Travel Guide

The First Pass: Shanhaiguai Pass


Shanhaiguan is a town in the north of the Bohai Gulf, originally built as a fortress in the Ming Dynasty(1368-1644 AD), to defend the eastern end of the Great Wall, which still runs through the eastern city walls, before winding south to the sea. Shanhai Pass, 15 kilometers from the tourist city of Qinhuangdao, got its name from being situated between the Yanshan Mountains and the Bohai Sea. The Eastern Gate (Zhengyuan lou), a double storey and double roofed tower built in the Ming Dynasty, attracts most visitors.

The Great Wall Museum (RMB15; Opening hours: 6:30-18:30 for summer, 8:00-17:00 for winter) is next to the Gate, exhibiting some interesting pictures, relics and clothes, depicting the history of this snaking construction. From the top of the wall, you can see the decaying wall as it zigzags on the mountain ridges northwards, and as it winds south to the sea.

The town, small enough to walk around, is peaceful and pretty. And the surrounding countryside contains some fine solid fortresses and remnants of the wall. The best thing to do here is to rent a bike and spend a few days exploring.

Transportation: Minibuses from Qinhuangdao and Beidaihe to Shanhaiguan, at usual price for RMB2; trains are also available for Beijing, Tianjin, Qinhuangdao and Beidaihe. Buses No. 34 or No. 25 also arrive there.
Opening Hours: 08:00-18:00
Cost: RMB30 (May-Oct.); RMB20 for the other months