|From our December 2011 trip to Mutianyu section of the Great Wall|
Our son is 15 months old (who I shall refer to as The Boy in the rest of the post) and was an awesome trooper on our trip to China last month. My fears, mostly about kiddie jet lag, were unfounded and we had an amazing time visiting friends and even staying in our old neighborhood.
The one touristy thing we did was go to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall about an hour north of Beijing. I have written about Mutianyu before because I really like going there and took all our visitors there... As far as I'm concerned, it's the best all around experience a tourist can have when visiting the Wall. It's not as touristy as Badaling, or as remote as Simitai. Mutianyu is also a good workout for the most exercise conscious people without "doing in" the less fit.
My husband and I came to the conclusion though that it's best not to take small children to the Wall until they are more able to walk on their own. The Wall is perfect for kids ages 5 and up because past toddler hood a child can explore without getting into too much trouble, is more capable and have more endurance than a smaller child. We had forgotten just how many steps there are and how many potential head cracking opportunities were to be discovered since The Boy has no qualms about flinging himself off great heights and running down steps.
Why did I think he would walk along enjoying the views like we would? It shall remain one of my greatest lapses of reason so far. While Beijing's weather wasn't as cold as we remembered, it was still pretty cold the day we went. The Boy required insulated pants and a wind-proof jacket over his long johns and he still got cold at the Wall. Cold toddler equals small grouch with a runny nose.
Thanks to that nice guy from Maryland who stopped to chat with us while he waited for his family to catch up, The Boy would have fallen asleep if you had continued to chat longer and a fed up mom (me) was distracted, but no matter. The Boy and I had an excellent nap once we got home.
So, to go to the Great wall or not with your wee one?
Bring your small one in a child carrier or backpack, it's a much better option than the collapsible stroller, bring lots of snacks, and go in the Autumn or Spring when the weather is more temperate. Then you just might have the perfect Great wall trip with your entire family!