Before the opening of the new underground line, people who go to the Great Wall would normally to De Sheng Men (德勝門) to take the bus. It is route 919 of the public transport. The fare is CNY 25 per head; the frequency will be about 10 to 15 minutes per launch. Of course you can see the route number 919 clearly at the top of the front screen, as of other routes are the same. Actually that place is the bus terminus for a lot of bus routes as can be seen in the above photos.
But if you want to get near of the above area, either get down form other bus or taxi and by foot drawing near, at once there are several sale persons approaching you, and ask you whether you want to go to the Great Wall. When you say yes, they would ask you to stand still and do not let you to walk near to the terminus. For those salesmen are pushing you to take their fake bus route and do not let you to approach the genuine bus route. The fare of the fake bus route is CNY 40 per head, much more expensive, but they have a tourist guide on board. The false bus route does not has a definite time of departure, it will take off only when the bus is fully occupied. Due the the reason of restricted area for the parking of the bus, passengers have to stand still and wait for the bus. Thus bus is parked in nearby place, and will come at once when the total number of people is enough to fill it completely.
Actually, the fake bus route is a coach service run by private company, but at the front of the bus screen, they put on the number 919 also, in an extra-ordinary large size, where you can surely see it far away. And you would also wonder why bus routes would have such a large number plate. The private coach service would only have several launches in the morning out and several back in the evening. That means the frequency is quite rare and you have to mind the time of their coming back, not so many choice as that of the genuine bus route 919 which runs more steadily.
The fake bus route does no harm to passengers but just misleading people that they are taking the public transport of route 919. In every scenic spot, there are similar sales people to ask people to join their service, only if you think suitable, you can join any you like. But no one would like to be misled. So you better have some research before going out first.
At last, I neither took the genuine nor the fake bus route. I took the taxi which is CNY 300 for the whole day; it can call on several gates of the Great Wall, and even the Ming Thirteen Tombs. So it’s seemed more beneficial when you have several people going together. For the bus fares are of single route and the return fare will be double. It you have three to four people taking the false bus route, why don’t you hire a taxi for the whole day long.
Is it really so beneficial ? Not for you, but for the driver ! The driver took me to a restaurant specially for tourist and cost over CNY 700 for a general lunch. The driver was also clever that he did not eat with us, he went to another area of that restaurant specially prepared for drivers and of cost his meal was free of charge and served by the restaurant, and he surely had earned a lot of commission from that lunch.
Thus I would like to share such an experience with those who wish to go to the Great Wall shortly.
At length, there is a famous Cantonese song concerning the Great Wall, please enjoy !
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