The Bund: A Walk Along Shanghai’s Historic Riverside

The Bund, also known as Waitan, is one of the most recognizable symbols of Shanghai. The buildings lining the Huangpu River at The Bund hail back to Shanghai’s colonial era of the 1800s. The area stretches along a mile of waterfront promenade on the west bank of the river.

The Bund is made up of just 52 buildings. They boast a number of diverse architectural styles from Neo-Classical to Baroque and Gothic. It’s this diversity that’s given The Bund its reputation as a veritable open-air museum of international architecture.

Just across the river, the spectacular sight of the bristling, skyscraper-swarmed skyline of Lujiazui in Pudong District awaits.

Fantastic glass and steel towers shimmer in the sunlight and glow with neon colour by night. The modern-day Shanghai night sky is dominated by the beautiful Oriental Pearl Tower, Shanghai World Financial Centre, and the magnificent Shanghai Tower.

What to expect in the Bund

There are several ways to check out The Bund, anything from a walking tour to an evening cruise down the river. It takes just an hour or two to walk the entire length of The Bund at a relaxed pace.

On your journey, look out for the Union Church, dating back to 1885. In the same area, you’ll find the former British Consulate, the first foreign building to go up in Shanghai.

While you’re there, take a stroll through Huangpu Park and relax in the cool of the shaded gardens.

The Bund is open day and night, but by far the best time to enjoy the experience is in the late afternoon and evening. Sitting back and watching the sun sink beneath the Huangpu River and gazing upon the lights of Pudong’s skyline is as memorable an experience as any in Shanghai.

Evening View of Pudong Skyline in Shanghai, China

If you take your walk through the Bund in the early morning, you won’t be alone. Hordes of locals take to the streets in the early morning, walking or jogging along the riverbank, some flying kites or exercising.

Find the 1,700-meter Lover’s Walk and the Monument to the People’s Heroes. The Bund History Museum is free of charge and open between 9.00 and 16.15 or take a stroll through Huangpu Park.

Waibadu Bridge, also in the area, is a romantic spot that has been used as the setting in many movies and TV series. It is the perfect place to watch the sunset.

Taking a cruise along the Huangpu River is quite surreal. Since you’ll experience modern Shanghai on one side and the older version, The Bund, on the other. Here, east meets west and tradition meets the future. Cruises take about 50 minutes. They are available between 11:00 and 21:30.

How to get to the Bund

The Bund is easy to access via Shanghai’s public transportation system:

  • If you use the Metro, Line 2 and 10 will take you to the East Nanjing Road Station.
  • The Bund Sightseeing Tunnel is an experience on its own. The high-speed train can get you there in 3 to 5 minutes.
  • There are a large number of buses that will take you into the area. This is generally a more difficult to navigate here than the metro system.
  • There are also a number of ferries that will take you across the Huangpu River to Lujiazui in Pudong.

Ryan O'Rourke is a seasoned traveler and the founder & editor of Treksplorer, a fiercely independent guide to mid-range luxury travel for busy people. With over 20 years of extensive travel experience, Ryan has journeyed through over 50 countries, uncovering hidden gems and sharing firsthand, unsponsored insights on what to see & do and where to eat, drink & stay. Backed by his travel experience and in-depth research, Ryan’s travel advice and writing has been featured in publications like the Huffington Post and Matador Network. You can connect with Ryan on Twitter/X at @rtorourke.

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