The Bund, Shanghai
You look at the Bund, with futuristic buildings in one bank of the river, and classical ones in the other, and something looks... odd.
I was not very familiar with Chinese architecture but... those buildings... it seems that I saw them somewhere else, but not in China!
Russia! Of course!
The old Bund is a mixture of styles and epochs, displayed before you as a history book.
I had read lots of tips about Shanghai and the abundance of street sellers - particularly along The Bund - before I went. One of the tips was to offer approx 1/3rd (and no more) of what the seller wanted (as a starting bid). Let me tell you that they have now got wise to this. So what you need to do is fix a price which you think is below fair. For example fake Rolexes will be offered to you for between 400 and 800 yuan depending on the confidence of the seller (as at Nov 2007) Should you want to purchase offer only 20 yuan and stick to it. Eventually the sellers will accept your offer of 20 for most models, the most expensive going for no more than 50. Clearly this is less than 1/3rd of the starting price but you will succeed. Many of the sellers will offer to take you to their shops for more stock etc - DON'T GO. Just tell them "No Shop" and eventually they will fetch more stock to wherever you are at the time.
If you dont want to buy just ignore them or say no. Once you have made an offer - even a daft one - they will expect you to honour it and if you don't you can expect lots of hassle.
Fondest memory: I cant say that I have any fond memories. I wont ever go there again unless I have to. If you like looking in lots of designer shops at the endless fashions etc then you will be in your element. If, like me, you would like to see places of interest then Shanghai doesnt make it.
In the middle of my stay there I decided to fly to Beijing for the weekend and see the Great Wall and the Forbidden City and that really is good value. In fact I didnt want to go back to Shanghai.
Watch out for the pirate taxis, the only way you can recognise them is to look for the drivers licence which should be displayed in the front of the cab. If it isn't there, then neither will there me a meter and you will be heading for trouble. The cabs look identical to the licensed cabs so make sure you check the license! If they do't have one DON'T GET IN THE CAB!
The Bund is the historical waterfront of Shanghai along the Huangpu River and the Zhongshan Lu. It was here that the foreign powers set up their commercial headquarters in the early part of the 20th century. For many when images of Shanghai come to mind, the imagine the Bund. It is the most frequently photographed section of the city and for many tourists, the starting point of their tour of Shanghai. What makes the stretch of Zhongshan Lu, so remarkable is the very fine collection of art deco buildings that straddle along the west lane of the street. These are some of the finest examples of art deco architecture that you will see anywhere. Most of the buildings have been restored to their earlier splendor after having left to decay during the Mao years. These buildings were the corporate Chinese headquarters for commercial banks, consulates, hotels and custom houses. Although for a view of these splendid buildings, it is best to go across the street to the Bund Promenade, it is a good thing to wander into some of these buildings on your own and visit there lavish interiors. Sadly, as these are private buildings, you will not get much beyond the lobbies but it is worth a try even if you only get this far. Some of the lobbies are elaborately decorated and provide further examples of art deco architecture in detail.
The promenade itself is a great place to view the modern office towers of the Pudong. It also can be something of a pain for there are more than a few hawkers here attempting to sell you knock off Rolodex-es and other junk. It is also here that you can hook up with a tour boat and cruise up the Huangpu River, another worthy event that I highly recommend. You should also consider a visit at night when the buildings are all lit up by lights. It is spectacular.
The end bit of the Bund is to me really glam.
Three very nice buildings here. These buildings are almost Shanghai Bund landmark.
The one with the bell tower also known as Big Ching is really relaly beautiful - go close and admire the mosaic work. in the lobby.
Next door is the even more spectacular:
And the most gorgeous is tihis one with a huge huge done. It is the Shanghai Pudong Development Bank - i took a picture inside it and nearly got a big tell off from the guards!!!
you will see lots of very very nice hetiage buildings build in many variations each calling for your attention. The one with the green pyramid shape roof is Peace hotel once upon a time the tallest building. The rooftop has excellent viewing at a small fee.
Many years ago, we stayed there once... the hotel is old but has a colonial style. We stayed about 4 nights, and it was OK...the rooms has lots of wood, and the lifts are unique - the old chain gated typed.
The once upon glamorous hotel was actually the private residence of the Sassoon family and as a grand hotel, then called as Cathay.
If you go to the ballroom on the 8th floor it is deck with lots of trimmings of the many years ago era and also the bar, you see lots of Art Deco (reminds me of French Rene Lalique works) and they are gorgeous.
Steven Spielberg filmed part of Empire of the Sun here.
There are some more nicer buildings...this is a rather unique red white one...it is part of the Peace Hotel....once called the Palace hotel but not as nice as the Peace.
Next door is a striking building with huge huge stone columns.... and the AIA Building Renaissance style was once upon the time the building of the oldest English newspaper in China.
Favorite thing: The bund museum is under the obelisk - lots of pictures of old colonial museum and early days of the Bund. It is here I found that the rich tycoons who build all those glorious buildings were big time drug lords!!!
Favorite thing: Just below of the obelisk is the Bund Museum, where you can see pictures of yesteryears, and also how the Bund was so bustling. I found out from the museum that the people who build all those glorious buildings along the bund made their money through the Opium trade...all these drug warlords were the tycoons of those days, People like Sassoon etc made huge amount of money introducing opium to my ancestors!!!! killing many of my rich granfather, gran uncles etc.
Here marks the start of the Huángpu Gongyuán or park which in the olden days had some park rules...the harsh ruling that prohibits Chinese and dogs into the park...
which suggest the underlying attitude of the people over the Chinese.
Across from is the Russian consulate, which was built much much later than Astor House...some how blocking the wonderful Huangpu view a little.
The neo classical building was originally a hotel which lots of seamen stayed here.
we started our journey on the Puxi side of the Bund, from the Waibadu bridge. Here is the best view you can get of the Pudong side of the Bund.
This steel bridge replaces a wooden one during early 1900s. Across from the bridge there are several old colonial building worth noting.
Fondest memory: There is good old Shanghai history of the bridge. Intially a wooden drawbridge, the bridge can be opened to let boats pass through. The builder Wills also collected toll from people and cars crossing the bridge. And people protested over it. Years on, the Shanghai Council built a free bridge side by side to the Wills bridge.
It was called Wai Bai Du Bridge from then on...which means Outer Free Ferry Bridge.
Across the road, is Pujiang Hotel, which is another old colonial building, built mid 1880s, and very very nice looking. Apparently it was the first hotel to have telephones and electric lights in China.
At the front of it a note shows the hotel built as Astor House Hotel, was erected in 1846 and during 1990-1997 it houses the Shanghai Secrities Exchange.
Pictures of Einstein, Chaplin & other VIP who stayed there are hung at the hotel lobby.
we also learnt that the hotel is renovating its old Shanghai famous Peacock ballroom back to its glam days of 1920s.
It's best to view Shanghai Bund during night time, where streets are abuzzed with activities & buildings decorated with flash lights.
Fondest memory: The night scene at Shanghai Bund is a must-see for all tourists to Shanghai. The view is so spectacular & you will be mesmerised by Shanghai's beauty & sophistication.
Favorite thing: There is alot of action on the river! Boats,Ships,Junks & and barges of all sizes are roaming the waters! I could spend hours just watching the boats go by! Sadly I only saw one Junk with it's sails up and it was a prop being used in a Steven Speilburg movie so that doesn't count!
The Bund is the classic image of Shanghai and the city's main attraction. Sweeping along the western side of the Huangpu river, the majestic buildings date back to Shanghai's important historical days. Many banks and financial companies built impressive offices here in the early 20th century when Shanghai was the financial capital of Asia.
The city side of The Bund is packed with classic architecture. Buildings to look out for include, the old Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, the Customs House and its landmark clock, the Bank of China and the Peace Hotel.