Located in Qinhuangdao by the Sea, Shanhaiguan is an important pass in the eastern Great Wall. It was reconstructed by the Ming Dynasty. Work continued until the end of the dynasty. The wall connects itself from the Yanshan Mountain with the sea. It provides the only and best scenery of beautiful sea and beautiful mountain in one setting. Shanhaiguan was proclaimed a key historic monument by the State Council in 1961.
The First Pass Under Heaven (Admission fee: RMB40/p.p)
The First Pass Under Heaven is aslo known as East Gate. Shredded by the wind, tattered flags flap along a restored section of wall, itself studded with watchtowers, dummy soliders and tourist paraphernalia. Long views of factories stretch off to the wast as decayed sections of the battlements trails off into the hills. The wall here is 12m high and the principal watchtower - two storeys with double eaves and 68 narrow-slit windows - is a towering 13.7m high. The calligraphy at the top reads 'First Pass Under Heaven'. Several other watchtowers can also be seen and there's a wengcheng extending out east from the wall. Along the west edge of the wall south of the entrance is a pleasant grass park where you can stretch your legs.
Great Wall Museum
Down the street, Great Wall Museum is housed in a pleasant, one-storey traditional Chinese duilding with upturned eaves. His is an interesting way to explore the history of the wall, thanks to its collection of photographs and memorabilia. There are no captions in English. Admission is included in First Pass Under Heaven tickets.
Jiao Shan (Admission fee: RMB15/p.p)
Shanhaiguan's most exciting activity is a hike uo the Great Wall's first high peak, Jiao Shan. From there you will have a telling vantage point over the narrow tongue of land below and one-time incasion route for northern armies. For something more adventures, you can follow the wall's unrestored section indefinitely past the watchtowers or hike over to the secluded Qixian Monastery.
Old Dragon Head
Lod Dragon Head is the mythic origin/conclusion of the Great Wall at the sea's edge, 4km south of Shanhaiguan. What you see now was reconstructed in the late 1980s - the original wall crumbled away long ago. The name derives from the legendary carved dragon head that once faced the waves. As attractions go, it's essentially a lot more hype tahn history.
Menjiangnu Temple (Admission fee: RMB30/p.p)
Menjingnu Temple is Song-Ming reconstruction 6km east of Shanghaiguan. It has coloured sculptures of Lady Meng and her maids and calligraphy of a famous Chinese story, 'Looking for Husband Rock'. In the tale, Meng Jiang's husband awa press-ganged into wall building because his views conflicted with those of Emperor Qin Shi Huang. When winter became Meng set off to take her husband Wan warm clothing, only to discover that he had died from the hard labour. Meng wandered the Great Wall, thinking only of finding Wan's bones to give him a decent burial. The wall, a sensitive soul, was so upset that it collapsed, revealing the skeleton entombed within. Overcome with grief, Meng hurled herself into sea from a boulder.
How to get: Getting to Shanhaiguan pass is best done via Qinghuangdao, the largest city in the area. There are four express trains from Beijing to Qinghuangdao. From Qinghuangdao, you can catch bus 33 to Shanghaiguan.
Best time to visit: From April to Octomber
For more details, please click China Classic Tour.