Badaling is the most representative part of the Wall, and is far 70 km from Beijing (only this part of the wall offers the option of public transportation until there). This is also the best preserved part, and has an average altitude of 1000 meters.
summer- 06:30 am to 7 pm
winter- 7 am to 6 pm
So you don’t have to be caught by the “take tourists” traps that are the tours offered by agencies/hotels, there are regular bus lines (lines 877- direct, 919 and 880) that depart from Downtown Beijing (Deshengmen Arrow Tower)-the trip takes about one hour and the cost is 12 RMB per person. You can take the subway, bus or taxi until there and then take this bus to Badaling, is easier and cheaper.
ATTENTION!!! In this place there are a lot of private buses that put this numbers on theirs, but the official ones are cheaper and safer!
If you prefer to take a train, go to Beijing North Railway Station and then to Badaling Railway Station (that is a 20 minutes walk from the main entrance). The first train to badaling is 06:20 am, and the last one to come back to Beijing is 09:33 pm. Travel time is one hour and half, maximum.
Getting there (the entrance fee is 45 RMB), there are two options to go up, in case you don’t want to spend your time and energy going all the way by yourself: the cable car (80 RMB round trip- tickets sold near from where the buses stop, and the entrance is near the Beer Garden) and the pulley (60 RMB- tickets sold in front of the parking lot). The cable car- that leaves visitors on the North Tower 8- is more comfortable and stable, but the pulley is way more exciting, but not recommended for seniors.
In case you want to stay near to this part of the Wall, there are many lodges, rustic and cozy options that offer a hint of the chinese lifestyle to those who want to immerse themselves on this ancient culture, besides having the opportunity of observing very closely this colossus.
There are also other touristic points near to Badaling, like the Ming Thumbs (that host the thumbs of the main imperators of the Ming dynasty) an the Great Wall of China Museum, that tells the rich story of this construction work.
But don’t visit in very cold, rainy or snowy days, for obvious reasons. And, again, get there early, because the most part of the tourists begin to get there by 11 am, and surely there’ll be a lot of queues, and hords of people trying to cross in front of your amazing-to-be-shot!
Good tour and au revoir!