The Mutianyu section is much quieter than other stretches closer to Beijing. Stretching for 2.5km, it allows you to explore 22 watchtowers and enjoy remarkable views, notable for the number for trees fed by local springs. Nearby villages such as Mutianyu, Beigou, Xinying and Tianxianyu were founded by the original builders and showcase rural Chinese life.
Beijing – Photo Tip

How to photograph the Great Wall

Photo by Frans Lemmens

Beijing – Photo Tip How to photograph the Great Wall

When you are in Beijing and want to visit the Great Wall, it's best to avoid the wave of tourists. There are several places nearby to go to, each with its own specific feel.

Frans Lemmens
Frans Lemmens Travel Photographer

From a photographer’s point of view, the lesser visited and less crowded sites are probably more rewarding. With large crowds, the tourists themselves become the subject, not the Wall.

I only had one morning in Beijing and decided to go to the Mutianyu section, which is quieter than the Badaling section. I went very early and arrived around sunrise. There was nobody around. Beautiful! I enjoyed being there as much as I enjoyed exploring the photographic opportunities.

After more than an hour a couple arrived. They walked around for a bit and then decided to set up a tripod and take their own photo. What a great scene the Great Wall is! Is there a better way to show that this section of the Wall is all yours if you arrive early? I first took a few shots and then went over and offered to take their photo for them, which they gladly accepted.

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Badaling is the closest section of the wall to Beijing and can become very crowded. With more than 1.3billion people, China is the world’s most populous country and has a massive internal tourism market, as well as welcoming 55million international tourists. The country is predicted to be the world’s leading tourist destination by 2015, with an estimated 188million visitors expected. Photo by Yann Layma / Getty Images

Yann Layma

Yann Layma

Agency
Getty Images

Badaling is the closest section of the wall to Beijing and can become very crowded. With more than 1.3billion people, China is the world’s most populous country and has a massive internal tourism market, as well as welcoming 55million international tourists. The country is predicted to be the world’s leading tourist destination by 2015, with an estimated 188million visitors expected.

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