Ready for an adventure? Call +44 (0)2381 449447 or email Your Account

Follow us

China: Return to the Great Wall 2025

18th Oct 2025 - 26th Oct 2025

9 days/China /Moderate to Challenging


Join us for the welcome return of this iconic classic adventure!

This trek takes you to a remote section of the Great Wall of China, from Gubeikou to Jinshanling and Simatai. Not only will you trek on the wall itself, meticulously built and restored over thousands of years, but you will also have the opportunity to trek through wild and remote landscapes with distant views of green rolling hills, mountain peaks and with one of the great wonders of the world as the backdrop.

Staying in guesthouses throughout the trek allows you to gain an understanding of authentic Chinese culture as you discover more about the lifestyle of the local people and also taste some incredible local cuisine.

You don’t have to fundraise to join an open challenge but you can support a charity of your choice if you wish. See the costs tab for more details.

View our other Open Challenges

A moderate to challenging trip for someone of a good general level of fitness. The Great Wall is built on rolling hills and some sections have hundreds of thousands of stairs, some of which have begun to crumble and are more like steep gravel slopes.

Each day you can expect to walk for 5-8 hours on various types of terrain. The activity level is high so don’t expect it to be easy. You will need to train in preparation for this.

The trek is accompanied by local English-speaking guides who have an excellent knowledge of trekking in the region. The guides are first aid trained and will support you throughout your journey. You will also be supported by an excellent team of assistant staff, cooks and drivers and a Different Travel Company UK tour manager.

The terrain is hilly and undulating with steep sections. You will not trek on the wall the entire time, often you will walk next to it through the countryside so be prepared for a variety of ground underfoot from the grassy, dry terrain of the countryside to the stone steps of the Great Wall.

The Great Wall has been restored in some sections so you will find smooth paved ground with steps built up the hillside. In the original sections the Wall may be crumbling, with earth and stone rubble that shifts underfoot like scree, making it challenging to climb and leaving some exposed areas with drops.

In general, you should expect to climb a lot of steps during the challenge, so you must train with this in mind and ensure you do plenty of hill walking to prepare for the hills.

Temperatures will be dependent upon the weather which is usually clear and sunny. Rain is unlikely but possible in October seeing just 5 days of rain throughout the month historically. On average the temperature will range between 15°C to 18°C during the day and down to 0°C at night.

It’s important to be prepared for all weather conditions and temperatures by packing non-cotton trek layers and waterproofs. It’s better to have warm layers and waterproofs and not need them, than to not have any when you need them.

Please note: the temperatures and conditions above are historically accurate however, climate change impacts the seasons so you may experience uncharacteristic conditions which are out of our control. Should this happen the guide will assess the situation and make decisions to ensure the best enjoyment and ultimate safety of the group.

The trek day will start with a breakfast of hot drinks, noodles, rice, eggs, Chinese dumplings and fruit. You will prepare your own packed lunch each day which will consist of sandwiches with jam or peanut butter, fresh fruit, Oreos (or similar), dried fruit, and nuts, etc. Some days you may have hot lunches. You should bring your own snacks to eat throughout the day.

A freshly cooked traditional Chinese evening meal will be served at the guesthouse comprising rice, noodles, meat, tofu, and vegetable dishes.

You will stay in a hotel in Beijing and guesthouses during the trek. Accommodation is on a twin or triple share basis throughout. A single occupancy room (at a supplement) may be possible, subject to availability.

During the trek you may occupy two or more neighbouring guesthouses depending on the final group size, but you will share your meals together and be able to relax in the evenings as a group.

The hotels have en-suite facilities with flushing toilets and hot showers. Toilet paper should always be placed in the bin, not flushed.

During the trek there are basic toilet and shower facilities available (shared). Towels are provided. Toiletries are not provided at the guesthouses so please bring your own. Toilet paper is provided in limited quantities at the guesthouses so you will need to bring your own for use here and also for use on the trek and at any public toilets (where toilet paper is never provided).

During the trek you will need to pack up any toilet paper you use to dispose of properly at your guesthouse bin. NEVER leave toilet paper, fruit peel, nut shells or other litter on the trail. You are recommended to bring a small pack of baby wipes and hand sanitizer for your general hygiene throughout the day (e.g. to clean your hands after toilet visits and/or before lunch).

You must be 18+ to join this trek. It may be possible for you to participate if you are 16 or 17 years old if accompanied by a parent or guardian. There is no upper age limit.

An ideal candidate for the trek would be someone who enjoys being out of their comfort zone and trying something new. Adventure travel involves an element of the unexpected so do not expect standards to be the same as you are used to at home. Remote areas are sometimes unpredictable (be it because of group pace, weather conditions, local bureaucracy or other factors) and itineraries may be altered to allow for this.

For you to get the most out of your challenge it is important that you are flexible, positive and eager to take on all the challenges that arise. Suitable fitness preparation before departure forms part of this.

You should have a good level of fitness to ensure fast recovery from each day of trekking.

You must engage in training (including plenty of walking up and down hills) before departure to ensure your best chance of enjoyment on the trip. This could include hill walking, running, cycling, gym workouts, boot camps, etc.

You can download a number of free apps to help you train and track your progress e.g. MapMyWalk, C25K, MyFitnessPal etc. Attempting to complete the trek without training will make it more challenging than necessary and will be detrimental to your experience, and the experience of your teammates.

The trek is rated moderate to challenging. There are many steep uphill and downhill sections to contend with and you must be prepared to carry a daypack weighing 6-7kg. Although the distances trekked may appear short, due to the hilly terrain it can take 6-7 hours to trek just 5km, as ascent and descent profile each day ranges from 515m-866m.


Trek the Great Wall of China Itinerary

Day 1 (Saturday 18 October 2025):

London to Beijing
Fly to Beijing on an overnight flight.

Day 2 (Sunday 19 October 2025):

Arrive in Beijing and check into a central hotel in time for a group dinner and a briefing on the week ahead. If time permits, why not explore the maze of alleys (hutongs) where you will find traditional houses, small local shops and other wonders.
Meals: Dinner

Day 3 (Monday 20 October 2025):

Beijing to Gubeikou
Today we transfer by bus to the Great Wall (approx. three hours). After lunch we start our trek, winding our way uphill to reach an ancient and original section of the Great Wall, from where you will enjoy views of the wall stretching across the countryside. We descend next to the wall then through a forest to a small town and to our first guesthouse at Gubeikou.
Trekking: Approx. 9km. Total ascent: 515 meters. 3-4 hours
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 4 (Tuesday 21 October 2025):

This morning we transfer from our guesthouse to explore the Gubeikou section. This area is completely original, quite challenging and one of the lesser visited sections. The wall here dates from the Ming Dynasty and it is believed to have seen more battles than any other part of the Great Wall and has long been a place of military significance. The majority of the trek today is along a part of the wall which is almost completely worn away and the terrain underfoot is rugged and uneven. We return to the guesthouse tonight.
Trekking: Approx.11km. Total ascent: 709 meters. 6-7 hours
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 5 (Wednesday 22 October 2025):

Gubeikou to Jinshanling
We set off early today to transfer to the start of our trek. Today we will trek up to a section of the wall known locally as the ‘dragon standing on the beautiful golden mountain’. It’s easy to see how the wall resembles a dragon as it weaves across the land. The views are stunning and you will have hundreds of great photographic opportunities. Unlike other sections of the wall, this area has seen little restoration and many of the stairs and turrets have crumbled away to leave steep stone slopes between each watch tower. We descend through forests and past farmland before transferring to our guesthouse in Jinshanling.
Trekking: Approx. 15.4km. Total ascent: 866 meters. 6-7 hours
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6 (Thursday 23 October 2025):

Jinshanling to Simatai
Today’s trek takes us along a restored section of the wall originally built in the 15th century. In contrast to the unrestored sections of the previous days, you can see how the wall looked when it was built centuries ago. Here you will gain an appreciation of the incredible effort in building the wall and the meticulous attention to detail, tactical wisdom and subtle beauty in its construction. We descend through the forest and return to our guesthouse.
Trekking: Approx. 8km. Total ascent: 697 meters. 7-8 hours
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 7 (Friday 24 October 2025):

Simatai to Beijing
After breakfast we head off for an exhilarating half-day climb below the summit of My Simatai, taking in two villages with stunning views of the hinterland along the way. Unlike other sections of the wall this area has seen very little restoration and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After lunch we drive back to Beijing (approx. 3-4 hours).
Trekking: Approx. 6km. Total ascent: 539 meters. 4-5 hours
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 8 (Saturday 25 October 2025):

Today you will have guided visits to the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square before some free time and a special farewell dinner tonight.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 9 (Sunday 26 October 2025):

Beijing to London
Transfer to the airport for the return flight to London which may arrive the following day, depending on flight schedules.
Meals: Breakfast

N.B. This itinerary may change due to unusual weather patterns, the ability of the group,and so on. We will do our best to keep to the set itinerary however we cannot be held responsible for changes that might occur outside of our control. In all such circumstances your guide and tour leader will have the final say in the interest of the health and safety of the group.

Costs & How to pay

Registration fee: £365
and then either…

Self-funded: £1,950


Sponsorship: £3,900


Flexi: £1,950 trip costs and £1,950 sponsorship for a charity of your choice


This option is for those who choose to pay the trip costs (flights, accommodation, food, guides etc.) themselves. There is no sponsorship required although if you wish to raise sponsorship for a charity you are welcome to do so.

  • A registration fee is payable at the time of booking.
  • Trip cost balance is payable to Different Travel 10 weeks prior to departure.
  • You are welcome to fundraise separately for any charity of your choice but this is not mandatory. Any fundraising undertaken cannot be used for your trip costs.


This option is for those who wish to raise sponsorship to cover both the costs of the trip (flights, accommodation, food, guides etc.) and a donation to their chosen charity. There is a minimum sponsorship amount for each tour that you are required to raise in order to participate.

  • A registration fee is payable at the time of booking.
  • The minimum sponsorship must be paid to the charity 12 weeks prior to departure.
  • The amount the charity receives is at least 50% of the minimum sponsorship total.


This option is for those who choose to pay the trip costs (flights, accommodation, food, guides etc.) themselves while still raising some funds for the charity.

  • A registration fee is payable at the time of booking.
  • Trip cost balance is payable to Different Travel and your fundraising is payable to the charity 10 weeks prior to departure.
  • Any fundraising undertaken cannot be used for your trip costs.

*If your chosen charity is not on this list, please seek permission to fundraise for them by taking part in this challenge before making your booking.

What's included

  • Return flights from London
  • Airport taxes and charges
  • Local transfers and transport in China
  • Accommodation in 3* hotel (3 nights) and guesthouses on trek (4 nights)
  • All meals as per itinerary
  • Trek permits
  • English-speaking local guides and support crew
  • Different Travel UK tour manager

What's not included

  • Any necessary vaccinations
  • Spending money (tips – approx £40-45pp, drinks, souvenirs)
  • Transport to/from UK airports
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal trek kit and equipment
  • China visa (current cost approx. £150-£175)

Got a Question?

If you’ve a question about this challenge that you can’t find the answer to within the given information then complete this quick form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.