This morning, make tracks for the first section of the Great Wall – Huanghuacheng (approximately 2 hours' drive). An incredible piece of engineering, the wall stretches 6000 km (3730 miles) westwards from the mountain ridges north of Beijing. Originally constructed to protect empires from invaders from the north, it is still without a doubt one of the country's most remarkable achievements.
Take your first steps along the renowned structure today at Huanghuacheng. This section features a unique part of the Great Wall submerged under water when a dam was built. Spend a couple of hours here hiking along the wall and have lunch in the nearby village before continuing to Gubeikou village tonight. You will stay at a family-run guesthouse for the next two nights. Tonight, learn the art of dumpling making with a demonstration from your hospitable hosts – the best part is tasting the fruits of your own labour! (L/D)