Gubei Water Town is in Miyun County near Beijing and surrounds the Mandarin Duck Lake Reservoir. It is with sight of the Simatai Great Wall, the most dangerous and majestic section of the entire Great Wall.

The town is characterized by the northern architectural style of the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and the Republic of China (1912-1949). Most buildings are reconstructed in the traditional courtyard style. Based on five ancient villages and a water resource, this water town has developed into a large-scale sightseeing and holiday destination.

The town is geared towards domestic tourists with many of the attractions only accepting electronic payment from vendors like WeChat and Alipay. According to a survey, in 2018 92% of people in China’s largest cities use Wechat Pay or Alipay as their main means of payment. The phenomenon is the same in rural areas: 47% of the rural population is reported to regularly use mobile payments in China.

Only a few stores and restaurants took cash and none would take our credit cards that I was aware of. This was the only downside to our visit. I did however have a nice juicy steak at a fancy continental restaurant with live entertainment. It's hard to complain when the place is spotless and well maintained with zero crime. To enter the town you needed to show identification and pay an entrance fee.

For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.

Robert Louis Stevenson

The Simatai Great Wall stretches 5.4 km from Wangjinglou (‘Viewing Capital Tower’) in the east to the Jinshanling Great Wall section in the west. It is one of the few sections to retain its original appearance and the only one opened for a night tour.

The whole night walking tour can be done in 1½ – 2hours starting with a 10 minute walk to reach the cable car station. The cable car takes about 5 minutes, with a final 15-minute walk up to the Great Wall (the 5th watchtower).

Gubei Water Town