Skyscraping Views vs. Cheaper Alternatives

There is certainly something mesmerising about the draw of a view from a tall building. Maybe it’s all the people down below, looking like ants, without a thought in the world that you are staring at the very top of their heads. There’s usually an accompanying feeling of lightness too…although that’s usually in your wallet! These views certainly don’t come cheap, so we’re after the best way to get your fix for less.

The Shard vs The Monument – London

View of The Shard
Martin Pettitt

With prices for The Shard starting at £25 per adult it’s not just the possible altitude sickness that’s stopping us flocking upwards in London! Sure, you can see France on a clear day (apparently) but you could also visit The Monument and enjoy a three-course dinner for the same price. For just £3 you can enjoy a view that includes The Shard and a lot more besides, although in the spirit of full disclosure, the first few minutes spent up there will be taken up recovering from the climb! That’s right – you have to put in the hard yards.

Sears Tower vs. Adler Planetarium – Chicago

Sears Tower aka Willis Tower

The Skydeck at the world-famous Sears Tower comes in at a surprisingly low $18 (around £12) which is almost reasonable until you think you’ll probably only spend about 15 minutes up there! In fact, it’s the same to see the view from the Hancock Tower. There are a range of places to take in the skyline for free though, and we like the one from the Adler Planetarium best. You could also try the Signature Lounge at the Hancock Tower, which is on the 96th floor and you can take in the view whilst sipping your (overpriced) drinks. Don’t forget your camera!

Petronas Towers vs. KL Menara Tower – Kuala Lumpur

Petronas Towers at sunset

Prices have been hiked up all round for 2013, which is pretty bad news for backpackers and tourists on a budget. Going up the iconic Petronas Twin Towers is RM 80 which is around £16, which includes going across the world-famous skybridge! Prices for the KL Manara Tower come in at RM 48, which is around £10, which certainly seems like a bargain once you’ve seen The Shard’s prices! One thing’s for sure, KL’s not the place to give away cheap views.

Oriental Pearl Tower vs. Jin Mao Tower – Shanghai

Illuminated Oriental Pearl TV Tower

The tallest observation deck at the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, the Space Capsule floor, is currently closed, so you’ll have to be satisfied with the 254-metre-high Observation Deck with a 360° see-through floor! Prices start from around £20. By contrast, Jin Mao Tower is free to get into and you can head directly to floor 88 where there are some shops, which you can ignore, and a view which you most definitely can’t!

Empire State Building vs. Top of The Rock vs. Top of the Tower – New York

Top of Empire State Building

The viewing deck at the Empire State Building may be the most famous on Earth. Prices start from $25 (around £16.50) for the main deck, which is the one you’ve seen on Sleepless in Seattle or The Producers, or from $42 (£28) for the newly reopened top deck. To take in the Empire State Building in your view, you can head to Top of The Rock which start from $27 (£18). If all this is enough to make your eyes water then we’ve found that you can get some pretty amazing view from Top of the Tower, Beekman Tower that is, for the price of a drink.

Baiyoke Tower – Bangkok

Baiyoke Tower and traffic

There’s no need to look anywhere else in Bangkok though, with access to the Observation deck at Baiyoke Tower in Bangkok, Thailand’s tallest building, from just 300 Baht, which is about £6.50. That includes the 84th floor revolving skydeck, the 77th floor skywalk and a drink included too. No wonder it’s one of the city’s most popular sights – the main thing you’ll have to contend with here is not stomach-churning costs but hordes of other happy people.

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About Em

Tips and advice on getting great value travel - from one of our dealchecker alumni.

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