Reach dizzying heights with Culture Trip’s unmissable walking tour of cosmopolitan Pudong and its gleaming skyscrapers.
From the spiky Oriental Pearl Tower to the pagoda-style Jin Mao Tower, Pudong is home to some of Shanghai’s most distinctive architecture. Located east of the HuangPu River (Pudong directly translates to ‘East of the river’), it’s best known for the glitzy Lujiazui financial area, the Shanghai Stock Exchange and its array of striking skyscrapers.
Begin on a high at Shanghai Financial Center
Start your day with a trip to the sky-high Shanghai World Financial Center, easily accessible from Lujiazui subway station. Its distinctive ‘bottle opener’ design stands out across The Bund and the building offers three different observation decks. Most noteworthy is the one on the 100th floor, said to be the highest observatory in the world. If you happen to visit in the evening to watch the sun go down and you’re feeling flush, head to the Park Hyatt Shanghai, which is also housed in the building. Its 100 Century Avenue Bar serves up cocktails that are almost as exquisite as the view.
Just a three-minute stroll from the Shanghai World Financial Center is the Postmodern masterpiece Jin Mao Tower. Adrenaline junkies should make their way up the tiered tower to the 88th floor to brave the outside glass walkway, which is completely handrail-free. Visitors are safely harnessed to the edge, allowing them to teeter across the open glazed path and peer down to truly spectacular views below.
After a morning at high altitude, it’s time for a more relaxing stroll back on terra firma. From Jin Mao Tower, walk along Huan Yu Shi Qiao Lu to reach the banks of the river. There you’ll find Binjiang Park – a picture-perfect spot to take in views of The Bund. As with all Shanghai parks, locals swarm to fly kites, socialise and partake in traditional morning exercise. Pop to the neighbouring Starbucks for a caffeine fix or, on sunnier days, head to Haagan-Daaz for refreshing ice cream. If you’ve got time, you could take a detour to the nearby Aurora Art Museum, located in a building by world-famous architect Tadao Ando. There’s an impressive collection of jade objects, ceramics and Buddhist sculptures.
A short 550-metre walk from Binjiang Park lies Super Brand Mall: one of the largest malls in the whole of Asia. It might not be a cultural landmark of Pudong but its 13 floors are home to every international brand you can think of, along with a wealth of eateries and an IMAX cinema. Hungry shoppers should head to Element Fresh, a Western-style restaurant with a second-floor balcony that overlooks The Bund, or Charme on the seventh floor for great Cantonese snacks.
Just steps away from Super Brand Mall is the final skyscraper on this walking tour: the Oriental Pearl Tower – one of Shanghai’s most famous landmarks. While its height is now eclipsed by Jin Mao Tower and Shanghai Tower, Oriental Pearl Tower still has plenty to offer tourists. The upper sphere of the Radio and TV tower is home to a glass-bottomed corridor, while in the basement, visitors are immersed in Shanghai’s history through the Shanghai Municipal History Museum. Make sure you find time to ride the tower’s very own virtual reality roller coaster, which whizzes you along Shanghai’s skyline.
Pudong is only part of what The Bund area has to offer, so finish your walking tour by heading to the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel, which is located at the south side of the Oriental Pearl Tower. This futuristic tunnel is the quickest and most exciting way to cross the river and reach Puxi (translated as ‘West Bank’). The three- to five-minute Maglev train combines rapid speeds with a psychedelic light show.