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Home Shanghai The Bund (Shanghai)

The Bund Shanghai: Facts, What to See, Things to Do, Tips, Map

Written by Senior Expert Felicia|Updated: 2023-08-23

The Bund, also known as "wai tan" (外滩), is the most popular and bustling attraction in Shanghai and it is a must-visit for tourists traveling to the city. The Bund is a picturesque waterfront area located along the banks of the Huangpu River, offering a captivating glimpse into the bygone era of old Shanghai.

Serving as the starting point for the former foreign concessions, it played a pivotal role in the city's transformation into a modern metropolis. Stretching across 1.5 kilometers, the Bund mesmerizes visitors with its grandeur and serves as an exquisite showcase of international architecture. The Bund proudly stands with its 52 distinct neoclassical buildings, representing significant historical landmarks and iconic architecture of modern China . Walking on the Bund Riverside Promenade, you can enjoy the beautiful views of both sides of the Huangpu River and feel the vitality and charm of the city.

In this new travel guide to the Bund in 2023, you will get a comprehensive introduction to the history and present of the Bund. Getting what to see and things to do in the Bund will help you better plan a regretless Bund tour.

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  • triangleThe Bund Facts
  • triangleHistory of the Bund
  • triangleWhy is the Bund So Famous (What to See)?
  • triangleTop 5 Things to Do at the Bund Shanghai
  • triangleWhere to Stay around the Bund? (Hotels at the Bund)
  • triangleWhere is the Bund, Location & Map
  • triangleHow to Get to the Bund
  • triangleBest Time to Visit the Bund
  • triangleHow to Plan A Shanghai Day Tour with the Bund?
  • triangleTips for Visiting the Bund
  • triangleExplore Shanghai with Local-based Asia Odyssey Travel

The Bund Facts

Chinese Name: Wai Tan(外滩)

Length: 1,500 meters (0.93 miles) stretching from the Waibaidu Bridge to East Jinling Road

Address: By the Huangpu River in the central area of Shanghai

History: More than 180 years

Highlights: Best night view in Shanghai, sightseeing waterfront, western-style building clusters

Opening hours: Whole day

Light Opening Hours: 19:00-23:00 from May to October, 18:00-21:00 from November to April

Time Needed for a Visit: 1-2 hours

History of the Bund

The history of the Bund dates back to the mid-19th century when Shanghai was opened as a treaty port following the First Opium War. Before 1840, Shanghai was just a backward small town, and the Bund was a muddy towpath used by boats along the Huangpu River.

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Bund gradually transformed into a bustling hub of global commerce. Numerous banks, trading houses, and consulates were established along its waterfront, showcasing the architectural styles of various Western countries, such as neoclassical, Gothic, and Art Deco.

However, the development of the Bund was halted during the 1930s to 1970s, as many foreign companies ceased operations. In the late 20th century, Shanghai experienced a resurgence, and efforts were made to restore and preserve the historical buildings along the Bund.

Today, the Bund stands as one of the top attractions , attracting both locals and tourists. Its beautifully preserved buildings house, luxury hotels, boutiques, and upscale restaurants, offering a blend of history and modern sophistication.

the Bund history
The Bund used to be a port in the 1940s
the Bund history
The Bund was bustling in the 1950s

Why is the Bund So Famous (What to See)?

1. Symbol of Shanghai

The Bund is a well-known symbol of Shanghai . With its iconic skyline, the Bund has come to represent the vibrant spirit and dynamic energy of this cosmopolitan city.

The Bund reflects the dynamic transformation and rapid development of Shanghai, making it a must-visit destination for travelers seeking a glimpse into China's modern history and urban evolution.

Only when you take a photo with the Oriental Pearl Tower in the background on the eastern side of the Bund, you can truly say that you have arrived in Shanghai.

2. Distinctive Historical Buildings

The 52 buildings along the Bund represent the epitome of Western architectural design from the Renaissance period, creating a magnificent showcase of global architecture. Each building stands out with its unique style, captivating design, and distinctive characteristics, coming together to form a true "International Architecture Museum"

This collection of iconic buildings includes the Asia Building, which once housed the offices of the Asiatic Petroleum Company; the Union Building, which initially housed multiple insurance companies but is now a shopping complex; and the old HSBC Building, which is now home to the Shanghai Pudong Development Bank.

3. Unparalleled Riverside Promenade

The Riverside Promenade on the Bund in Shanghai is a captivating waterfront destination that offers a mesmerizing blend of history, culture, and modernity.

As you stroll along the promenade, you'll be treated to breathtaking views of the Pudong skyline. Whether you visit during the day or at night when the buildings are illuminated, the Riverside Promenade on the Bund offers an enchanting experience, allowing you to immerse yourself in the heart of Shanghai's dynamic waterfront culture.

4. Cultural and Commercial Hub

The Bund has transformed into a vibrant cultural and commercial hub over the years. It houses luxury hotels, high-end restaurants, upscale boutiques, and art galleries, attracting visitors seeking fine dining, entertainment, and shopping experiences.

The Bund in Shanghai offers a variety of accommodations to suit different budgets and preferences. The luxury hotels provide stunning views of the river and skyline with attentive service at higher prices. The boutique hotels fulfill most tourists' dream of staying overnight on the Bund and enjoying the most fantastic night view of Shanghai.

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Distinctive historical buildings standing along the Bund
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The Shanghai skyline on the opposite of the Bund

Top 5 Things to Do at the Bund Shanghai

1. Explore the Historical Buildings with City Walk

Taking a city walk along the Bund provides an immersive experience to fully explore the historical buildings in Shanghai . Here's a suggested itinerary to make the most of your experience:

Start at the northern end of the Bund, near Waibaidu Bridge. Begin your walk by visiting the Peace Hotel with its distinctive green roof and intricate architectural details. Continue southward and encounter the impressive neoclassical structure Customs House, and appreciate its clock tower and grand colonnades. Move along the promenade and reach the Shanghai Pudong Development Bank building, which has an elegant combination of Gothic and Renaissance architectural styles. Keep walking and arrive at the Bank of Communications Building, a symbol of Shanghai's banking heritage. Finally, conclude your city walk at the Shanghai Club building. Admire its blend of architectural styles, including influences from the Renaissance and Baroque periods.

Don't forget to capture photos with the stunning views of the Huangpu River and the modern skyline of Pudong as you explore the historical gems of the Bund.

2. Take a Huangpu River Cruise or Ferry

The Bund, situated on the west bank of the Huangpu River, harmoniously complements the Lujiazui Financial District on the east bank, forming the captivating cityscape of Shanghai. Here, visitors can admire an exceptional collection of international architecture while immersing themselves in the charm of a modern metropolis through either a Huangpu River Cruise or a Ferry ride.

The Huangpu River Cruise is a paid sightseeing tour that exclusively operates at night, offering a more in-depth exploration of Shanghai's skyline and landmarks. Cruise ships are typically multi-level, allowing tourists to not only marvel at the breathtaking night view but also indulge in delectable meals and beverages on the upper decks. Departing from the Shiliupu Wharf (十六铺码头), the cruise returns to the same location after approximately one hour of sailing.

In contrast, the Bund Ferry serves as a daily transportation option for residents and visitors traveling between the Pudong and Puxi sides of the Huangpu River. With a one-way ticket priced at just 2 yuan per person, the ferry provides a convenient and affordable mode of crossing the river, taking a mere 5-10 minutes. The Dongjin (东金线) route operates exclusively during the daytime, while the Dongfu (东复线) route runs both day and night.

Overall, the Huangpu River Cruise offers a comprehensive and luxurious night-time experience, while the Bund Ferry serves as a practical and economical means of transportation for crossing the Huangpu River.

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Take a Huangpu River Cruise to admire the dreaming night view
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Explore the Historical Buildings with City Walk

3. Enjoy the Fantastic Shanghai Skyline Night

The Shanghai skyline at night is a breathtaking sight that captivates visitors with its dazzling lights and futuristic ambiance.

Located on the east bank of the Huangpu River, Lujiazui is home to some of Shanghai's most iconic skyscrapers. The illuminated structures, such as the Shanghai Tower, Shanghai World Financial Center, Jin Mao Tower, and Oriental Pearl Tower, create a stunning backdrop against the night sky. The Huangpu River provides a shimmering reflection of the city's lights. It offers an enchanting perspective of the skyline, with the illuminated buildings casting vibrant reflections on the water.

4. Explore the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel

The Bund Sightseeing Tunnel in Shanghai is an underground passageway that spans across the Huangpu River, connecting the Bund with the Oriental Pearl Tower. It was opened in the year 2000 and has been in operation for over 20 years.

The Bund Sightseeing Tunnel provides a fascinating journey through a tunnel that combines light, sound, and visual effects. Passengers are transported in a small tram-like vehicle that travels through a tunnel adorned with colorful lights, projections, and music.

The ticket prices for the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel are 50 yuan for a one-way trip and 70 yuan for a round trip. The entire journey through the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel takes around 5 minutes.

5. Shopping at the Nanjing Road

Nanjing Road in Shanghai is a bustling shopping street, renowned worldwide. Spanning six kilometers, it offers a mix of luxury boutiques, department stores, and traditional Chinese shops. Nanjing Road East showcases high-end brands, while Nanjing Road West features local boutiques and international retailers.

The street is a shopper's paradise, with options ranging from fashion and electronics to cosmetics and souvenirs. The vibrant atmosphere, colorful storefronts, and neon lights create an exciting ambiance.

Alongside shopping, visitors can enjoy a variety of delicious cuisines from restaurants and street food stalls. Nanjing Road is a must-visit destination, offering a diverse and thrilling shopping experience at the heart of Shanghai.

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Enjoy the Fantastic Shanghai Skyline
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Shopping at the Nanjing Road

Where to Stay around the Bund? (Hotels at the Bund)

The hotels located on the west bank of the Huangpu River offer views of Pudong's skyscrapers and sunrise, such as Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund, the Peninsula Shanghai, Fairmont Peace Hotel, the Shanghai EDITION, and The Westin Bund Center.

The hotels located on the east bank of the Huangpu River offer views of the distinctive historical buildings and sunset, such as the Grand Hyatt Shanghai Jinmao Hotel, Pudong Shangri-La Hotel, and the Ritz-Carlton Shanghai Pudong.

The hotels located on the north bund offer expansive views of the Bund and Pudong, with both sunrise and sunset, such as W Shanghai - The Bund, and Banyan Tree Shanghai On The Bund.

Where is the Bund, Location & Map

The Bund Shanghai stretches along the western bank of the Huangpu River in the Huangpu District, right in the heart of the city. It is a landscaped avenue for admiring historical buildings and modern cities.

The Bund is also the best platform to watch the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, which is the Iconic attraction of Shanghai located right on the other side of the Huangpu River. The popular night scene pictures of Shanghai are almost taken on the Bund.

Distance from Other Main Shanghai attractions:

About 1.1km from Nanjing Road

About 1.2km from Oriental Pearl TV Tower

About 3.1km from Huangpu River

About 1.3km from Yuyuan Garden

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The morden skyscrapers is the symbol of Shanghaihai
the Bund
The Bund is the best platform to watch the Oriental Pearl TV Tower

How to Get to the Bund

Getting to the Bund in Shanghai is relatively easy due to its central location and excellent transportation connectivity. Remember to check the current transportation schedules and plan your journey accordingly, especially during peak hours.

Option 1: Metro/Subway (Highly Recommended)

The most convenient way is to use Shanghai's developed metro system. Take Line 2 or Line 10 and get off at East Nanjing Road Station, which is located near the Bund. From there, it's a short walk to the waterfront.

Option 2: Taxi (Generally Recommended)

Taxis are widely available in Shanghai . Simply hail a taxi and provide the driver with the destination "The Bund" or "Wai Tan" in Chinese. It's advisable to have the address written down or use a navigation app to ensure a smooth journey.

Option3: Bus (Not Recommended)

Several bus lines serve the Bund area. Check the local bus routes and look for buses that stop near the Bund, such as bus numbers 33, 37, 55, or 65. Be sure to check the bus schedules and stops beforehand.

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Sunrise on the Bund
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The ancient bulidings along the Bund

Best Time to Visit the Bund

  Weather Forecast  

The Best Time of the Year to Visit the Bund in Shanghai

The best time of year to visit the Bund in Shanghai is during the spring (April to May) and autumn (September to November) seasons.

Spring brings blooming flowers and cherry blossoms, adding a touch of natural beauty to the Bund's surroundings. Autumn offers clear skies and cooler temperatures, creating a pleasant atmosphere for exploring the area.

The important thing to note is that the Bund can get crowded, especially during public holidays and peak tourist seasons. To avoid large crowds, it's advisable to visit on weekdays and try to plan your visit outside of major Chinese holidays.

The Best Time of Day to Visit the Bund in Shanghai

The best time of day to visit the Bund is during the evening or night. As the sun sets, the cityscape transforms into a dazzling display of lights, and the buildings along the Bund are illuminated, creating a breathtaking panorama. The night view of the Bund is considered one of the most iconic and captivating sights in Shanghai, or even in China.

During this time, you can witness the stunning contrast between the historical architecture and the modern skyscrapers across the river in Pudong. The illuminated skyline, reflected on the Huangpu River, creates a magical ambiance that truly showcases Shanghai's vibrant energy.

To fully experience the charm of the Bund at night, it's recommended to arrive a bit before sunset to secure a good viewing spot and enjoy the transition from daylight to the mesmerizing nighttime spectacle.

the Bund
The best time of day to visit the Bund is during the evening
the Bund
The best time of year to visit the Bund in Shanghai is during the spring and autumn

How to Plan A Shanghai Day Tour with the Bund?

Start your journey at the Shanghai Museum, where you can explore the fascinating world of art and history. Delve into the exhibits and let yourself be captivated by the rich cultural heritage on display.

Next, make your way to the enchanting Yu Garden, a place of ethereal beauty. Take your time to wander through the pavilions and soak in the tranquility of the lush landscapes. Allow yourself to be mesmerized by the serene ambiance and let it transport you to a state of pure bliss.

Continue your adventure along the vibrant Nanjing Road, known for its lively atmosphere and vibrant colors. Feel the energy pulsating through the bustling streets as you explore the shops, restaurants, and entertainment options. Let the excitement in your heart ignite as you immerse yourself in the vibrant tapestry of this famous road.

Return to the Bund, where the illuminated skyline paints a picture that will forever be etched in your memory. Take a moment to admire the breathtaking views and let the beauty of the surroundings leave an indelible mark on your soul. For an unparalleled perspective of Shanghai, ascend to the top of the Shanghai Tower and witness the panoramic vistas that unfold before your eyes. Marvel at the city's sprawling landscape and let the grandeur of the view take your breath away.

As the day transitions into the evening, step aboard the Huangpu River Cruise, a perfect way to end your tour. Allow the gentle sway of the boat to lull you into a state of tranquility as you cruise along the Huangpu River.

Check more Shanghai itineraries and Shanghai tours >>

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Majestic skyline illuminating the Bund at night
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Reflections of Shanghai's futuristic skyscrapers on the Bund

Tips for Visiting the Bund

1. Visit during different times of the day to experience both the daytime charm and the dazzling nighttime lights.

2. Dress appropriately, especially if you plan to visit upscale venues or restaurants in the area.

3. Try local cuisine and street food to savor the flavors of Shanghai .

4. Be cautious of potential scams and keep your belongings secure.

5. Plan your visit during weekdays or non-peak hours to avoid large crowds.

Explore Shanghai with Local-based Asia Odyssey Travel

Headquartered in China with a local team based in Shanghai, Asia Odyssey Travel is dedicated to providing the best service and ensuring an authentic and unforgettable experience for those looking to explore Shanghai. Our local team offers a range of carefully designed tours, including classic Shanghai tours, Shanghai Day Trips, Shanghai Layover Tours, Museum Tour, Biking Tour, Walking Tour, Disneyland Tour, Water Town Tours, Shanghai Suzhou Tours, and Shanghai Hangzhou Tours to meet your needs and desires, ensuring a pleasant holiday during your Shanghai tour.

Furthermore, as Shanghai serves as an important gateway on China's eastern coast, Asia Odyssey Travel also presents a variety of inspiring ideas through our China tour packages from Shanghai. Our professional travel consultants are always ready to help you customize your Shanghai tour at the most favorable local prices. Contact us now to start planning your dream Shanghai trip!

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