Choosing an Observation Deck in Shanghai

Before visiting Shanghai, I definitely knew, I wanted to go up one of the Shanghai towers, but it was a tough call to choose, which one. All of them have their charm and reasons, why you would want to go up. So here is the breakdown of the major options, so that you can choose the best for your taste.


Which Observation Deck should you choose?

Shanghai Tower

Price: 180 yuan.

Obviously, China’s tallest and the world’s third tallest building was on my list. The observation deck is located on 118th floor. It is quite convenient to visit, with less queues and crowds than oriental pearl tower. Being the tallest building around, it also gives a bird’s eye view over the whole city. I saw a number of photos with the views from there and they definitely are fascinating. But having neither an open observation deck nor the glass floor made this not so appealing to us.

Jin Mao Tower

Price: 120 yuan for observation deck, 388 – for observation deck + skywalk.

Jin Mao tower interested me a lot. This was the tallest building till 2008, when Shanghai Financial tower was completed. But the reason for my interest was that they have a cool Sky walk. This means, that they allow you to go out on the 88th floor. You can walk across the glass walls on a glass floor, while you are securely fastened to the building with the special equipment. If you are not faint hearted and like heights, this is definitely for you.

I was certainly considering this one, despite its exorbitant price. But the day we visited was windy, so it made no sense, as it clearly wouldn’t be allowed to be on the Sky walk. Otherwise, the observation deck is not so special.

Shanghai Financial Tower

Price: 180 yuan for all floors.

This used to be the most popular and tallest before Shanghai tower was built. It remains the second tallest building in Shanghai. It has a corridor with the floor to ceiling windows and a glass floor on the 100th floor. Seeing the photos of this though didn’t impress me as much, given that glass floor tiles are smaller. I heard from the people who visited that the glass floor doesn’t give much of a view. Although I can’t be sure that’s true.

Oriental Pearl Tower

Price: 179 yuans. Including the space capsule: 100 yuan more.

This is definitely not the highest building in Shanghai and your views won’t be as high, as from other skyscrapers – though it does have nice closer views of the surrounding area. This tower is also oldest on the list. However, it has a lovely glass floor. The main reason we opted for this one was exactly this last point and it didn’t disappoint.


Visiting Oriental Pearl Tower: Our Experience


There are two ticket options to visit the tower:

  • Tickets for the lower floors, up to 259 meters. This one has the nicest views and the glass floor. Cost: 198 yuan;
  • Tickets including the small space capsule at 351m. Cost: 298 yuan.

We didn’t care about any other offers the tower was making – like the space capsule, multimedia show or the museum, so we opted for the simplest ticket, which gave us access to 259 m. So, we got the cheapest option.

The queues

I had heard about the nightmarish queues, so we prepared ourselves for the long wait. Buying tickets was not difficult, it was very quick. But we did have to wait for the elevators. I would say we waited about half an hour for the way up and a bit less for the way down. There were tons of people upstairs too. There are certainly not enough facilities to accommodate everyone, who wants to visit.

Despite this, we loved our experience and if you don’t mind the heights, I would recommend visiting this tower. The glass floor was awesome. We took hundreds of photos (some people even thought we were doing some photoshoot :D) and spent a lot of time there.

What to do next

After coming down, we visited the Yang’s Fried dumplings near the tower. I read good reviews about the place, but I have no idea why people like it. The dumplings were extremely greasy and didn’t taste at all. We tasted a number of other dumplings in China and this was by far the worst. Oh, well, when you go to a place so close to the attractions, I guess that’s what happens most of the time 🙂


See also:

Detailed tips for planning your trip to China.

1-day Itinerary tips for visiting Shanghai.

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