Shanhaiguan, the pass between the mountains and
the sea, is a to
wn at the northern tip of the Bohai
Gulf, originally built as a fortress in the Ming dynasty,
to defend the eastern end of the Great Wall. The
town was originally built to protect the most easterly
section of the Great Wall (Changcheng), that still
runs through the eastern city walls, before winding
south to the sea. The Eastern Gate (Zhengyuan lou),
a double storey, double roofed tower built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD) attracts most visitors.
The interesting Great Wall Museum (Changchang bowuguan, RMB15; open hour 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 life 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 towards the sea.
The town, small enough to walk around, is peaceful and pretty. And the surrounding countryside contains some fine sturdy fortifications and remnants of the wall. The best thing to do here is to rent a bike and spend a few days exploring.
Transportation: Minibuses go from Qinhuangdao and Beidaihe to Shanhaiguan, at usual prices for RMB2; trains are also available for Beijing, Tianjin, Qinhuangdao and Beidaihe.Buses No. 34 or No. 25 also arrive there at Shanhaiguan Stop.
Opening Hours: Daily, 08:00-18:00
Cost: RMB30 (May-Oct.); RMB20 for the other months.