One might say that the Oriental Pearl TV Tower is just another tourist trap with its fancy names, like "the third tallest TV Tower in the world" or "Twin dragons playing with pearls." And though it really may be just another tall tower piercing the skyline of modern Shanghai, it truly symbolizes Shanghai today through its fascinating and unique architectural design. Traveling around Shanghai, the tower never fails to come into view, creating a sensation of awe and wonder, and, of course, the "I am finally in Shanghai!” thought that hits you, especially when you’re just arriving from the airport.
With its thoroughly calculated feng shui properties and elements, the tower is indeed the jewel, or, more appropriately, the Oriental pearl, of Shanghai. It looks like a spaceship about to take off with its large spheres and slanting stanchions. In truth, the tower’s spheres represents pearls, and the green grassland surrounding it is seen as a jade plate, supposedly bringing the city prosperity and wealth. Really, almost every building in Shanghai is designed according to feng shui to bring the utmost outcome in every aspect of the company involved.
Reaching the tower 10 minutes to closing time, we were able to avoid the extremely long queue that winds through the queue maze during the day. We had to go through an X-ray scan upon entering the tower, just right before taking the elevator to the main sightseeing floor. Inside the elevator, a guide dressed in red gave us a brief introduction of the tower, as well as the elevator (which holds up to 50 people and ascends at a rate of 7m per second), in both Mandarin and English. It was amazing how she started talking just as the elevator door closed and how she finished exactly on the dot when the elevator door opened on the 255th floor!
The view from the 468m tower was simply spectacular. It has a full 360-degree view of all of Shanghai: the splendid neon lights that light up the night sky, the Huang Pu River, the Bund, and the tiny flickering lights from the traffic far down below. You could just stare, and stare, and stare! All along the platform were glass displays selling TV tower souvenirs, such as key chains, postcards, chocolates, and miniature towers.
The Oriental Pearl TV Tower is really the best way to get a bird's eye view of all of Shanghai and beyond. And, in my opinion, it is definitely not something to be missed--you can say you've seen the "whole" of Shanghai then, eh?
You can get to the Oriental Pearl TV Tower by taking the Metroline No. 2 to Lujiazui Station or Public Transport Busses Nos. 81, 82, 85, 870, 871, or 872. To reach the Pudong area from the other side, the Bund Tourist Tunnel or the Taigong Line is available. The tower is open from 7:40am to 9:30pm every day.