My partner's mom visited us for a whole month in China. Since Beijing has so much to offer, and she wasn't really into being dragged for hours on end site after site, we took our sweet slow time to show her around little by little, bit by bit.
Obviously, no visit to China could be complete without a visit to the Great Wall, right? But it's not such a simple choice. After all, the wall itself is some 20,000 km long and made up of countless sections and branches! But we figured our best bet was to take her to the most restored part of the wall - Badaling. Yes, it's the most touristy, but it's also the most walkable and, thanks to its degree of preservation/restoration, it also gives you a pretty neat idea of how it looked like when it - this section - was built 500 years ago.
It's strange how I have visited this section of the wall a number of times, yet it's always intriguing to look at and see it serpent its way through the mountains in the distance. There couldn't be anything more typical to visit, but it would be such a sad mistake to miss it!
It's customary to also visit the Ming Tombs - a cluster of 13 mausoleums built during the Ming dynasty - after you go to Badaling. They're not too far from there, and it's a nice combination of Chinese culture. Unless the crowds at Badaling have really tired you and the heat is unbearable, in which case you might end up mostly dragging your feet through the Spirit Way - a road that leads to the mausoleums and that is flanked with statues of guardian animals and officials - to then have a just a quick peek at some of the mausoleums and their steles. Honestly, the tombs are really worth a visit, they're even a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But I'd definitely advise not combining them with anything else, or you'll end up like we did, begging to get back home!
Fortunately, my partner's mom was pretty happy with her visit. Even if she preferred to stay in the car while my partner and me visited the tombs! Oh well...