Dongfang Mingzhuta, or Pearl of the Orient Tower, is a 468-meter-high communication tower, making it the second highest tower in Asia, and the fourth highest tower in the world. Pearl of the Orient Tower is located in Shanghai's Pudong Park in the financial district of Lujiazui, on the edge of Pudong District, just across the Huangpu River from the Bund. The tower is located - on a north-south axis, roughly - in between Shanghai's two downtown Huangpu River bridges, the Yangpu to the northeast and the Nanpu to the southwest.
Construction on the tower was commenced in 1991. From its completion in 1994 until 2007, Pearl of the Orient Tower was also the tallest structure in China, period, but in 2007 the tower was surpassed by Shanghai's World Financial Center, the city's answer to New York City's former World Trade Center, which was the highest structure on the NYC skyline before its twin towers (albeit not "towers" in the sense of a communications tower) were destroyed in the 9/11 attacks.
The quarter-mile-high commercial interior of the tower houses a variety of activities, from a hotel near the top to a restaurant to a recreational palace - with a futuristic space center - to shops and cafés, and it even has a historical museum. On almost any level above the lowest globe, one can get a sensational view of the city as it stretches out toward the horizon, and, of course, the higher the vantage point, the more one can take in.
Pearl of the Orient Tower has a unique shape, with a number (11 to be exact) of bulbous spheres punctuating the tower's various sections as it ascends skyward, suggesting both an Islamic minaret and the typical bulbous dome of a mosque, here repeated over and over again in decreasingly smaller sizes as the tower rises skyward, its vertical sections correspondingly decreasing in diameter.
The Chinese architect, however, sees these "bulbs" as pearls, but even the architect cannot prevent onlookers from making their own associations regarding the tower's appearance, though all can agree that, seen in its totality, the tower is a thing of beauty, especially when lit up at night, and thus is truly a 'pearl of the Orient'.
The "bulbs", or "pearls", which in fact are steel spheres, or globes, are supposed to relate to a Tang (CE 618-907) Dynasty poem, the Pipa Song, composed by Bai Juyi. The poem concerns the crisp, twinkling sound of the pipa (a four-stringed lute), or the sound of 'pearls, big and small, dropping on a plate'.
Bulbous or pearl-shaped when viewed from the outside, the steel globes nevertheless take on an entirely different aspect when viewed from the inside: they resemble something out of the Stanley Kubrick film, 2001: A Space Odyssey. In fact, a couple of these globes have names suggesting space and space travel, namely the highest globe, at 350 meters, called the Space Module, and the lowest globe, called Space City, at 90 meters.
The revolving restaurant is the Asian second-highest restaurant, offering an unparalleled view of the city, which is especially beautiful at night. The three-legged tower rests on giant pillars that are buried beneath the surface, making the tripod base of Pearl of the Orient Tower exceptionally stable.
The Large Plaza
The large plazasurrounding the tower's base makes it a popular place for tourists to throng, not unlike the way tourists throng about the base of Paris' Eiffel Tower. Also as with the Eiffel Tower, the base of the Pearl of the Orient Tower has become a favorite nighttime venue for lovers and other wistful souls "wishing you were here".
Located in the center of Lujiazui in Pudong New Area, Shanghai World Financial Center (SWFC 上海环球金融中心) is a comprehensive building consisting of sightseeing, shopping, hotels and high-level offices. With a height of 492 meters, it has 100 floors including sightseeing floors from Floor 94 to 100.Travelers can have a grand view of the modern Shanghai.
Tickets: 120 RMB to get to the 94th floor; 180 RMB to get to the 94th floor, the 97th floor and the 100th floor.
Hours: 8:00 am – 11:00 pm
Shanghai International Convention Center: The Shanghai International Convention Center is situated on Riverside Avenue in Pudong, facing the famous architectural complex of the Bund across Huangpu River. Paired with its neighbors the Oriental Pearl TV and Radio Tower, Jin Mao Tower, and Shanghai World Financial Center, the four compose the famous skyline of Lujiazui.
Tickets: 50 RMB for individual travelers, 45 RMB per person in a touring party of more than 20 (the touring party must make an appointment 3 to 4 days beforehand), 25 RMB for children below 120 centimeters tall and the elderly aged above 70 years
Hours: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Jin Mao Tower: Jin Mao Tower stands in the most prosperous part of the Lujiazui Finance and Trade Zone of the Pudong new district area. Occupying an area of 2.3 hectares, it is 420.5 meters tall, with 88 floors above the ground, and 3 floors underground. It also faces the famous Bund of Shanghai across Huangpu River.
Tickets: 120 RMB for adults, 60 RMB for children, 90 RMB for students, 100 RMB for the elderly aged above 70 years
Lujiazui Central Park: Located at the exit of the Yanan East Road Tunnel, Lujiazui Central Park covers an area of 100,000 square meters (10 hectares) and is at the very center of the Lujiazui Finance and Trade Zone. The park is the largest open lawn in Shanghai, earning it the name of “the green lung in the city”.
Tickets: free of charge
Hours: 8:00 am – 10:00 pm