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An inside look at 10 popular pavilions

SUPER-LONG queues and huge crowds at the World Expo have scared many people away and discouraged some from return visits.

Tourist Jay Jin compares the Expo to Disney World saying, "In Disney World, at least you know you are lining up hours for, like a roller coaster. But here I'm up two hours for some tourist pictures and videos."

Fair point. For some pavilions, the facade is really the best part and for others it's what's inside that counts.

Shanghai Daily provides a preview of 10 pavilions - Austria, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, and South Africa - in Zone C to help you decide which to visit.

Lines for these pavilions may be long, but they move constantly and they're much shorter at night.

On a regular weekday with around 400,000 visitors, the daytime waits are usually 40-90 minutes.

Luxembourg pavilion

The pavilion's highlight is "Gelle Fra," or Golden Lady, the national symbol of Luxembourg. And you can see it without going into the pavilion.

The pavilion's theme is "Small is Beautiful." True. It is quite small. You go through a five-minute exhibition of pictures and videos and then another five-minute walk through a pocket-size forest.

Austria Pavilion

If you fall into one of the following three groups - prospective tourist, avid shutterbug or classical music fan - Austria Pavilion is your thing.

It is basically a virtual tour set to a live classical music performance.

The TV screens are all over the place - floors, ceilings and walls - in an effort to showcase the country's beautiful landscape. The tour is split into three sections - snow-capped mountains, a forest and water in all its forms. The images are very realistic and many visitors take pictures as if they were actually there.

In the section presenting the mountains, you can feel the low temperature and touch the snow. These realistic landscapes are also great photo spots.

Classical musicians put on a 15-20 minute show every 30 minutes at the pavilion's indoor stage. If you stay long enough, you will definitely witness a live performance.

The Netherlands Pavilion

The Netherlands Pavilion features one of the most cheerful designs. The "Happy Street" takes visitors along a spiral walkway that connects 26 distinct small rooms.

The concept is cool as long as you don't expect much inside the small rooms. Often you just find a toy bear, a product from one of the sponsors or some pictures.

Finland Pavilion

Finland Pavilion is for tech fans. Check out quite a few newly released digital products, especially mobile phones not yet available in China.

The other highlight is the sauna. But you'd better forget about it. It's in the VIP lounge and it's summer.


You can send an SMS to make a reservation. Send a message that begins with the numbers 85401, then add the time you want to visit. So for a reservation at 9:30am, the message is 85401 0930. China Mobile clients dial 106-666-662-008, China Unicom 106-666-6620. Follow the instructions for the reply. It is the closest pavilion if you take the free Metro 13 and get out at exit 2 of Expo Avenue Station.

Canada pavilion

The Canada Pavilion features the famous Cirque du Soleil, which participated in the preparation and design of the pavilion.

In other words, don't expect to see a true Cirque du Soleil performance. But some of the troupe's performers do interact and entertain those in the queue.

The interior is basically pictures and movies about Canadian cities. The exhibition is a 10-minute walk like in many pavilions. The movie is worth watching if you like interesting documentaries. Visitors also love taking pictures with these performers. Many call it the most entertaining queue and pavilion.

Brazil pavilion

If you are not a soccer fan, skip this one.

As the host country for World Cup 2014, this pavilion is all about the "beautiful game.?

In other words, you see balls and games inside.


You can join a virtual soccer game on the large screen at the entrance, through your mobile phone.

South Africa pavilion

As host country of the World Cup, this pavilion is also mainly about soccer. You can take pictures of the mascot. You can watch some games inside the pavilion while enjoying South African snacks.

Denmark pavilion

Denmark Pavilion has three attractions - the Little Mermaid, the bicycles and the interactive fountain.

The Little Mermaid makes its Chinese debut for the Expo. The Danes originally planned to bring water from Copenhagen for the exhibit but ended up using water from the Huangpu River. The statue faces into the pavilion, meaning you can only see the front if you enter the pavilion.

The pavilion has two walkways - for passengers and for cyclists - which showcases the wide use of bikes in the nation. The bikes are available for anyone except for children under 155 centimeters (for safety reasons).

Every Wednesday, a Danish band, choir or orchestra will give performances at the pavilion or Europe Square.

Norway pavilion

Many visitors came out of the Norway Pavilion saying that they didn't see anything. There is not much if you go during the day. It's a wooden construction made of 15 model trees and you see the wood inside.

It's a much better experience if you go after 7pm, when the pavilion turns to night mode - the Norwegian Evening, especially if you like Secret Garden, one of the best known Norwegian groups in China.

The band has recorded an orchestral suite, specially composed for the Expo, that includes the Chinese instrument erhu (two-string fiddle). A 15-minute video of the suite is played on dozens of screens in the pavilion.

The videos are accompanied by an exquisite light show inspired by the northern lights.

Egypt pavilion

Egypt Pavilion is for those who like artifacts and history.

When the Expo first opened, this pavilion wasn't that popular and getting in was easy. However, as more exposure has been given to a pharaoh's mask, the pavilion has become crowded with wait times up to 90 minutes.

It is the Mask of Sheshonq II, an Egyptian king of the 22nd dynasty, whose tomb was the only one in the dynasty not plundered by tomb raiders. It is accompanied with seven other artifacts. They have been insured for a total of US$400,000.

Most visitors spend about 10 minutes to check out the artifacts and browse the videos.

The Expo Park is open for 15 hours from 9am to midnight.

Day tickets cost 160 yuan.

Night tickets cost 90 yuan.

Most pavilions are open from 9:30am to 10:30pm, but many don't allow queuing after 9pm. Night ticket holders are allowed into the site after 5pm but barred after 9pm.

Many pavilions' restaurants and shops have a different entrance, so check before getting into the long queue if you only want food or souvenirs.

Two bus stops, the Europe Station and the Houtan Station, are located in Zone C. The first is close to European countries and the second to American and African nations. A ferry terminal is also near the European section. Exit 2 of Metro Line 13 leads to European countries. All transport is free inside the Expo Park.

The gate closest to European pavilions is Gate 7 and to American and African ones it's Gate 8, both accessible by Metro Line 7.

All national pavilions are in the Pudong section and corporate and city cases from the Urban Best Practices Area are in the Puxi section. Most of these pavilions offer their Expo stamps on the Expo "passport."


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