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Planning on walking the Great Wall of China in the summer? Read our best travel tips along with the best items to pack for your adventure!
What to Wear to the Great Wall of China: Summer
Written By: Elizabeth Georgian
The number one destination to visit in Beijing is certainly the Great Wall of China.
If you’re visiting China for the first time, you might feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of options when it comes to hiking the Great Wall, as there are many different sections near Beijing that can be easily reached.
While all sections of the Great Wall are beautiful, some are more crowded and some are occasionally closed for restoration. It’s best to check in advance to determine the best section of the Wall to visit at that time, to make sure you get the experience you’re looking for.
Some sections of the Great Wall near Beijing include Badaling, Juyongguan, Mutianyu, Simatai, and Jinshaling. Badaling is the most popular and most crowded.
Juyongguan is easy to visit in a short amount of time, making it great for those with time constraints. Jinshaling is my personal favorite because it’s not very crowded and remains partially unrestored.
Do a bit of research to find the section of the Wall that fits with your time schedule and your desired experience. No matter which part you visit, your mind will be blown by the amount of work that went into building such a massive structure!
These different sections of the Great Wall can be easily reached by signing up for a private tour or negotiating a round trip with a private driver.
Hiring a private driver or taxi is very common in China and if you don’t speak Mandarin, ask your accommodation to help negotiate for you. Many accommodations will be happy to help and can even tell you a good price for such a trip.
What to Wear in the Great Wall in Summer
Dressing for a hike along the Great Wall can be a bit challenging, particularly in the summer when the weather in Beijing is hot. July is the hottest month in Beijing; temperatures can soar to 104°F (40°C).
Rain in the summer tends to be moderate, with an average rainfall of just 7 inches (185 mm). Packing with the scorching summer temperatures in mind is key to a comfortable summer visit to Beijing.
Start by reading these general tips on packing for summer travel:
- Capsule Wardrobe for Summer
- How to Wear One Dress, Many Ways
- Hot Weather Travel Packing List for Women Over 40
You’ll want to look cute and presentable since you’ll definitely take lots of photos! However, don’t take your dressing cues from some visitors to the Great Wall who come decked out in dresses and high heels. That isn’t practical on uneven stones in the hot weather!
Read these tips for the best shoes to walk on cobblestone streets!
Dressing cute, cool, and comfortable for the Great Wall is essential to your enjoyment, especially because it tends to be a full day trip. Personally, I prefer shorts that aren’t too short and t-shirts that will protect my shoulders from sunburn.
Think shorts are only for the beach? These stylish summer shorts for women will take you from day to night, city to sea, and so much more!
Regarding footwear: it’s best to choose something that you’ll find comfortable to walk in. Don’t wear a new pair of shoes for the first time because you risk getting blisters. I suggest packing a piece of moleskin and a pocketknife to cut the moleskin to the appropriate size in case you do get blisters or sore spots.
I love hiking in Toms shoes, as they are comfortable, light, and provide a surprisingly good grip on uneven ground despite having no treads. However, if your feet swell in the heat opt for comfortable sandals like these instead.
Looking for comfortable and cute walking shoes for travel? Our readers share their top 20 brands!
In addition to comfortable clothes, packing a well-stocked, but light and comfortable day bag will keep your adventurous spirit up. I never suggest carrying a backpack in China, as the zippers on your back leave your gear vulnerable to theft.
I prefer comfortable crossbody bags with a secure top zipper. This way, your personal items will remain safe, and depending on the size of your bag, you’ll have plenty of space for carrying essentials.
Take a look at the best anti-theft travel bags for women!
Along with your camera, sun protection is a key item to include in your day bag while hiking the Great Wall of China. Think sun protection for both your skin and your lips. There’s nothing worse than burnt lips!
Hats provide great protection from the sun, so I suggest wearing one even if the air quality index is high for the day (meaning the smog is thick).
If you need extra protection from the sun or heat, do as the locals do and use an umbrella for shade. Pack one in your purse in case of unexpected rain or too much sun.
Use these cute summer hair ideas for a fun and stylish way to update your vacation do!
Staying hydrated is important. You’ll likely drink your entire bottle of water in one go! Don’t fret, as there are numerous vendors along the Great Wall selling bottled water, juices, soda, and snacks.
If you’re trying to reduce your plastic usage and plan to carry your own reusable bottle, keep in mind that water is unsafe to drink in China and should always be boiled or otherwise treated before consumption. Trust me, I’ve made this mistake before and you don’t want to do the same!
Don’t forget to protect your eyes from the sun’s glare. We recommend polarized sunglasses!
The Great Wall of China is one of the most breathtaking sights in the world, and wearing the right clothes will make your experience even better. In the summer, light clothing will keep you cool, and comfortable shoes like these will allow you to hike for miles, and sun protection will keep your skin happy.
What are your tips when hiking the Great Wall of China in summer? Share in the comments below!
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