About the challenge
Stretching 6000km in a dotted line across China, the Great Wall was begun in the 5th Century BC. As it snakes across the mountains it conjures up a sense of history which is difficult to grasp until you have had the opportunity to experience it. Our trek is very varied, as we pass through woodland and terraced farmland, and follow the contours of the beautiful hills and mountains in remote areas north of Beijing. We follow old sections of the Great Wall, as well as restored sections with smooth flagstones and lots of steps! This challenge is physically demanding and offers fabulous scenery and a fascinating insight into a rich culture and history.
Dates & prices
|Departs||Days||Charity||Availability||Registration fee||Fundraising target||Payment option|
|16 Sep 2016||10||Open challenge||Spaces||£299||+||£2850||Or||£1200||Book now|
|23 Sep 2016||10||Help for Heroes||Spaces||—||—||—||Contact charity|
|07 Oct 2016||10||Open challenge||Spaces||£299||+||£2850||£1200||Book now|
|15 Oct 2016||10||Alzheimer's Society||Full||£299||+||£3350||—||Contact charity|
|14 Apr 2017||10||Open challenge||Spaces||£299||+||£2950||£1250||Book now|
|22 Apr 2017||9||Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust||Limited||—||+||£4000||—||Contact charity|
|15 Sep 2017||10||Open challenge||Spaces||£299||+||£2950||£1250||Book now|
|23 Sep 2017||10||Girlguiding||Spaces||£250||+||£2950||—||Book now|
|06 Oct 2017||10||Open challenge||Spaces||£299||+||£2950||£1250||Book now|
|14 Oct 2017||10||MS Society||Spaces||£249||+||£2950||—||Book now|
Days 1-2: Flight to Beijing
Days 3-4: Hilly trekking, following Great Wall over ridges and valleys to small village
Days 5-6: Along forest tracks and steep, well-preserved sections of Wall to Jinshanlin
Days 7-8: Trek through spectacular rolling mountains dotted with watch-towers; drive to Beijing
Days 9-10: Time to explore Beijing; flight home
What it's really like
Terrain varies from smooth flagstones on Wall to farm tracks
Some steep inclines and many sections of uneven steps
Longest day 7-8 hours trekking
Stay in small hotels and home stay
Discover Adventure reserves the right to change the route or itinerary for safety reasons should local conditions dictate.
For details of our extension to see the incredible Terracotta Warriors in Xian (adds 4 extra days) please contact us.
The cost includes all accommodation as well as all flights and transfers; all meals except for one or two as specified in the itinerary; entrance to the Forbidden City and all other sites visited as part of the itinerary. Experienced Discover Adventure leaders and doctor (depending on final group size) are also included, along with a local support crew of local guides, drivers and cooks.
It does not include personal travel insurance, airline fuel supplement if charged by the airline, entry visa, tips for local crew or international departure tax. It also does not include any entrance fees to any optional sites or attractions you may wish to visit, or optional activities you may wish to undertake. Remember to allow extra for drinks, souvenirs and other personal expenses. There is plenty of opportunity to buy souvenirs during your stay in China. Please note that costs may fluctuate and we have no control over any changes. We strongly recommend you carry a credit card in case of personal emergency.
Group flights leave from London Heathrow or Gatwick, (we regret that we are unable to book connecting flights), and are booked through Discover Adventure Ltd under ATOL licence 5636. By travelling with Discover Adventure you are protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are most likely to fly with Emirates or Cathay Pacific airlines. However, we don’t always fly with the same airline so this is a guideline only. You will usually receive confirmed flight details several months before departure. Our itineraries are always based on current flight schedules and are therefore subject to change by the airline. If you prefer to book your own flights please ask us for a land-only cost.
Accommodation on this trek ranges from good quality western-style hotels in Beijing to more basic mountain hotels or lodges. There is one night in farmers’ houses, which provides a real insight into rural Chinese life, you'll be in dormitory style accommodation on this night. Please do not expect the same standards as you would in the UK!
All food is included when trekking. The food is good, freshly-cooked and will give you plenty of energy for the long days of trekking. Meals are generally Chinese-style not western. In some areas fresh meat can be hard to come by.
Being vegetarian or having other dietary requirements is not usually a problem provided you let us know well in advance. Please do not expect as much variety as you would have access to at home – we will be in very rural areas and among people of a different culture who may not understand your requirements, however willing they are to help. If you know there are plenty of foods you cannot eat you may wish to bring extra snacks from home so you can top up your energy supply. Please feel free to ask us for advice. Any meals not included are listed in the itinerary and are generally when we are in Beijing - where you are free to explore and try other culinary experiences! There is always something to suit every budget.
Discover Adventure Crew
Your trip will be led by experienced Discover Adventure leaders. Our leaders are selected for their experience in harsh wilderness environments, knowledge of travel in remote areas, friendliness and approachability, sense of humour and ability to safely and effectively deal with any situation that arises. You are in very safe hands with a Discover Adventure leader.
All our leaders are from the UK or other English-speaking countries. Most work for us on an ad-hoc basis and have ‘real’ jobs in-between trips! We never send our leaders to the same destination for months on end – we want them to be as enthusiastic about your trip as you are. Although our leaders are trained in expedition first-aid, they are accompanied by an expedition doctor or medic (dependent on group size), who is there to look after the well-being of the whole group and deal with any incidents. They help the leaders to ensure the trip runs smoothly and encourage you when things get tough. The number of crew looking after you will depend on the final size of your group, but an average-sized group in China would be led by two leaders and a doctor. At Discover Adventure we pride ourselves on our high leader: trekker ratio and believe it leads to greater trip enjoyment as well as excellent trip safety.
Local Support Crew
Our local support crew is made up of local guides and drivers. Your local guide knows the local area well, and is a great source of knowledge about local customs and lifestyles. Our drivers do not always speak much English but are very friendly and approachable. The Discover Adventure crew work closely with the local crew to ensure your trip runs smoothly and safely.
Your leader will arrange a collection of tips for the local support crew at the end of your trek. Tipping is not obligatory, but once you see how hard they work on your behalf you will be happy to donate something! All our local crew are paid wages, but bear in mind that the average wage in this country is far below what you would spend on a normal night out.
Your luggage is carried by vehicles from hotel to hotel. Vehicles will drop us off at the start of the trek and pick us up for any transfers. They also carry all food, water etc. Space is limited and hard-sided luggage is not suitable, so it is essential that your kit is packed in a soft sailing bag, rucksack or expedition kitbag. Ask us about our specially-designed low-cost kitbags if you don’t have one already. You should also bring a small daypack to carry for items needed during the day as you will not have access to your main luggage until the evening.
Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with radios and emergency satellite phones, extensive medical kit and other safety apparatus where necessary. They always have access to our 24-hour emergency back-up in the UK. Our leaders are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary should local conditions dictate. Pre-trip administration – such as compulsory medical questionnaires and travel insurance – is all done with your safety in mind.
Preparing for the challenge
Walking is partly on flagstones of various conditions on the Wall, and partly on paths through woodland or farmland. At times it is rough and rocky underfoot, at other times it can be muddy. There are also many steps. If you are unsteady on your feet you may find trekking poles useful. You will trek approximately 80km on this trip overall. Because of the varied terrain and lack of accurate maps, it’s impossible to give accurate daily distances. It’s also much more useful when training to think about the hours you need to walk for!
Clothing & Equipment
We are travelling through remote mountains where we could be exposed to bad weather at any time so be prepared for quickly changing conditions and temperatures. We provide you with a detailed packing kit-list on registration, as well as details on useful discounts you are entitled to as a Discover Adventure customer. We are always available if you need advice.
Our challenges attract people of all levels of experience and fitness, all ages and backgrounds. We expect all participants to train hard in advance to achieve this challenge, but we respect everyone’s limits. We design our challenges so that everyone can go at their own pace: this is not a race. For logistical and safety reasons we sometimes need to re-group, so the front-runners will find themselves waiting for the slower ones. Please relax, and remember that this is a team effort that enables people to achieve their personal goals and earn sponsorship.
Passport & Visa
A valid ten-year passport is essential; it should be valid for at least 6 months after entry into China. A visa is essential for all nationalities, costing approx £35 at time of writing. We will provide you with more information about entry visas in the lead-up to your trip.
We insist that you have had a Tetanus injection in the last ten years, and highly recommend protection against Polio, Hepatitis A and Typhoid. A Yellow Fever certificate is essential only if coming from an infected area. You should always check with a GP or travel clinic for up-to-date travel health advice as it does change.
For most people, the main attraction of travelling to a different country is to see new sights and enjoy new experiences. Sometimes those new experiences can make life harder or more inconvenient than you may like, such as toilet hygiene or different food, or simply a different attitude to solving problems. This is all part of the challenge you are signing up for! We are very privileged to live in a country with a high standard of living, and travelling exposes us to different challenges – all of which help broaden our horizons. We can guarantee that coming face-to-face with experiences outside your normal ‘comfort zone’ will help you bond with your fellow trekkers and provide you with plenty of things to laugh about! A sense of humour and sense of adventure are two of the most important things to bring with you!
Worldwide Sustainable Tourism
Long before ‘Responsible Tourism’ became a recognised phrase, we designed and ran our trips to ensure they made minimum impact on the environment and a positive impact on the local communities we pass through.
Discover Adventure Projects
We are supporting a tree-planting project in Peru and a children’s home in Tanzania on a long-term basis. If you would like to ‘give something back’ please consider donating £5 to our projects when you sign up.
We encourage all our customers to offset emissions connected with their trip. You can offset at any time in the lead-up to departure by visiting Climate Care via our website and making a donation to a worthwhile project supported by them. Alternatively, if you wish to take more practical action in the UK you can volunteer for a day with TCV and work on an environmental project local to you. Work may include construction footpaths, dry stone walling, creating wildlife habitats or planting trees in your community. Volunteer today at www.tcv.org.uk or call 01302 388883.