I felt like a VIP on my way to see the views from the Shanghai World Financial Centre. At least 10 employees greeted me with flawless English, giving me the tour although I seemed to be the only tourist there. I got to stand front and centre for a video on the tower, shown on an enormous curved screen that assaulted the senses in the best way possible.
Getting to the tower was relatively easy. I got off the subway at Lijiazui, and grabbed some gourmet waffles before navigating across countless bridges and through a few malls to find a way to the SWFC without getting run over. Pudong is a completely different place from Puxi, across the river: it’s so new and industrialized that almost everyone you see is a corporate worker wearing Louboutins.
I paid an exorbitant 180RMB ($36) entrance fee to see all three of the observatory’s floors; if I had remembered my student ID it would have been 120RMB ($24). It hurt handing over that much money, but I love going up towers so I couldn’t resist. (See Chicago and New York) I was also warned that I wouldn’t be able to see much because of the crazy fog in the city that day. I did consider foregoing the experience, but I was already in Puxi and I wouldn’t have time to come back before I left!
As it turned out, two of the observation decks were entirely ensconced in fog and I couldn’t really see anything. However, the top floor was high enough (100 stories!) that whenever the fog shifted I was afforded an atypical view of Shanghai’s most famous skyscrapers. You can usually see the river and the Bund from up here, but I was just glad to see something.
While I’m not sure the views I got were worth $36, I’m still glad I went up to the Shanghai World Financial Centre Observatory! If you’re planning a trip to Shanghai, I would definitely head up the tower on a relatively clear day. And as usual, my favourite tower tip: go a little bit before sunset so you can experience a) views in daylight, b) the sunset and c) nighttime views! Seeing a range of views makes the money more worth it, but I think this is a can’t-miss attraction in Shanghai.