The Oriental Pearl Tower is undoubtedly Shanghai’s most iconic landmark. Completed in 1994, it was also one of the first structures to be built on the Pudong side of Shanghai (ie- all the famous skyline images you see).
It has a love/hate relationship with most Shanghainese, and I certainly don’t know why exactly that certain color was picked, but at night it is spectacular. At 468m tall, it is currently the 5th largest tower in the world, with which you get some insane views of Lujiazui (downtown Pudong) and across the river of the Bund and the Puxi side of Shanghai…
I can’t recommend visiting the Pearl Tower enough, if for one simple reason: the view straight down through the glass floors at almost 300m up!
There is also an unusual exhibition located on the ground floor, as seen in the last few images… make sure to look through them all, there are some real gems in there!
Kuala Lumpur was the first stop on a multi-leg tour through some strange corners of South East Asia. Arriving late one night then leaving roughly 30 hours later, gave a nice 24 hour window to explore the amazing city of KL.
I must say I was a little surprised with Kuala Lumpur, as I had imagined something entirely different… a crazy busy bustling metropolis. I was further surprised to find out the population doesn’t even hit 2 million! Although bewildered by my lack of knowledge of this place, it was an incredibly beautiful city… clean, colorful, efficient, and super friendly. It still had that “small town” feeling in my opinion (although I live in Shanghai, so my premises might be a little screwy).
The food was simply amazing (and cheap!), what a amazingly tasty melting-pot of South East Asia cuisine… given the large Chinese and Indian communities… and yet, the best that culinary Malaysia had to offer was still to come (in the form of battered butter prawns that I was going to eat for 3 days straight in Kota Kinabalu in the upcoming days, but more on that later).
Anyway, back to my 24 hours in KL. Arriving late at night, checked in to the hotel, unpacked only my tripod and set out straight for the Petronas Towers (as you can see in the first few night shots). The next day was spent on a tour through various spots throughout the city, including KLCC, Bukit Bintang, KL Railway Station, Keretapi Tanah Melayu, etc… then finally back to the Petronas Towers for vespertine time!
Wat Phu Khao Thong.
This enormous chedi was built after King Naresuan’s victory over the Burmese. The site only had this one large stupa, and only a small collection of very small temples, but for some reason was one of my favorite of the day. It also reminded me, slightly, of the Mayan temples of the Mexican Yucatan. Here too you can see the water levels from the recent flooding and can then only further imagine how much this structure has had to endure over the centuries…
More info on Ayutthaya.
The highest peak surrounding Baguio City belongs to Mount Santo Tomas (map). The peak is littered with radio & tv towers and 2 radars built by the American military post-WWII. The views of the city and South China sea are stunning, not to mention the beautifully crisp fresh air, which is something I can only dream about back here at my office in Shanghai. Bah.
One of the two guards gave us a personal tour of the radars are the peak, which has been off-limits since a bombing recently which aimed at taking out one of the radars (even though they haven’t been used in decades). Apparently back in the day tourists visiting the peak could even climb the metal radars, with no fences or anything holding them back. Now the area is fenced off and kept away from curious eyes by 2 security guards, who must be the loneliest around, considering the near 60 minute trip up the mountain from Baguio City below, much of it off-road. Which is probably why the guard gave us a tour, as he was pretty wasted, even offering us some drinks after his tour.
Went to the Super Brand Mall in Lujiazui, Pudong to have some Korean BBQ with my Mom who was visiting.
The new elevated walkway was finished and open, so I took just a couple shots.
In my twenty-something years, I’ve hit up twenty-something different countries, and without a doubt Shanghai is the night city of night cities [so far]. I don’t mean that in the sense of things being open (NYC gets that one, minus that stupid curfew), or in regards to nightlife (although no complaints here!), but that the lights are blindly turned on and are in essence: blinding, and furthermore, the crowds disappear (which is a huge plus!).
Let me put it this way: Shanghai by day = *meh*. Shanghai by night: *BLAHM*!
This set of images is from 3 seperate shoots, the first 3 images are around my office building at the end of Huai Hai Road East. The following 3 images are of my quick trip to Pudong to pick up a package sent from the homefront (thanks Mom, there is nothing in the world like Belgian D&L mayonnaise!), while the final 6 were actually taken right after the previous post, at Peoples Square.
Compare image #2 above with the one below… same location 6 months earlier:
And from 4 months earlier [see my full post on the graffiti wall]:
I met up with a buddy yesterday and we aimlessly hit up SH, meeting at People’s Square and walking east down Nanjing towards the river, grabbing some dumplings then catching a ferry over to Pudong and hitting up the Jin Mao Tower. We had wanted to go up the SWFC, but weren’t about to drop 150RMB for the experience. We figured we didn’t have to spend 70RMB for the JMT either, as we could just walk into the Grand Hyatt (the hotel that occupies the top 35 stories) as “hotel guests”. We were right.
Standing from inside the Jin Mao, I had forgotten how unsettling it was to stand there and look down all those hollow stories, the spiraling balconies don’t help either.
One picture also shows the footprint for the 632m (2073ft) Shanghai Tower set for 2014 completion and designed by Gensler (a nice video can be found on their website).
One thing that I think is kind of funny, is how back-in-the-day all the tallest buildings were in Europe, then they all moved to North America, and now Asia. China/Hong Kong/Taiwan as of right this moment account for 6 of the top 10, Malaysia has 2, the US has 1, and I hear there’s a beast of a building in Dubai. Europe’s tallest on the other hand, comes in at #89… and it isn’t even in “Europe-Europe”, it’s in Moscow.
To put it in perspective, the Shanghai Tower will be 3.5x taller than the London Gherkin or almost 2x that of New York City’s Chrysler Building. I’m pretty excited to witness the birth of a crazy structure (I gave up on the Freedom Tower).
It’s a shame that it’s been raining all day, as I’ve wanted to go explore the festivities planned for today. The firework spectacle takes place in just over an hour, so I’m sure I’ll have a glimpse of that.
As for yesterday, I certainly heard a ton of explosions, and assumed they were fireworks… but I couldn’t see/find the damn things. I ended up going to Pudong, taking metro line 2 to Dongchang Road and walking back to the Lujiazui station (I live nearby the Line 1 South Shanxi station, you can check out a subway map here). The clouds were absolutely sensational… the colored lights from buildings literally saturated the sky, and once again impeccable timing, as it started raining just when I was wrapping up.
The first two images are panoramas, the vertical consisting of 8 images, and the [messed up] 360-degree horizontal of 13 (the building with the antenna just off-center is the stock exchange).
Also check out the differences in clouds between a 1.6sec and 30sec exposure. You can even notice a blue radiance on the top right, from the blue lights that decorate the front/back of the Shanghai World Financial Center… not to mention the amazing glow from the apartment buildings to the left.
I have more images (I took about 140, which is more than double the standard Tim Shoot), but these are the only ones I cleaned up, more will be added later. Have a good night/day wherever you may be and Happy 60th Birthday PRC!!
[also happy birthday to my Italian brother Salvo, have a good one yo!]
Dope video from the crazy parade in Beijing by Dan Chung: