The Bund and Huangpu River

Huangpu River, Pudong
As the mother river of Shanghai, Huangpu river has been nourishing the people and this piece of land for centuries. It originates from southeast part of Shanghai and flows through Shanghai city till meets with Yangtze River at its east outlet. Now it has become one of the busiest inner land rivers in China with thousands of business boats and ships traveling along, which plays an important role in the fast development of Shanghai in the last few decades. By sailing along the Huangpu river in a cruise boat, it presents with a good comparison between the old and the new on both side: the orient Pearl TV Tower, International Conversion Center, Jin Mao Building and the newly rising Pudong New Area on the east bank, while the Monument Tower to the People's Heroes, the famous Waibaidu Bridge and Huangpu Park on the west...It naturally divided Shanghai into PuXi District(Old Shanghai) and Pudong District(new Shanghai)which are linked up through bridges and under water tunnels.

The Bund and Huangpu River
The Bund refers exclusively to the west bank of Huangpu River. It runs 1.5 kilometers from the north to the south, with the river flowing to the east and 52 blocks of old buildings to the west. The buildings are featured with various building styles such as the Baroque, Renaissance, Roman and Classic, Gothic, some are even in Chinese and western combination etc. They are built by the foreigners who turned Shanghai into a concession area in the 19 century when Shanghai was forced to open its gate to the western world and regarded as the "Paradise of adventurers". It use to be where the westerners controlling Shanghai and even China over administration and jurisdiction, thus turned Shanghai into a "country within a country". Now all of the buildings have been turned into other uses, such as hotels, banks, restaurants, shops, consulates and other office functions. But as a good combination of different building styles, you can never see the same kind anywhere else in the world, which is actually an art gallery now; as a good mirror of history, it maintains to be the symbol of Shanghai and memory of that humiliating period, which would certainly remind the upcoming people never make the same mistake in future.

"The Bund" was derived from the Anglo-Indian term that literally means "a muddy embankment", where people drive carts and handling port business. At the beginning of the 19th century, the area was a mere shallow waterfront covered with reeds. In the morning it's the popular place for people doing exercise, and when night approaches, it becomes the lovers' paradise. With all neon lights on, it's hard to say how charming and romantic the Bund and Huangpu river area is by words.

At the northwestern end of the Bund is Huangpu Park. It was forbidden territory to Chinese people for years, unless they were accompanying employers. Today, the park is free and open to everyone; it is a well-maintained walkway providing excellent views over the river to Pudong and down the river to the old Customs House and other colonial relics; the triangle shape structure erected to the north is the Monument of People's heroes, which is for commemorating thousands of martyrs died for the liberation of Shanghai in 1949; the human statue standing on the Bund is Chenyi, the first Shanghai mayor who contributed a lot to Shanghai since it's liberation.

To the opposite of the Bund, there stands another symbol of Shanghai-Oriental TV tower, which is the tallest TV tower in Asia and the third tallest in the world with a height of 468 meters. The lower sphere is an exhibition hall and the upper on it is actually a revolving restaurant; Jinmao(much gold)tower just stands besides. With 88 floors and a height of 420.05 meters, it's regarded by public as the third tallest building in the world, the tallest in China. From the 56th to the 88th floors, it belongs to the Grand Hyatt Hotel, the highest hotel in the world, and the floors below are used as the offices of different companies and enterprises. Right besides the Jinmao Tower, we're having the Global Financial Center built with a height of 72 meters higher than the present Jinmao building, which intends to be the tallest in the world in coming years. It’s hard to imagine that Pudong High-tech Development Zone as we can see today was just poor farmland with shabby houses and trashes gathering around decades ago. We’re definitely amazed at the huge changes happened and happening in this city.

Tips of visiting the Bund and Huangpu River

1. Walking distance: easy leisure walks on the Bund, where you may look over to see the Huangpu River flowing by; when the neon lights on, it turns another appearance which is more impressive and remind you of any western modern city. No wonder Shanghai is named as the "Big apple"(originally "big apple" refers to New York in the U.S.) in China.

2. it's accessible for wheelchair to go through, the ramp leading up to the Bund is not steep. No steps.

3. Restroom facility not available on the Bund, only one available in the Huangpu River park which is not very convenient and clean to use, only recommended when emergency.

4. Illegal venders strolling around waiting for the chance to sell cheap but not really good stuff to visitors, sometimes they're pushy and aggressive, and cheat visitors very often. So highly suggest that better not to buy any from those people.

5. Half hour is ok to make the visit. Don"t miss the "Kodak Moment" with the Pudong behind, and another with the architectures exhibition on the other side. This is exactly the right way to take the visit of Shanghai home.