Tourist Traps That Are Worth It
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GREAT WALL, CHINA
Tourist trap cred: An endless line of tour buses clogs the winding roads to Badaling, the section of the Great Wall of China closest to Beijing. Chinese tour groups in matching color-coded caps blanket the stone fortification, and touts hawk everything from panda hats to Great Wall key chains (the more tech-savvy among them will take your picture and produce a copy from a portable backpack printer). Getting tired of climbing the endless stone steps? Just hop on the roller coaster! The rainbow-colored ride winds past the Wall straight to a village of souvenir booths, all selling an identical selection of T-shirts.
Why it's worth it: Even when it's a total sea of humanity, you can't deny the majesty of the more than 5,500 miles that make up the Great Wall, whose stony precipices were created before the advent of power tools (or motor vehicles, for that matter). Badaling is the quickest and easiest way to see the Wall on an excursion from Beijing.
Insider tip: After taking in Badaling's tourist circus, head further afield to unrestored sections like Simatai and Jinshanling. On what's known as the Wild Wall, you can hike undisturbed for several miles along the lush mountain vegetation.