The Bund is the best-known landmark in Shanghai. On this stretch of Zhongshan Road East lies the most important buildings left from colonial Shanghai including the Peace Hotel, the Bank of China, and Shanghai Gold Exchange. Externally these buildings have been well preserved and stand proud in their original grandeur. Internally they have been renovated to house some major financial institutions as well as Shanghai's most expensive and luxurious hotels, restaurants and bars.
One of the key features of the Bund is the contrast it provides. On the West side of Zhongshan Road sits the historic European style buildings, the oldest of which is the Jin Jiang hotel built in 1906, this is called 'Puxi' . Just opposite on the Eastern side of the river is the area called 'Pudong' where Shanghai's most modern constructions can be seen. These include the Pearl TV Tower and the Jing Mao Tower. These ultra-modern even space age looking buildings form the most famous view of Pudong's Lu Jia Zui which has come to symbolize Shanghai today.
Both tourists and local Shanghainese alike gravitate towards the Bund as the heart of central Shanghai. Most people come for leisure, yet the Bund is actually home to many of the largest financial institutions of the city, and of China. Though Lujiazui is an important financial center of the city, Zhongshan Road E is considered China's Wall Street. Thus the Bund symbolizes Shanghai's rising star as China's fastest developing city, and is fittingly reminiscent of Shanghai's heyday in the 1930's.
Things to do and see on the Bund:
1. Don't miss Huangpu Park, the nearest observing point to "touch" the Pearl tower. A long-distance telescope (1 yuan) gives you closer views of Pudong.
2. The Bund Historical Museum, at the base of the Monument to the People's Heroes, has an interesting collection of historical photographs.
(1 Zhongshan Dong Er Road, Huangpu Park, Tel: 63216542, Metro: Henan Road, Open: 9am – 4pm daily, Admission: free)
3. Huangpu ferry (tickets 0.5 yuan) departs from the pier near Shiliupu (just south of the Meteorological tower) every 15 minutes and arrives at the opposite bank near Bingjiang Avenue. It’s a cheap way to get a good look at the river and its surrounds.
4. Some will prefer the Huangpu River Cruise. There are 5 companies offering cruises and ticket prices range from 45 yuan to 100 yuan. Departure times aren't fixed, but usually there are three sailings a day, one in the morning, one in the afternoon and one in the evening. You can check the schedule posted at the Jingling Pier (just 200 meters away from the ferry terminal), where you also can buy a ticket and board the boat.