Simatai Great Wall is famous for its dangerous layout, people call it the most dangerous Great Wall in China. It was a Great place for adventures hikes, photographers and even normal tourists. But it is completely different now. You may see a lot of nice photos and videos advertise on the internet, even the subway station in Beijing have a lot of advertisement here. I have a client insist to go after she saw the beautiful pictures in the subway, so I visit the Simatai Great Wall with them. I have 5 reasons not recommend you to visit, but 1 reason to recommend.
Simatai Great Wall: This part of the wall is managed by Gubei water town. The Gubei water town is a holiday resort with many hotels and restaurant. The Simatai Great Wall is behind the town, if you like to visit the Great Wall Simatai, you have to go through the Gubei water town.
1. The view is not what you expected
From the website of the Gubei water town, it is so Great to see the Great Wall light up. I went there for sunset, it supposes to be the most beautiful view, but there are many modern apartments just built in front of the wall when you take a photo, the view is like this:
Yes, Simatai is only open 9 towers, you can only see to 1 direction, but full apartment makes it very disappointed. Of course, the apartment is good business.
2. Compulsory consumption
If you like to see Simatai Great Wall, you have to buy the tickets for the water town. The entrance for the Gubei water town is 140RMB per person. There is only 1 way to just visit the Great Wall is to book your tickets 1 day before from the website, so you can buy the Great Wall ticket. But most of the tourist don’t know that, if you didn’t book it before, sorry, you have to buy the water town tickets.
The reason they control this is to make sure it is not overcrowded.
People who stay in hotels in the water town can go any time they want.
3. Hidden cost and super expensive
If you buy the daytime tickets, you have to leave the wall at 5:30 pm. If you want to see the Great Wall in the night and walk around, you need to buy a ticket once again. And you have to use the cable car, the tickets price is 160RMB.
Which means: if you go there visit Great Wall in the afternoon, you have paid 280RMB for the Great Wall and water town, you should pay it once again with 160RMB. Totally sees the Great Wall and sunset cost is 440RMB per person.
Different tickets: http://www.wtown.com.cn/index.php/Reservation/Ticket/index.html
By the way, the water town to the wall is a long distance, if you use the shuttle bus, you need to pay 10RMB each time.
4. Super touristy
I went there on a Tuesday afternoon, not a holiday. But there are many tourists groups. It is so busy, and the night tour only opens 100 meters in total. There is a security man to stop you go further. When you see the wall light up about 2 km, but you can only walk 100 meters. I couldn’t find a place to take a photo without people.
5. The water town is a fake old town.
If you check the history of the water town, it is not here 10 years ago. It is new, without any history.
Do you like to spend 160RMB to see a fake water town?
One reason I recommend you here
Even there are many reasons I don’t recommend you go to the Gubei water town, but when we come down and walk around the water town in the evening. It makes me feel very peaceful!
Most people walk around the town are stay at the hotels inside, make it not busy. (The water town is still 2 hours drive back to Beijing.) The design of the buildings is very good.
In all, a good place to relax, but not for the Great Wall.