Sunday, March 23, 2014

Mutainyu Great Wall and panjiayuan antique market

The marriott concierge hired out one of their drivers to take us to mutainyu portion of the Great Wall plus a stop at the Olympic stop and then drop off at the antique market. They charged us 850 yuan which I didn't think was to bad. Was I surprised when they pulled up in one of the hotel 'limosaines' a black sedan but it had nice leather seats and wait for it . . . Seatbelts!!  Mutainyu is a little further out but also less crowded. It takes about 2 hours to get there but I loved driving through the countryside and little villages.

Walking up to the Great Wall portion you pass a ton of vendors who I usually offer 1/4 -1/3 what they ask and just walk away. We paid 180 yuan to ride the chairlift up and the sled ride down. Very memorable!  Brahm was free ( he is the size of a 5 year old and they think he is 3 for some reason. 

Be warned the lift operators are a bit um forceful helping you!

Once at the top we walked the wall - ALOT. We turned right and it was incredibly steep with ups and downs. I think turning left it was much more flat. 

I was about done - Brahm did great but I realized how unfit I still am!  Some of the steps are as high as my knee!

Then came the FUN!  The sled ride. We love speed - you have control of how fast or slow you want to go on the ride!  

Brahm rode on my lap!  

Panjiayuan antique market is like a flea market within a walled city block. They are open until 6 pm on Saturday at least. All the vendors were lined up with little towels on the ground and their wears. A lot of the people looked like they had dug some of their stuff out if the ground. Some stuff was cleaned and others came with the dirt. I was in LOVE. There is everything from broken pottery to metal pieces to fossils. 

I really wish I had prepared and read up on the market before going as well as being more educated about Chinese antiques. So I spent what I could afford to lose and what I loved and would want to give our kids one day. My favorite and what I had wish I had bought more of were the baby shoes which obviously were used for bound feet. Like I said I have no idea if they are real but I recognized the embroidery from tao's province and so they were good enough. Most of the things I loved were 10's if thousands of dollars. One was a bell collection I had seen at a museum in shandong. 

We took the subway home which was a little more difficult than I remembered but luckily we had some English speaking angels who helped us get back to our hotel. But for 2 yuan it was worth a little struggle. 

I did want to mention just outside the panjiayuan station there are a ton of vendors. Definately cheaper than inside the gates but also way more aggressive. I bought this gorgeous piece for 300 yuan. Then she hurried and grabbed my money in a panic. I realized her friends were coming and had cheaper.  They surrounded us and wouldn't take no for an answer. Wanting to sell theirs for as little as 100 yuan.  I finally grabbed Brahms hand yelled boo- ya and marched down the street. In retrospect my piece was nicer and she must have needed a blessing as when I got home I found and extra 100 yuan!  Love when that happens

As a side note what's the deal with the walnut looking shells and wood beads they use like rosaries?  

All in all if you are like us and like unique then this is a must see experience - but educate yourself ahead of time!


  1. Does your agency not send a guide to meet you?

    1. Oh... And the rosary beads are just that. Rasary beads for Buddhists. It is called a mala.