There are many parts of the Great Wall that tourists can visit, but Mutianyu is the only part of the wall that is surrounded by mountains and beautiful scenery. In fact, over 95% of this section is forest. The whole section of the Great Wall stretches like a flying dragon if you look closely. Mutainyu is in the Huairou District of Beijing. It has more enemy towers in comparison to the other parts to visit and has the most historical significance. Perfect for Asian history lovers like me! Mutianyu is also the least touristy of the great wall sections, so if you want to avoid a lot of the people selling you crap or avoid having loads of people showing up in your pictures, then this is the place to go! It was a 2 hour drive from Tsinghua University to Mutianyu, but the longer ride was worth it.
Sign #1 reads: "Dotice to visitors: Toboggan is a dangerous sport, You must follow the notice of the Tobogganto drive, If you don't follow the rules, it will be at your own risk,Our company is not responsible."
Sign #2 is completely misspelled but tells you that you pull the handle towards you to brake and away from you to go faster.
(Here's a picture my friend took of me on the "wiegand" and also a picture I took while going down the slide. I also took a live video of my ride down so I could show off the scenery, which I'll post when I'm allowed to go on Youtube, aka when I'm out of China.)
And of course after reading all those informative signs, I thought it would be a great idea to plummet to my death on the Great Wall and promptly bought my ticket. Once we got down, one of our other classmates was recounting an argument he got in with the woman that was selling the slide tickets. For the record, all my classmates speak perfect Chinese to each other even though most of my them are not Asian. It's actually quite impressive to the point where Chinese people are taking pictures of them all day.
Classmate: (In Chinese) "How much are the tickets? Do we leave from here?"
Woman: (In Chinese) "I don't understand you."
C: "What do you mean you don't understand me? You're answering me!"
W: "Oh.. well I just don't understand you."
C: "You're only saying that because I'm white and you're pretending you don't understand me!"
W: "Oh... well...Whatever. The ticket is $50."
C: "See you didn't understand me, you wouldn't be answering my question! Stop lying- it's cause I'm white!"
W: [Turns around and ignores him.]
And there you have it, Chinese hospitality at its best! I think it's best to have no standards when dealing with Chinese people, therefore you are never disappointed.
Haha. I think the woman was a little dumbfounded that my classmates were totally not taking her crap. China definitely has issues getting their customer service or tourism down. They really aren't foreigner friendly. I really don't know how they pulled off the Olympics, especially looking at their horrible English signs. Wasn't there some law that encouraged people to report any misspelled signs or anything to the government before the Olympics? Major fail.
Other than that, the Great Wall was the most exercise I've done in at least 4 years. I would definitely recommend visiting the Mutainyu location over any other location. The pictures we got were great because there were not a gazillion people in the background. The food.... was definitely no bueno though!
FYI, don't forget to bargain for drinks or snacks on the Great Wall. Yes, they even try to rip you off for drinks cause they know you need it.