Guide for the tall three in Shanghai: Oriental Pearl Tower, Jin Mao Tower, and Shanghai World Financial Center

4/29/2014 Sum Tips Shanghai 5259

Keeping up with my last post, this blog is about tips on the scenic spots in Shanghai. The tall three seem the handiest to begin with. To reiterate, the tips are given by a tour guide born and raised in Shanghai. Let's see what she has to say. 

Oriental Pearl Tower
Personally, I think the Oriental pearl tower is of the best value in sightseeing among the tall three. Although it is not the tallest (the tallest is Shanghai world financial center), it is reckoned the symbol of Shanghai. It also has the best viewing angel as the tower is located at the edge of Lujiazui. 
Transportation: Metro line 2, sightseeing tour bus
Type A: 220 Yuan, including the exhibition hall and all of the three observation decks: the "space capsule", the upper sphere, and the lower sphere. 
Type B: 160 Yuan, including the exhibition hall and two of observation decks: the upper sphere and the lower sphere.
Type C: 120 Yuan, including the exhibition hall and the upper sphere.

The Upper Sphere observation deck
Maybe the ticket types will confuse you a little bit. My advice is to choose type B. Let’s make clear the structure of the tower first. There are three spherical observation decks on the tower: the lower biggest one (lower sphere), the middle medium one (upper sphere), and the higher smallest one (the "space capsule"). I don't recommend you guys going to the "space capsule". Firstly, the view from there is not much different from the view from the upper sphere. Secondly, the “space capsule” is always crowded with both domestic and foreign tourists. In high season, there will even be several big tourist groups with their tour guides chanting in a megaphone. 

The sightseeing route is always from top to bottom. That is to say, if you bought a type B ticket, you would take a lift to the upper sphere first, then going back down to the lower sphere. 
There are sightseeing lifts and normal lifts. If visitors are too many at that time, you may not be able to ride the sightseeing lift. Don't let it bother you. You will ride it anyway when you go back down because only sightseeing lifts can go down. 
After the lift, before you enter the upper sphere, there is a short staircase. While you are on the staircase, look up and you will see a row of photos recording the changes of Pudong area since 1993 when the Oriental pearl tower was built. The photos are interesting but many people missed them. Pudong was once poor and under-developed. Shanghainese used to have a saying, "(I) would rather have one berth in Puxi, then to have a whole house in Pudong". 

FYI: There is security check at the Pearl tower. You ca't bring water or other liquid inside. You can bring empty bottle though. There are water dispensers after the security check. 

After arriving at the upper sphere, you can glut your eyes with the panorama and get some great shots with your camera. The view can reach the Bund, Huangpu River, the other Tall Two (Shanghai world financial center and Jin Mao tower). If the weather is good, you can even see the China pavilion left from EXPO 2010. 
There is a staircase near the men's room in the upper sphere from which you can head down to the suspended corridor in altitude 259 meters. I highly recommend you having a walk there. The corridor is all glass and the experience is breathtaking. After getting down from the corridor, you will find a post office where you can send out postcards. 

The Suspended Corridor
Then you will descend by lift to the lower sphere at altitude 90 meters. There is a mini amusement park. With the type B ticket, you can get a free ride on the roller coaster. Don’t miss that. 
The last stop of your Pearl Tower tour is the Altitude Zero Hall where exhibits the history of Shanghai. As a local Shanghainese, this is my favorite place. It took me an hour in the hall at my first time's visit. So I recommend you guys also spending some time there. 
This is the tour of the Oriental Pearl Tower. I hope you will make your ticket worthwhile. 

Jin Mao Tower
The other tall two are in fact not as interesting as the Pearl Tower. I am only going to talk about the 88th sightseeing floor in Jin Mao. The sightseeing floor is located at altitude 340 meters. The lift ascends 9 meters per second. In 45 seconds you will arrive at the 88th floor. 

At the 88th floor, you can stroll around. Do the same sightseeing and photo taking. There is also a post office. It is the highest post office in China which makes it the best place to send out postcards.

Ticket: 120 Yuan. 

Shanghai World Financial Center
The financial center is… How can I put it? It is quite… bland. Except for the title as the world’s highest observation deck, the building is not much to see inside. The shape of the building stirs some discussion though. I think it is like a bottle opener. 
To 100th floor for 150 Yuan
To 94th floor for 120 Yuan

If you decided to go to the financial center, don't hesitate; just head to the tallest 100th floor. Your ticket will show you that you are among how many people who have visited the top floor. 
To be honest, I don’t think it is worthwhile to spend the money to go to the Financial Center. For alternative, I recommend the sightseeing hall at Shanghai Park Hyatt Hotel. The view there is also great and you get to enjoy some coffee. 
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