Although we were lucky enough to have Kevin’s* cousin as our Great Wall Guide for our trip to Simatai, if you don’t have contacts in China you’ll want to hire a taxi or take a Great Wall Tour. Always use caution with this type of business agreement and make sure you negotiate and understand the costs *beforehand*. Generally, it is acceptable form in China to clarify costs.
I was surfing for pictures of Simatai and and found this travel agency which runs camping/hiking/lodge trips along the wall. I expected the prices to be *much* higher so although I can’t directly endorse these guys this really looks like a reasonable price for a great trip. I should say you could probably get lower if know somebody in the area or have a good hotel concierge that could find you a combination of driver, guide, and lodging, but if you want the comfort of a quality experience this place might be a good choice.
In any case they have a great panorama of the Simatai Wall at their website:
* Dr Kevin, my friend and in my opinion the best Medford Oregon Dentist
Wow, I’m back home from an amazing trip to China over the past 2 weeks. Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing with 30 hours on the train between these cities so I could see more of the countryside. I have a ton to write about the trip and with my travel pal Charley Aebersold have over 1500 photos to post and caption over at Flickr. In Shanghai and Beijing we were really lucky to be with Kevin Wu, our Table Tennis friend and the best dentist in Medford, and his son as we navigated China’s massive urban landscapes and the fantastic Great Wall of China at Simitai, hosted by Kevin’s Cousin from Beijing. Kevin is originally from Beijing where he went through medical school before heading to the USA, so he was right at home and we enjoyed his unique western+eastern perspectives.
Charley stayed in China to train for Table Tennis, more about that when he returns from Hebei and the National Training Center.
I’d have to say everything on the trip paled next to the Great Wall of China, which was a simply staggering site to behold as well as an amazing historical hands-on adventure. On my next trip to China I want to hike along the wall with backpacks for several days, soaking up the 2000 years of history since this wall guarded the southern Ming dynasty from the Northerners who eventually prevailed, ushering in China’s final dynastic empire which was in turn overthrown by Sun Yat Sen around 1911, bringing modern China into being and setting the stage for the conflicts that led to the Communist and current era in China’s sweeping historical journey of many, many centuries.