In the August cover feature of the Beijinger, we went back to the Great Wall and explored it anew: alongside, underneath, overhead… Here are some of the activities we thought you’d enjoy most:
This is the closest you’ll get to see the Wall from space. Helicopters taking off from Badaling Airport will give you breathtaking bird’s-eye views. Flying over the peaks and valleys of the Badaling Scenic Area, see the main section of the Wall snaking its way through the hills. Then, if you’re lucky, a pass over Guanting Reservoir may reveal flocks of migrating birds, 150 different species of which make home every year in this, the largest wetland of Northern China. The last piece of scenery this flight offers is the majestic plains of the Kangxi Grasslands. Try to spot herds of sheep cattle and the odd fox or two before your ride tilts and swooshes around to takes you back for a safe landing.
Run by Beijing Capital Helicopter, a member of Hainan Airlines Group, these tours are one of a kind. The company is the only one in Beijing fully-certified for aerial tourism and their tour helicopters, the AS350B3 Squirrel and EC135 Eurocopter, are stable and plush. Be sure to arrive 40 minutes in advance, fasten your seatbelt, stay away from spinning rotors and prepare for some brisk winds – ladies, watch your skirts. Prices range from RMB 1500 to 3000 for flight times varying between 10 and 30 minutes. Call or email for more details.
Hainan Air Beijing Capital Helicopter: 591 56745, 133 5201 5985, firstname.lastname@example.org
This post first appeared in the beijinger on September 16.
A version of this article appeared in the August 2013 edition of the Beijinger
Photo courtesy of Hainan Air Beijing Capital Helicopter