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30 August 2020

Shanghai - China - Oriental Pearl Tower

Ni hao! 你好!

Good morning from Shanghai

Shanghai was the second city I visited during my first trip to China in 2013. I remember how enormously it impressed me.

At that time, I did not know that I would come back to Shanghai for a bit longer. For two years.

So expect a bit more articles about Shanghai because I want to introduce you to the city in all details and in many ways.

Probably everyone knows Shanghai. We know that it is located on the east coast of China, at the mouth of the Yangtze River, and that it is one of the four separate cities in China. If I were to describe Shanghai as briefly as possible, I would say that it is the "6 BEST" city. Shanghai is the largest city, the largest port, has the fastest magnetic train, is the most populous city in China, has the most skyscrapers and is the richest city in mainland China.

The fact is that Shanghai is over 1000 years old and, due to its geographic location, was an ordinary fishing village. The first mentions of Shanghai as a city appeared in 1553 and this year is considered to be the city's founding.

Shanghai lies at the mouth of the Yangtze River into the South China Sea, which is part of the Pacific Ocean. However, the city itself is split in two by the Yellow River - Huang Pu. They are: the part called Pu Xi, which is the western part and Pu Dong, which is the eastern part. Pu Xi is the original indigenous Shanghai. Pu Dong, on the other hand, is a new district of the city. The business heart of Shanghai.

And it is by the Yellow River that we find the tallest buildings in Shanghai, and among them also the famous Oriental Pearl Tower.

It is the Pearl Tower that is the topic of this article.

Oriental Pearl Tower - this is the official name of this tower, located on the eastern bank of the Yellow River and itself is a destination for many tourists.

The soaring, slender tower, somewhat reminiscent of a space rocket, is visible from many places in the city. The best way to get there is by the green metro line - Line 2 - from the Lujiazui station.

By choosing exit 2, you will come to the surface, at the level of the walking terrace, which has the form of a "roundabout" suspended above the road and the crossing. It is a great place to look at 3 skyscrapers, Bank buildings and Pearl Tower.

Before you go to the tower, I encourage you to take a walk along this "round promenade" because the views are fantastic. Not only the whole tower can be photographed very nicely, but behind your back you will have the famous "3 sisters" - the tallest business buildings in Shanghai, including the tallest skyscraper in East Asia. Speaking the local language - Syringe, Opener and Corkscrew. I will not elaborate on this thread today because I will leave it for a separate article. As part of the "homework" I encourage you to search the Internet why these three common names are used.

While strolling along the promenade, you can see: the flagship Disney store where you can buy toys and souvenirs from the Shanghai Disneyland, the flagship Apple hardware store and the multi-colored CBD skyscrapers - the banking center.

You also have a few fast foods on the terrace level. There is McDonald`s, Taco Bell and KFC. So you can eat something quickly and, as usual, inexpensively.

To get to the tower, go down from the terrace (or take the escalator) to the ground floor and then cross the streets to the east. On the way, you will meet some interesting local eateries. I recommend one of them, serving fantastic broth dumplings. It is not difficult to see it, on the right side of the pedestrian crossing. I sincerely recommend it because it's cheap and very tasty. In order to reach one of the cash registers, go left.

The ticket offices are located before entering the closed, guarded area of ​​the tower. So you have to buy a ticket and then you can enter the Pearl Tower area.

NOTE - lighters are not allowed. The scanners that your bags and backpacks will pass through will detect them immediately and the guards will confiscate them. The good news is that when you leave the tower area, you can grab a random lighter from the container at the gates.

Tickets are bought depending on which floor you want to enter.

When you see the Pearl Tower for the first time, you will surely notice that it is made up of giant "legs", vertical pillars and three main floors that are located in the "spheres" that give the tower its characteristic shape.

The first level is the level of the entertainment center, observation deck and revolving restaurant where you can enjoy a buffet meal. This is the greatest "sphere". The first one looking from ground level.

The next level is the first lift stop - a ball at a height of 280 m, where there is an open observation deck with a glass floor, a panoramic level, with numerous telescopes and a description of buildings and directions that you can see through the glass of this level.

Here is a note for the faint of heart or fear of heights. Not everyone dare to enter this terrace.

You are standing on a glass path where you can see the land, streets and…. some legs tremble, some scream and either cannot enter or, dragged by friends, cannot leave this terrace.

The view is really fantastic.



Time for a cosmic experience

Two floors above this terrace, there is a panoramic level which can be reached by stairs. You can watch the entire city from it. There are inscriptions on the panes informing in which direction we are looking, what buildings we can see, what is the distance to particular points on the horizon.

As everywhere in China, there are souvenir shops, a modest museum, and paid (RMB 1) spotting scopes from which you can look a little further into the city. And it doesn't end with the horizon. Incredible.

And finally we have the third ticketed level. This is the 35 m level, which is called the Space Capsule. It is the highest point of the tower accessible to tourists, from where you can observe the city and where video materials are presented. This level is actually built like a space capsule. It has the real feeling of being in an orbital station or something like that. I strongly encourage you to buy a ticket that covers all three floors because there is something interesting to see on each of them.

The ticket price (in 2019) is 250 RMB with entry to the level of 351 m. Entrance to the restaurant is paid separately - a buffet lunch for 1 person will cost around 275 RMB.

Unfortunately, all passenger traffic is directed by elevators directly to the second "sphere". So you have to be patient. The queue to the elevator can be hundreds of meters and the waiting time for entering the elevator can be up to 2 hours.

For this reason, I strongly encourage you to visit on weekdays. In my experience, Tuesdays and Thursdays are the least problematic.

Also, remember to have a bottle of water with you. In the summer season, temperatures in Shanghai reach 40 ° C, it is very humid and the queue can be very long.

Once you get to the elevator you will be taken to the second sphere 280 m high and you can start walking and admiring the views on the closed panoramic terrace. After some time you can go downstairs to the open terrace with a glass floor. Good luck and I keep my fingers crossed. Extreme impressions guaranteed.

At this level, it is usually enough to stay about 45 minutes up to a maximum of an hour.

After which you have to stand in the line for the next elevator again. This time the one that will take you on 351. m to the Space Capsule.

In the Space Capsule, the time it takes to walk around it, to look through some of the attractive scopes and windows, will not take you longer than 25 minutes.

You can take a photo in a space suit, you can watch short video presentations about space events and some interesting facts related to space exploration. After a moment of rest, we have to go to the elevator line again, which will take you to the level of 280 m, which is where you have already been.

You can see the panorama of the city again, go out to the glass observation deck again and ... take the line that leads to the elevator that will take you to the level of a revolving restaurant and a small entertainment and video game center.

From this level we are already descending the stairs to the "zero" level, but before you do, I encourage you to step outside the "sphere". There is another walking terrace from which you can admire the immediate surroundings from about the fifth floor. Maybe a little higher.

Going down to the "zero" level, the last attraction remains. It is the Shanghai City Museum and I strongly encourage you to visit this place. There are beautiful miniatures of buildings and streets, models and art installations recreating the life of the inhabitants of Shanghai over the centuries. You can see the tools they used, the appearance of the courtroom, see a miniature of Nankińska Street, and read and listen to the history of Shanghai.

You need about 45 minutes for this attraction.

At the museum, we finish our tour of the tower and make our way outside, passing through a maze of souvenir shops.


After spending about 3 to 4 hours on the tower, I encourage you to eat dumplings in the nearby bar, or go to one of the many restaurants with typical Chinese cuisine, where for little money in the range of 50-70 RMB you can have a fantastic lunch or dinner .

And again, we return to the metro station of the green line No. 2, where depending on your location you will go to rest after a wonderful day full of attractions.

It is also important that due to the long queues to the elevators and the cost of staying on the tower which are not the lowest, to follow my advice. Choose weekdays, start at lunchtime - most Chinese will be busy eating then - go to the tower around 4 hours before sunset. Then you have the opportunity to see Shanghai during the day and after dark. The time spent in the tower is unlimited. There are also stalls serving quick snacks, popcorn and drinks, so it's generally impossible to starve to death. However, if you stay a bit longer on the tower, until dusk, you will also be able to see the beautiful night panorama of the city illuminated by neon lights. You will also see the evening panorama of the Yellow River, with colorfully lit ships sailing along the waterfront.

The trip to the Pearl Tower will take a full day. Cost per person, excluding tower meal, is approximately RMB 250. With meals, the cost can go up to 600 yuan (RMB) per person, or around $ 80.

A visit to the TV tower which is 468 m high, where the last available level is 351 m high, leaves an unforgettable impression, especially after visiting the open observation deck with a glass floor;).

For the record, let me add that the tower was built for four years - from 1990 to 1994.

At night, the tower is beautifully illuminated. The illumination is multicolored, the tower changes its colors and is a bustling place, frequently visited by international tourists but also by huge crowds of Chinese.

After such an exhausting day, it's time to sit down and eat some dumplings.

Xie Xie!  谢谢.

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