The Bund in Shanghai

History of Shanghai Bund

The name 'Bund' means “the embankment of a muddy waterfront”. To know Shanghai, you must come to Shanghai Bund. Before the 1840s, Shanghai was a small seaside town and the Bund was once a muddy towpath for boats along Huangpu River. After First Opium War in 1842, Shanghai began to be an open port and later the Bund was the first settlement of Great Britain. Many foreign powers entered Shanghai and erected their distinct Western-style banks and trading houses from the United Kingdom, France, the United States, Italy, Russia, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands and Belgium, as well as the consulates of Russia and Britain, etc. In the later of 19th Century and 20th Century, Shanghai grew into Asia’s leading city, a cosmopolitan and thriving commercial and financial center. Known as “Oriental Wall Street”, the Bund was a historical miniature of colonial-era Shanghai.

Walking on the Bund

Travelers could visit the Bund either from north to south or from south to north. It is recommended to walk along the Bund which takes 1-2 hours.

At the northern end of the Bund, on the north bank of Suzhou Creek, rises the brick pile of Broadway Mansions, Russian Consulates, Astor House Hotel. Head south over Waibaidu Bridge and turn west to walk along Suzhou Creek until you reach the area known as the Back Bund. You won’t miss the Union Church which dates to 1885. Behind the church, you can catch a glimpse of the Former British Consulate and gardens, the first foreign building to go up in Shanghai. Follow to a row of beautiful old buildings, beginning with the Gothamesque China Baptist Publication Building. Turn left on Beijing East Road and head back towards to the Bund waterfront. Then, head down Zhongshan East Road to see Jardine Matheson, Bank of China, and Peace Hotel. Reach Promenade to catch good view of the Pudong skyline. Continue to head down to see North China Daily News, Customs House, Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, Shanghai Club, etc. Just across the street is the 49m-tall Meteorogical Signal Tower, originally built in 1908 opposite the French Consulate. Later, you’ll reach Yan’an Road which marks the end of the walk.

Day Views of the Bund

Exploring the Bund in the daytime is quite different from that in the evening. From very early in the morning, before tourists gather here, local Shanghai people come to the riverbank to enjoy walking, jogging, doing exercises and flying kites.

Moreover, during the daytime, travelers could overlook the modern Shanghai on the east bank of Huangpu River and see the landmarks and other buildings clearly. If time permits, get into some buildings and learn the background of the splendid architectures and history of Shanghai. Take a stroll along the Bund in the daytime, and you can explore the Lover’s Wall of 1,700 meters long, Monument to the People’s Heroes dedicated to Chinese patriots beginning in the 1840s, the Bund History Museum (09:00-16:15, free admission), Huangpu Park which originally was the British Public Gardens built in 1868, and the Statue of Chenyi  – Shanghai’s first mayor after 1949.

Night Views of the Bund

During the evening the buildings are closed but the Bund is spectacularly illuminated and the nocturnal views of Pudong are delicious. There are many riverboats cruising on the Huangpu River which makes the scene even more stunning.

Travelers can walk along either the west side of East Zhongshan No. 1 Rd or the elevated promenade on the other side of the road overlooking the Huangpu River and Pudong Area. Taking a cruise sailing on Huangpu River is also recommended. It is very relaxing to feel the old Shanghai on one side and view the modern side on the other side.