The Shanghai Tower, standing at 632 meters is in soft opening stages and I was invited to have a sneak peek with local tour operator Bespoke Shanghai. We lucked out with beautiful weather and low pollution as we headed inside to get on our way up to the top of China’s tallest building.
The entrance lobby has a great time-warp movie that shows the Pudong skyline as it looked in 1841 (swampy) to the present (surreal) with the Shanghai Tower beaming over the city. The images were curated from Shanghai municipal archives so the images are as true-to-life as you can get.
Further in, there are fascinating displays of how the Shanghai Tower matches up against other tall buildings in the world and wonderful graphics about how the building was designed. You can also compare tall buildings across the continents with the museum’s exhibition including “Tallest 20 in Asia / Americas / Middle East / the World”. But don’t get too stuck on remembering the height order, move along to “Tallest 20 in 2020” and you’ll see the future is near.
There are quite a few “highest” and “tallest” adjectives flying around when you visit Shanghai Tower. First off, it’s Shanghai’s tallest building and will remain so for the foreseeable future. We’ve already got the Jin Mao Tower standing at 420 meters. The Shanghai World Financial Center opened a few years later at 70 meters higher than the Jin Mao and now Shanghai Tower is 140 meters above the SWFC. Creating the Big Three, Shanghai city planners have decided the sky-feng shui is just right.
Shanghai Tower is China’s tallest building for now and the second tallest in the world (after Dubai’s Burj Khalifa at 828 meters). That said, our Shanghai Tower does indeed boast the highest observatory deck in the world. Take that Dubai! When you’re standing at the top of Shanghai Tower, you are standing higher than anyone else, in any building in the world.
The Tower also boasts the fastest elevator in the world. Despite being catapulted to the sky at 18m/second (that’s 64km/hour), the 55-second ride is extremely smooth to the 118th floor observatory. (The way down is slower to be easier on the ears.)
How’s the View?
It’s difficult not to be trite: the view is stunning. The large observatory deck leads you around for a 360-degree view of Shanghai. Windows are labelled with directions so you can get your bearings and as you continue around to the east, you’ll find yourself looking down on what seem like mini-skyscrapers (that’s the SWFC with the bottle-opener top and the pointy Jin Mao next to it). These were, just a few years ago, at the top of the skyline. And when you look to the south, you can see five turnings of the Huang Pu River and 3 of the bridges that cross it.
How Can I Get Up There?
Book a sneak peek tour with Bespoke Shanghai to enjoy a crowd-less experience at the top of China. It has not been officially announced when Shanghai Tower will open but rumors are some time in July or August.
Shanghai Tower | 479 Lujiazui Huan Road near Dongtai Road, Pudong District, Shanghai Bespoke Travel Company | inquire about their Private City Experiences in Shanghai and Beijing
Images by Sara Naumann