The Great Wall of China is indeed great, stretching from the northwestern province of Gansu to the subtropical region of Zhejiang.
Most people though visit the Beijing section of the Great Wall, which is often so crowded that is hard to enjoy the experience. Linhai instead, is where the southernmost part of the wall is to be found, just 2 hours train from Hangzhou and 3 from Shanghai.
If you live, or are traveling, in one of these beautiful cities, then this might be your best option to see the Chinese Great Wall without getting trampled by the crowd.
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Linhai is a very pleasant city, while the entire province reaches about 1 million inhabitants, the city itself is small and enjoyable.
Linhai is completely surrounded by city walls, perfectly restored, connected to the Great Wall itself. The roads are not too wide, there are many trees and the overall atmosphere is that of a quiet countryside city.
The Great Wall of Zhejiang in Linhai – Jiangnan Great Wall
The construction of this stretch of the Great Wall began in the Jin Dynasty (265-420) and was not finished until the Sui (581-618) and Tang (618-907) Dynasties.
The northern portion, along a high ridge, and the western & southern portions, along the Lin River, have been restored and are open to visitors.
The scenery is beautiful, with mountains, forest, the river, and great views of the city. The wall goes up and then descends steeply (if entering from the main entrance), following the slopes of the hills, there are many watchtowers and three restoration points, where you can purchase drinks and snacks.
About halfway the wall’s hike, there’s a Tao temple with a thousand-year-old stunning camphor tree, you could also exit here but we advise you not to do so, the best is yet to come.
The Jingan Wall hike is about 3km long, you can add 3 more kilometers if strolling the whole city walls as well.
There are two entrances: the main one is situated north of the East Lake, you have to climb about 200 steep stairs to get on the wall; the second one is on the west side of the city, on Jiangbin West Road, it gives access to the city walls first.
The entrance fee is 65RMB, you can purchase the combo ticket for 70RMB, it gives you entrance to the closed part of East Lake too.
Is a classical Qing dynasty artificial lake, with a pavilion, a suspended walkway above the pond, a man-made waterfall, and a few weird stones of the type easily found in Suzhou or Shanghai gardens.
In the southernmost area is common to assist the usual ol’ladies group dances, some street karaoke or street musicians.
The entrance fee is 15RMB, but it becomes only 5 if you purchase the combo ticket for the Great Wall.
Ziyang Old Street
It’s amazing to see the variety of architectural styles present in Zhejiang! This pretty long street is a good example, most of it has been restored but you still can see some traditional life going on here.
If you entered the Great Wall from the main entrance you could exit here, is just where the city wall begins, with the old city gate.
If for any reason, you prefer the bus, there are three daily buses from the airport (12:10, 16:30, 20:10), the journey takes 3 hours and the ticket price is 105RMB.
Trains from Shanghai to Linhai are also plentiful, they depart from Hongqiao Railway Station. The journey takes about 3 hours and the fare goes from 155 to 190RMB for a second class seat.
Where to stay
As you may know, not all hotels in China accept foreigners. In Linhai although there are several, from 170RMB up, depending on the period of booking.
We stayed ate the weird Milan Fashion Hotel, an experience itself, the hotel is so kitsch, with plenty of mirrors everywhere, also on the ceiling.
The rooms are decorated with trash posters of Harley Davidson, Lady Gaga, and more western stuff. The staff is very kind and the boss speaks some English. If that’s your cup of tea, you can book it from Ctrip.
We absolutely advise booking in advance, to avoid being refused by many hotels not accepting foreign guests and thus waste precious holiday time.
Ctrip service is just great, if there’s any issue with the booking they will call you and solve the problem.