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Less busy than its tourist-laden equivalent at Badaling, Mutianyu is easily accessed by cable car, taking you straight up onto a reconstructed section of the wall. There is also far more scope for walking here, meaning you get a longer experience and the crowds are more dispersed.

Whilst Mutianyu itself is not in the same wild and atmospheric state as some other parts of the Great Wall, it certainly offers fine views of the rolling mountains and watchtowers which have been left to the elements. Mutianyu can be combined with a visit to the Ming Tombs, resting place of 13 Chinese emperors from the Ming dynasty. Surrounded by mountain ridges on three sides, the site shows off some wonderful Ming era artefacts, statues and architectural details. Upon returning to Beijing, we will also make a quick stop to admire and photograph the world famous Birds Nest Olympic Stadium. It is one of the finest modern arenas in the world, surprisingly full of hidden symbolism.

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