"Shanhaiguan" Shanhaiguan by wenzhi_travels

Shanhaiguan Travel Guide: 20 reviews and 37 photos

Shanhaiguan is where the Great Wall meets the Yellow Sea. As such, it is home to one of the most unique and majestic parts of the Great Wall - for all the thousands of miles the Great Wall spans, for all the mountains and deserts and pastures and grasslands it crosses, there is only one place where the Great Wall overlooks the vast ocean, and that's there, in Shanhaiguan. This alone makes it a must-see for Great Wall junkies; those enthusiastic enough can, after Shanhaiguan, make the long trek to Jiayuguan in Gansu province, the "traditional" western end of the Great Wall which terminates in a sea of it's own right: the Gobi Desert.

But we digress. Though I'm no expert in regional economics of China, it doesn't take much to conclude that in today's time, the Great Wall and the tourism it attracts are the only things keeping the city running. The city is dusty, a little untidy, which is totally natural for those who have rough-footed it across China's backwaters, but different for those who have stuck only to the big and glitzy like Beijing and Shanghai.

The pre-packaged stereotypical "modern China" part of the town, with typical, unremarkable department stores and restaurants, lies south of the old walled city - it's a bland place in terms of looks, but the place to get the pracitical goods like TP and such As for inside the old walls: the architecture is rustic and attractive, but unfortunately the bulk of these old-style buildings are out of business shops or struggling businesses that are barely clinging to life. My guess is that all the businesses have escaped to the newer area south of the city, where roads are wider, cars have easier access, and where people actually live.

For those not interested in the struggle between the rustic old and the ambitious new that occurs all over China from Hong Kong to Kashgar, the wonders of this city's Great Wall attractions await. As with any part of the Great Wall, the natural location of the Wall you're at determines its majesty-factor just as much as the actual Wall itself - and Shanhaiguan delivers. The name literally means "Pass of the Mountain and the Sea," and appropriately there is memorable Great Wall scenery at the beach, in the city where the First Pass resides, and in the craggy mountains north of the city.

*This page is still under construction*
To do:
-Hotel (once I get a hold of guidebook)
-Jiaoshan
-Jiaoshan temple
-First Pass
-First Pass tourist traps

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:A great Great Wall city.
  • Cons:Dusty feel of economic decline.
  • In a nutshell:A city that lives up to it's name.
  • Last visit to Shanhaiguan: Jun 2005
  • Intro Updated Aug 6, 2005
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wenzhi_travels

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