Last summer, I visited China as part of a larger Asia trip. Needless to say, I couldn’t leave without visiting the Great Wall of China. I decided to visit the Mutianyu section of the wall.
You have a couple of options in terms of how you want to get to the wall. You can walk up to the wall (30-40 minutes, according to some estimates) or take a cable lift up. At the end of the trip, you can walk back down, take the cable ride, or ride down via the toboggan slide.
Travel tip: If you are visiting during the hot, humid months, always opt for the cable lift. You will thank me for it. Trust me, you’ll have time to walk once you get to the Wall.
Should I Take the Cable Ride or Toboggan Slide Down?
The toboggan slide looked interesting, though I had wondered if it was safe and easy to operate. Since I booked a private tour and it included the cable ride (both ways), I didn’t spend too much time thinking about it. Our ride was already paid for.
On the day of our visit, my family and I got a nice and easygoing tour guide. As we walked towards the cable ride ticket purchasing window, I nonchalantly asked whether she tried the toboggan slide. She apparently loved the toboggan and offered to get us either toboggan tickets, cable tickets, or a mix for our group if we are interested.
She didn’t have to say it twice. We jumped on the offer.
Is the Ride Safe and Easy to Operate?
I’ll break it down this way:
Is it safe?
Since you have control over the speed, I would say it’s a safe ride. The only thing I’d caution is make sure you leave enough space between you and the rider in front of you. It’s no different than driving.
You don’t want to hit the rider in front of you, and you don’t want the rider behind you to hit you. Period.
Is it easy to operate?
Yes. You sit on the ride and there is a control stick in front of you. To slow down (brake), you pull the stick towards you. To move forward, you push the stick forward. That’s it. You do need to slow down when turning corners, though there are plenty of signs along the way to remind you. Staff members are stationed at various parts of the ride.
Who Shouldn’t Go On the Toboggan Ride?
The toboggan slide is a fun ride for those who are a little more adventurous, but I realized it’s also not for everyone.
Generally, I would not recommend the ride for those who lack sufficient upper arm strength to push the control stick forward for a good duration of the ride, people who are uncomfortable with riding down a slide, people who don’t want to deal with control and speed (and might potentially back up riders behind him/her).
I was fortunate enough to try both rides. I got to enjoy the scenic view on the way up and got a little adventure and a nice, warm breeze on the way down.
Given the chance, I’d probably do the exact same thing again.
To learn more about travel tours, you can find the “Everything You Need to Know about Travel Tours” series here.
Are you planning to visit soon? Which option have you been thinking of? If you have ridden in either the cable car or the toboggan, which did you prefer?