Traveling to China during the Golden Week can be a little overwhelming. Although all of the major sights in Beijing are packed during the holiday, going to the Great Wall is a must. The trick is choosing the right part of the wall so that you aren't swallowed up by the crowds. Juyongguan, or Juyong Pass, is one of the three greatest mountain passes of the Great Wall. The steep terrain and narrow steps make it one of the most difficult parts of the wall to climb, and while normally this wouldn't be ideal, in the case of a national holiday, it's probably the best option. Most people journey to Badaling, but Juyongguan shows more of what the 'real wall' was like before it underwent significant renovations. In addition to the amazing views from the top, it was one heck of a workout. I saw a few women in high heels, and while I was impressed, my feet hurt just looking at them. Needless to say, I was happy that I wore my sneakers.
Make sure to give yourself plenty of time at the wall. Between the crowds, traffic and the actual climb, it took up a the entire afternoon.
Being a Western tourist during the Golden Week is a bit of a novelty. In general, the crowds are consisted of tourists from the rural areas of China. For many, this is their first trip to a major city, and their first brush with people from Western cultures. About every ten minutes or so, I had people asking to take my picture with them and I definitely wasn't prepared for all of the pointing and staring. While the experience may have bothered some, I think it made my trip to the Great Wall a little more special.
Get the Look: Sweater, Mysty Woman from Laforet // Jeans, Joe's // Sneakers, Jimmy Choo // Bag, Marc by Marc Jacobs