The Ming tombs are really split up into three different areas- the spirit way being the first, which is the entrance to the tombs. Then about ten more minutes down the road is the empty tomb you can see the inside of and five minutes past that is the tomb you can see the outside of.
The spirit way reminded me so much of a child’s playground. The kids had such fun climbing on all the statues.
Most people go to the Ming tombs because it is on the way to the Badaling portion of the wall. From what I have read of Badaling it is not worth going to. At the Badaling part of the wall you are also able to see the Ming tombs, you'll see the architecture elsewhere and the one that they let you tour through is empty except for some stone thrones surrounded by plexi-glass. The interesting part about the tomb was along the same lines of the tradition of throwing coins into wells for granting wishes. The problem is that they have bills that go all the way down to one twelfth of a cent instead of coins. So for anything old instead of throwing coins they would throw bills at them for luck. It surrounded the stone thrones with little wadded up colorful bills making the otherwise gray tombs more interesting.