China has many hidden secrets and Gubei Water Town is one of them. Situated just outside of central Beijing’s hustle and bustle, this ancient village encompasses the core of traditional Chinese culture and architecture. The water town itself is said to be a replica of the Wuzhen Water Town near Shanghai and covers an area of 9 square kilometers. Nearby you will also find the Simatai section of the Great Wall which has ten watchtowers and is open to the public at all hours.
WHAT TO DO?
Explore the Water Town
With a history of over a thousand years, this town possesses an old-fashioned simplicity that will calm your soul. Filled with mountains, water and ancient Chinese culture, you can easily spend a day walking through rows of houses, old streets and long hutongs.
Simatai Great Wall
The Simatai section is said to be one of the most scenic parts of the Great Wall and runs for about 5.4 kilometers between Beijing and Hebei Province. It is also known as the most dangerous part that is still accessible to the public. The higher you hike, the more rugged the wall becomes with fewer barriers to prevent you from falling off. This is also the only part of the Great Wall that is officially open at night which means camping on the wall happens often.
Tip: Stay in the middle of the path and watch where you are standing when taking pictures.
Experience Local Culture
There are a number of shops offering local activities to help pass the time. Learn the art of lantern making and cloth-dying or have a photo shoot done in traditional Chinese costumes.
WHERE TO EAT?
A snack street and shopping area is located near the center of the town. Here you can try some local treats like dumpling soup and lamb chua’r (kind of like a lamb barbecue).
HOW TO GET THERE?
Gubei Water Town, Simatai, Gubeikou Town, Miyun County
By car: From central Beijing, it should take around 2.5 hours to travel to Gubei Water Town.
By bus: Take bus number 980 from Dongzhimen Station to Miyun West Bridge Station and then take bus number 51 to Simatai Village. Traveling back downtown is a lot easier since they recently added a direct bus route from Gubei to Dongzhimen Station.