I booked a day trip to the Great Wall on hereisbeijing.com just the evening before the D day. This is the lowest price I found after a quick search on Internet and I can tell you that the services provided by John, the driver, are really great for such a good deal!
John came to pick me up the next morning at my hotel. John is super friendly, is a really safe driver and can speak English. He took me to a small village 2 hours from Beijing which is located below the Jiankou section of the Great Wall. From there, John explained me how to reach the wall on foot (45 minutes walk) and walked with me the first 5 minutes to make sure I would take the right path. He also gave me 2 maps with really clear indications (it was impossible to get lost) and even gave me a local cell phone so that I could reach him anytime in case I need some help and to keep him updated of my situation.
The section where I started is not open to public normally, because it is non restored. However, there were quite a lot of Chinese tourists walking on that section that day (I was there on a Sunday). This section is great because it is wild and in the middle of the mountains. The view is beautiful from there. I walked from tower 23 to tower 6 (which is in the Mutianyu section, this part of the Great Wall is all restored and renovated). This is great, because you can walk from a non restored section (which is normally forbidden for tourists) to a totally renovated one, so you can enjoy 2 different ambiences on the Wall.
When you reach the Mutianyu section, you have different options to exit the wall: either take a cable car at tower 14 or tower 6, or take a path between towers 14 and 6 to walk down the mountain, or take the toboggan from tower 6. I picked the last option, and the ride down was really fun!! Then John told me to take a shuttle bus from there to reach the front entrance of the Mutianyu section located 10 minutes drive from there. John was waiting for me there, and waited for me 1 more hour than the original schedule we agreed together because I took too many pictures on the Great Wall and was late at the meeting point. But John wasn't angry at me at all, he was happy that I had a good time on the Wall and enjoyed my day there. He even offered me a gift at the end, really unexpected and a very nice surprise. As I had a flight in the evening, John proposed to take me directly at the airport after my visit at the Great Wall.
As a summary, I definitely enjoyed walking this part of the Great Wall, the landscape and the sceneries all around are beautiful. I definitely recommend you to book your tour with John on hereisbeijing.com You will get all the information and services that you need to enjoy and walk on the Great Wall on your own, which is for me the best way to enjoy this kind of monument. You can manage your time as you want, and if you want to stay longer somewhere because you like the view and just want to enjoy it longer, you can do it as you want. Again, John is really really friendly, he lived in the US so he speaks really good English, he will take care of you during the car ride and while you are on the Great Wall by texting you from time to time to make sure everything is fine and you won't probably be able to find a cheaper price for this kind of tour.
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