Shanhai Pass – Ticket Price, Opening Hours, Location, and Highlights

shanhai pass

Shanhai Pass (山海关), also known as the First Pass under Heaven, is situated in the northeastern part of Qinhuangdao City, China. The construction of the pass began in 1381 under the orders of Zhu Yuanzhang, the founding emperor of the Ming Dynasty, making it a crucial military stronghold controlling the passage between Northeast and North China. Its strategic location, nestled against the Yanshan Mountains to the north and overlooking the Bohai Sea to the east, earned it the name Shanhai Pass (Shan in Chinese means mountain, while Hai means sea).

The phrase “关内关外 (inside the pass, outside the pass)” used by Chinese commonly referred to the distinction between areas within and beyond Shanhai Pass, highlighting its significance as a dividing line. Shanhai Pass played a pivotal role in the eastern section of the Ming Great Wall, corresponding to the western Jiayu Pass at the other end and earning the title of “the First Pass under Heaven.” The plaque at the pass was inscribed by Xiao Xian, a renowned calligrapher of the Ming Dynasty.

With a circumference of approximately 4 kilometers, Shanhai Pass is intricately connected to the Great Wall, featuring a height of 14 meters and a thickness of 7 meters. The pass is fortified with four main gates and various defensive structures. The preserved Ming-era city walls and original streets contribute to the city’s elegant and ancient charm. The most striking feature is the Zhenyuan Tower, also known as the “First Pass Tower,” located at the eastern gate of the pass. This tower stands tall above the Great Wall, providing a commanding view of Shanhai Pass and the surrounding landscape when ascended. The pass’s historical and architectural significance, coupled with its breathtaking scenery, makes Shanhai Pass a cultural and historical gem.


Table of Contents


Basic Information

Estimated Length of Tour2 hours
Ticket Price80 RMB
Opening Hours8.00 – 18.00
Telephone Number0086-0335-5051106
0086-0335-5136177

Location and Transportation

Shanhai Pass is situated in the northeastern part of China, specifically in the province of Hebei. It is located approximately 25 kilometers northeast of the city of Qinhuangdao, which is a major seaport in the region.

The pass is strategically positioned at the point where the Great Wall of China meets the Bohai Sea, making it a crucial defensive point in ancient times. This location allowed for effective control of both land and sea routes, guarding against potential invasions from the north and east.

The most convenient way to get to the Shanhai Pass is by train. After getting out of the Shanhaiguan Train Station (山海关火车站), you will see the pass right in front of you.


Highlights of Shanghai Pass

Great Wall Connection

great wall connection of shanghai pass

As the eastern end of the Great Wall of China, Shanhai Pass symbolizes the culmination of centuries of defensive construction. The well-preserved walls, watchtowers, and fortifications provide an awe-inspiring glimpse into the architectural brilliance of ancient China’s defense systems. Visitors can explore the ancient ramparts, walk along the Wall’s edge, and appreciate breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape, making it a memorable and essential experience for those seeking to witness the grandeur and strategic significance of the Great Wall at its easternmost point.


First Pass Under Heaven

first pass under heaven shanhai pass

Shanhai Pass holds the esteemed title of “First Pass Under Heaven,” a symbolic term from ancient China denoting its paramount strategic importance. As the eastern terminus of the Great Wall, it marked the boundary between the civilized Chinese heartland and the outside world. This significant pass served as the initial line of defense against potential invaders from the north and protected the realm from foreign threats. The recognition of Shanhai Pass as the “First Pass Under Heaven” acknowledges its historical prominence as a mighty fortress and a testament to China’s ingenuity in fortification, embodying the nation’s determination to safeguard its borders and civilization.


Coastal Beauty

coastal beauty of shanhai pass

Nestled at the confluence of the Great Wall and the Bohai Sea, the pass offers a breathtaking panorama where ancient architectural splendor meets the vastness of the sea. The juxtaposition of the rugged, well-preserved walls against the serene coastal waters creates a picturesque scene, perfect for mesmerizing sunsets and soothing sea breezes. Visitors can marvel at the harmonious blend of nature and human engineering, immersing themselves in the serene ambiance while exploring the historical significance of this coastal gem.


Vlog about Shanhai Pass


Useful Tips Summarized from Reviews

Food at the Scenic Area: The snacks sold on the snack street inside the scenic area are expensive and not tasty. It is recommended to explore the snack options along the road to the Bell Tower after visiting the Shanhai Pass.

City Wall Entrance Fee: Some visitors feel the ticket may not be worth it. The view outside the wall is not particularly scenic, and the ancient city inside has a commercial atmosphere. Consider just taking photos from the outside.

Parking Area Warnings: Be cautious of individuals in the parking area claiming they can offer cheaper entry. It is advised not to trust or listen to such claims.

Transportation Inside Shanhai Pass: Within the Shanhai Pass, there are small electric tricycles available for a fee. However, it is considered not cost-effective (50 RMB for 30 minutes), and their usage is limited to within the Shanhai Pass area.


Facts about Shanhai Pass


Attractions near Shanhai Pass

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