Simatai Great Wall and the Gubei Shuizhen | Canals in the Gubei Shuizhen
Canals in the Gubei Shuizhen.

Simatai Great Wall and the Gubei Shuizhen Lantern Festival Fair

Visit the Gubei Shuizhen to hike the Simatai Great Wall and explore the Lantern Festival fair.

Level 3
A steep hike up the Great Wall 3–4 hours of walking and hiking (Can I do it?)

This hike is not currently scheduled

Contact us for schedule updates or set up a private hike

With only part of the Simatai Great Wall open to visitors it’s a bit short for a hike. But with the Gubei Shuizhen (AKA Gubei WTown) Lantern Festival fair to explore at the same time, it becomes well worth the drive out.

Trip highlights

  • Climb the Simatai Great Wall—hike the ten towers on the east side of the Great Wall at Simatai. Short, steep, and excellent views from the top. (Cable-car option available)
  • Explore the Gubei Shuizhen—after a restaurant meal, our guides will take you on a walk to see the highlights of the Gubei Shuizhen. Then you’ll have free time until the drone show. Go shopping, find food and hot drinks, do some people-watching … up to you!
  • Lantern Festival fair—mingle with the crowds to see performances and shop small stalls.
  • Drone show—see a choreographed swarm of drones make shapes and pictures, with the lit-up Great Wall as a backdrop.
Gubei Shuizhen and Simatai Great Wall photo #2
A penguin appears in the sky as part of the drone show.

Costs

Adults: ¥600
BJH members: ¥540
Big kids (taller than 1.2m): ¥330
Kids (1.2m or shorter): ¥290

Included in the price

  • Round-trip transport from Beijing.
  • Entry tickets for the Gubei Shuizhen and Simatai Great Wall.
  • Included lunch at a restaurant.
  • Beijing Hikers guides.

Not included in the price

  • Cable car tickets are not included. If you’d prefer to take it easy and still see the best part of the Great Wall here, the guides can help you buy one-way or two-way tickets for the cable car up to the top section.
  • Dinner is not included. You’ll find plenty of options for an evening meal, including pizza (if that’s what you prefer)

Itinerary

Itinerary for the hike
08:00 Bus departs from Liangmaqiao, heading to Lido
08:30 Bus departs from Lido
10:30 Arrive at Gubei Shuizhen
11:00 Begin the hike up the east side of the Simatai Great Wall
12:30 Meet up back at the town square
13:00 Lunch at a town restaurant
14:00 Guided tour of the highlights of Gubei Shuizhen
15:00 Free time to explore and/or shop, find your own dinner
18:00 Meet up to watch the drone show
18:15 Drone show finishes, walk out to the car park
18:45 Driving back, stopping for a bathroom break
20:30 Arrive at Lido, then on to Liangmaqiao

More about the Simatai Great Wall

Gubei Shuizhen and Simatai Great Wall photo #6
The Simatai Great Wall.

The Simatai Great Wall is an excellent example of what the main sections of Great Wall looked during the peak of the Ming Dynasty—solid foundations cut from local rock and topped by brick battlements, with large, closely-spaced towers that feature interesting architectural touches.

The wall here was repaired and opened to tourists in 1990. Before then, its main construction periods were in the Northern Qi Dynasty (550-577, likely just a low line of rocks and stones), the early Ming Dynasty (late 1400s, built on top of the older Northern Qi wall), and the later part of the Ming Dynasty (1570s, in the style that is seen today).

Interesting architectural features include single-sided walls that cross narrow ridges, and towers with multiple levels, different floor plans, different numbers of windows, and different designs for the roofs and doors.

In 2010 the whole area below the Simatai Great Wall was closed down for its transformation into the Gubei Shuizhen. Currently only the first ten towers on the east side of Simatai are open to visitors, which means the most famous (and dangerous) parts – Fairy Tower, Wangjing Tower, Sky Bridge – are off-limits, as is the stretch of wall on the west side.

More about Gubei Shuizhen

Gubei Shuizhen and Simatai Great Wall photo #4
An opera performance in the town square.

The Gubei Shuizhen is a popular tourist resort, built in the style of Hangzhou’s Wuzhen water town.

The main part of the Gubei Shuizhen is found within the walls of the Chao River Fortress, and inside the walls you’ll find ancient-looking cobbled lanes, bridges, temples, and gates, plus shops, stalls, restaurants, cafes, guesthouses, and hot springs.

Gubei Shuizhen Spring Festival photos, January 2023

Sophia from the Gubei Shuizhen sent us these photos from the Spring Festival fair in January 2023. Thanks, Sophia!

Gubei Shuizhen Spring Festival fair, January 2023 photo #6
Gubei Shuizhen Spring Festival fair, January 2023 photo #7
Gubei Shuizhen Spring Festival fair, January 2023 photo #8
Gubei Shuizhen Spring Festival fair, January 2023 photo #9
Gubei Shuizhen Spring Festival fair, January 2023 photo #10
Gubei Shuizhen Spring Festival fair, January 2023 photo #11
Gubei Shuizhen Spring Festival fair, January 2023 photo #12
Gubei Shuizhen Spring Festival fair, January 2023 photo #13

COVID-19 and participation precautions

The current precautions are minimal. Please read in full here: Operating hikes under COVID-19 precautions

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