extensively to authentic Ming Dynasty Great Wall, and mountains in China.We specialize in access to off-limits places, steer you away from the tourist traps, tailor fresh experiences for any personality and specific interests.
Beijing, China

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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.


5.0
5.0 of 5 bubbles186 reviews
Excellent
174
Very good
9
Average
2
Poor
0
Terrible
1

Kat A
Central District, null, Hong Kong2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2013 • Friends
I have traveled all over the world and the trip with James was one of the best adventures I have ever had. I couldn't recommend a better way to see the Great Wall. Avoid all tourist spots and book a trip with James. We saw only a handful of people along the way and were essentially on our own for the entire 1.5 trip. The scenery was stunningly beautiful - far from the other tourists spots in and around Beijing. James is not only a fantastic guide (caring and professional) but also an interesting, genuine person. We had so much fun getting to know him and it made an already amazing experience hard to beat. I couldn't have been more thankful for this recommendation and I do not say that lightly.
Written November 7, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

discovery204
Hong Kong, China71 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2013 • Couples
An absolutely amazing day hiking the Great Wall out in the countryside with no one around except us! I can't recommend James' trip highly enough. We arranged it all on email and it was delivered to us perfectly- just what we wanted. At all times our safety was James' priority & he was encouraging and helpful to us as we climbed up some steep & a little scary sections of the Wall to have views that will last us a lifetime. A knowledgable & trustworthy guide. James' even took some wonderful photos of us climbing that he sent to us the next day. After our hike we went to the Public section of the Wall to go up by cable car & down by toboggan, also a good experience but obviously nothing like the Wild hike. If you have time to have a day out with James & get to hike on the Wild part of the Wall it will be a wonderful experience. We did the switch walk, the weather was perfect & for reasonable fitness levels it was fine. Wear good grip trainers or hiking boots & take enough water as it does get dry. A full and fun day out. I'd go again.....
Written November 16, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lauren S
Morrisville, NC18 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2013 • Couples
My husband and I did the jiankou hike with James in September 2013 and it was the highlight of the trip! We chickened out and did not attempt stairway to heaven, but James was a pro and had different options to tailor the hike to be exactly what we wanted. There was no one on the wall and having been to badaling years ago this was very refreshing. The scenery is incredible and James even takes his own camera to photograph your group and then emails you the photos after so we had several nice hiking shots of us we never would have been able to get. I can't say enough nice things about James or this hike! I would 100% recommend doing this hike.

The only tip I can give is to bring enough water!! We only brought two water bottles each and on a warm summer day we were drenched in sweat and needed twice the amount of water we brought. James was kind enough to offer us his extra water bottle, but I would really suggest bringing more than you think you need.

Please message me if you have an questions or are debating whether or not to book with James.
Written September 19, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Micah_B_traveling
Seattle, WA25 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2011 • Couples
First off, this is NOT a Private tour. There were 5 others who spent the day with us.
My wife and I went on a tour with James and while the Wall was amazing, the trip was tainted with an air of extortion. We paid over USD$650 for an overnight trip and we met a guy who did it on his own for under $40 using public & tour buses. I highly recommend looking into alternate options because when the tour is over you realize that you have been screwed out of a lot of money and it definitely taints the experience.
So here is what we got for USD$650…
Day 1:
• 8am pickup at hotel, then drive to 2 more hotels to pick up 5 more hikers
• Transfer to Jiankou portion of the wall
• 4km hike along the wall with 5 other hikers (have lunch that you have supplied)
• Day hikers leave
• Hike 1km further along wall to explore, then wait around hours for porter
• Set up camp (for yourself) – tent & bags are adequate but not standard for U.S.
• James prepares dinner (packaged freeze-dried meal, peanuts, crackers, 1 beer per person)
• Continue to hang out near camp, go to bed

Day 2:
• James provides breakfast of instant coffee, sausage, white bread & cheese
• Break down camp (yourself)
• Hike down to car with porter
• Drive 10 minutes to different village, hike back up to wall
• Hike 4km along wall (see some of the restored portion & have lunch that you provide), hike down to car
• Transfer back to Beijing (James wouldn’t take us to our hotel near the airport but dropped us at the metro instead).

So basically we received two very mediocre hiking meals, a tent & sleeping bag to borrow, a porter to carry our gear up to the wall, a transfer to and from the Wall, and someone to make sure we didn’t get lost (which is pretty impossible) while we hiked 9km of the wall. Had it been half the price I would give it 5 stars, but seeing as we spent more on this one trip than 2 weeks of hotels in China, it really does taint the experience. Hopefully someone will find the specifics useful so that you know what you are getting into. If you have the money and $650 sounds fair to you, go for it because it is an amazing experience. If not, look for an alternate tour company or just do it yourself.
Written April 19, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Celadon2012
Hong Kong, China5 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2012 • Solo
About a month earlier before the trip started, James and I exchanged emails planning out the details. I asked for porter service (400RMB which I did not mind paying) to help carry my camera equipment, James replied he would share the load and suggested I save the money. Impressed with his customer service that had his clients' interest in mind, I no longer pushed for porter service. During the hike, James did help carry my backpack, because I was given the impression he was helping me out for free, I felt guilty the whole trip and would sometimes refuse his offer to carry some of my stuff. At the end of the trip, when he was collecting the tour charge, he asked for 400RMB for porter service!! I was quite appalled because I was led to believe that he would help for free since he suggested in his email “not to hire a porter to save money”.

If I were to hire a porter, I would expect an extra individual to be there and his responsibilities would solely be carrying my belongings. It was not my expectation and understanding from James' email that I were to pay for a hybrid of a tour guide and a porter. It was also unprofessional and underhanded to do this without seeking my agreement prior. And if I knew James would charge me 400RMB, I would have given him everything to carry without guilt.

When I raised my concerns with James and showed him the email he wrote me about saving money on the porter services, all he did was insisting he played the role of a porter because he helped carrying my belongings. When I told him it didn't make sense, he lowered the cost to 300RMB. What baffled me was - how have I "save money" for taking his advice of not hiring a porter? I did not want to ruin my holiday so I gave him what he asked for and left. I also knew that he would be receiving his first unfavorable review on Tripadvisor.

James may know the undeveloped sections of the Great Wall intimately, and may be wonderful as a guide. However, in professionalism and business ethics, he failed in these two departments, which I believe is more important in running a business and dealing with customers.
Written June 5, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

mll9w
Washington DC30 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2011 • Couples
I spent four months in Asia as a backpacker, including one month in China, and this was the best thing I did. If you are active/fit, into the outdoors, and want to appreciate history in a unique way, this is for you. I know the first thing most people will question is the price, as it does seem kind of high, but what you are paying for is the exclusivity of going to a remote section of the Wall to enjoy it in a completely different way than most tourists. It's worth every penny. For us, we started the day with a small group of 6 of us (plus James) and that part was cool However, the real highlight of the trip and what made it a lifetime experience was staying overnight and doing the second day of hiking. At that point, it was just the two of us (a couple) and James and we asked him if we could go as far as time would allow since we were both pretty fit. I will never forget that second day.... waking up and watching the sunrise while sitting on one of the guard towers, challenging hiking that tested your endurance and climbing skills, seeing maybe only 10 other people (mostly locals) in 8 hours of hiking... having it all to yourself to explore in its natural form with nothing else to do but walk and appreciate its wonder. Just amazing. The camping was simple and fun and the food was fine. James is a great guy- pretty quiet at first, but opens up if you're interested in talking, and otherwise lets you set the pace and tone for your hiking experience. You'll want to be in shape, and per the other reviews, there are a few sections where being afraid of heights or climbing will be a problem. I wore my regular running shoes with good traction and was fine, as I wouldn't have wanted anything really heavy on my feet with all the steps we took. To cap it all off, James sent us a link a few days later with all of the pictures he took of us on our hike, which was really nice since there are some tricky climbing spots where we were too scared to get out our cameras! We also went to the touristy section of the Great Wall a few days later with a different tour, which is a completely different experience. That was interesting and good to see, but the hike with James was simply unforgettable.
Written February 5, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

maviguetero
SF1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2013 • Friends
Our group of 4 did the 2 day trip on the Jiankou portion of the Great Wall, and camped on the Wall in early April 2013. This was an amazing once-in-a-lifetime adventure! I will never forget this experience and will be telling everyone about it for many years to come. In fact, I'd say that this trip is vying for the first place spot on the "Most Amazing Adventures" in my life (but hopefully there are some more to come!).

James was an excellent, friendly guide, took good care of us, and was incredibly patient. He taught us some history of the Wall along the trip and pointed out details we would have missed. He provided us helpful advice on how to tackle some of the trickier, more challenging parts of the Wall, and always offered a helpful hand if we needed a boost or a lift. I would absolutely recommend this trip with James to my adventurous friends.

Some tips if you plan on taking this trip:
Both days of hiking were challenging and physical fitness and agility are a must! If you have gone hiking in U.S. National Parks and can handle the hikes categorized as "Difficult" then you're already off to a good start. But I would say that this Great Wall adventure should be labeled as a "Difficult times 5." There is some free climbing, no safety rails (but you should already know this since it's the "Wild Wall" and is unrestored), and no room for mistakes. But this is all a part of what makes it fun!!! And James did an excellent job taking care of us - he knows this Wall like the back of his hand and knows almost every rock and step along the way.
James said that "hiking shoes are best, running shoes are ok." We all wore running shoes (James wore proper hiking shoes). I hike a lot, and I'd say that I should have brought hiking shoes. The soft soles of running shoes weren't that comfortable on the (highly) uneven path and rocks.
Bring a lunch for both days of hiking, and plenty of water. James provides a hearty and tasty dinner for the first day and breakfast for the second day.
This is not for people who are afraid of heights!

All in all, one of my favorite things that I have done in China and in my life. I would highly recommend James' 2-day Great Wall trip if you are up for the adventure! Thanks, James!!!
Written April 15, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

annette d
Los Angeles, CA9 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2012 • Family
My 14 year old daughter and I did the 1.5 day overnight hiking tour 3 weeks ago. We live in Los Angeles and have traveled to many countries and this was the BEST excursion I have ever experienced! I did question the $600 cost for both of us, but after reading every wonderful review we did it and it was the best money we ever spent!! I know that there can be up to 6 per group (which would have been fine and we like to meet other interesting people form different countries) but it ended up only being the 2 of us with James. As I am a very protective mom, my friends were surprised that I did this without knowing James...but I literally read every wonderful review and felt very comfortable and my instincts were indeed correct!

I LOVED that we saw an "untouched" and most picturesque area of the wall that essentially had it's last renovation 490 years ago...we saw the many layers of the Great Wall...the secret tunnels, etc...and we only saw one group of 5 people from France the whole time!! We felt like we had the wall all to ourselves.

I honestly don't know what the previous reviewer was talking about...there is NO way you could find this location on your own! We traveled 2.5 hrs from Beijing and James drove through many villages and small roads and one gate to get there....James was AMAZING! He was great with my daughter, too. He is very kind and soft spoken. I asked a lot of questions about everything having to do with the great wall and China and he answered all my questions and he was a wealth of information.

We LOVED the dinner and got such a kick out of the self-heating meal that was really delicious!!! He supplied a lot of food (more than needed) for dinner and breakfast and it was all great. He set up the tents and it was quite comfortable and so peaceful with only bright stars and us - he also gave me and my daughter a lot of privacy to have our own experience of the wall in the evening.

We took lots of pictures but James took some too and emailed them to us...and I must say that his pictures were awesome!!!

I am soooo glad we had this once in a lifetime experience. I am so thankful we saw this part of the Great Wall instead of the regular, rebuilt, touristy part...THIS IS A MUST SEE!!!!!!!! JAMES IS THE BEST!!!! If you are going to China and want to see the Great Wall then James and his company HIKING THE WALL is THE company to book your tour from!!!
Written April 30, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ScottinLA50
Northridge,CA113 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2012 • Solo
If you want your run of the mill tour with all the other tourists on the rebuilt section of the wall than this is not the tour for you. On the other hand, if you are looking for an adventure and an experience of a lifetime that you will never forget than you have to hire James to take you to the Jiankou section of the great Wall. I have been fortunate to travel to many places around the world. This was by far the best tour I have ever done. By hiking, trekking, and climbing the Wall you truly get a sense of what it must have been like to construct it and defend it. James does a good job of giving you the history of the wall and showing you how they used the mountain to construct the Wall.

What I really loved about this tour is that there were no tourists. I went on a Sunday in the middle of February. It was about 7C or 44F. We saw 3 other groups of hikers but that was it. It was so neat to be able to just stand on the wall and really take it in by yourself.

Like the other reviewers said, you should be somewhat fit and not afraid of heights. You will have to climb over some rocks. Remember this section is about 600 years old. The hardest part was the intial accent up the mountain and onto the wall. I actually enjoyed climbing over the rocks.

James takes a lot of action shots of you and then sends you a link. Another one of the highlights was having a dinner with local family in the village. Great way to really experience the local flavor.

SUGGESTION: I wore a mid-size hiking boot, but you should have a good shoe that can handle going over rocks. Second, for lunch they really don't have sandwiches in Beijing. I had brought some energy bars from home, picked up some chips in china, and brought a 1.5 liter bottle of water. Pack light because you will be doing a good amount.

Thanks James for the trip of a lifetime!!
Written February 20, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

spike-bridges
London, UK2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2011
The people on my trip will remember me as the person who said, wow at every corner of the great wall. And the Great Wall hike with James truly is a wow moment. I had spent 2 months in China moving around, from Shanghai to Mianyang and finally working my way up to Beijing. I stopped at a lot of the touristy spots like the Terra-cotta Army and the Forbidden City, but those don't even come close to this tour. It was by far the best thing I did in China. The views are amazing and at times you are on a mountain with nobody and I mean no body surrounding you, and it is a humbling experience when see just how vast the wall is in comparison to anything you have ever seen before. If you are in Beijing and you do not book this tour, you are making a huge mistake.
Written July 30, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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