The Great Wall is one of those attractions that is entirely worthy of all its hype. While it can’t actually be seen from space, it’s most definitely a great man-made wonder best seen in person.

But there’s just one little problem facing those wanting to see this epic site. With a national population of 1.357 billion people and millions of khaki-pant-laden tourists coming through China each year, how can you see the Great Wall crowd-free?

A few simple factors affect the busyness of the Great Wall. Seasons, weekends, and holidays play some part, but above allwhich section you choose to visit is single-handedly the most important aspect affecting crowding. But before I launch into that, here’s a quick Great Wall run-down.

connected by watchtowers that rise and dip over the country’s hilly mountainside. It was constructed 2,000 years ago to deter outside invasions, though today it’s invaded by millions of tourists trampling its paths 365 days a year.

Many wall sections can be visited as a feasible day-trip from Beijing. It is also possible to stay in basic accommodations in villages near certain sections (recommended if visiting remote sections). Otherwise, just stay in Beijing. CTrip is best for finding cheap accommodation throughout China, often including listings not found on foreign search engines. It also provides a money-back program with each booking – bonus!

In terms of crowding: weekends are the WORST time for crowds, period. The peak busy season in China is generally fromMay to August, though Chinese New Year in February sets the entire country into a traffic frenzy (as we learnt firsthand). That doesn’t mean a visit during these periods will be frantic though, as our trip to Jinshanling in June was practically empty. Ultimately where you hike is more important than when you go.

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