Located on the west bank of the Huangpu River, the Bund is essentially the apex of modern Shanghai. The main drag of the Bund stretches for almost 3 km (1 mi). The tallest buildings in Shanghai and the Oriental Pearl Tower are directly across the river in Pudong.
Towards the north side of the Bund is Huangpu Park (Huángpǔ Gōngyuán; 黄浦公园). This is Shanghai’s oldest and smallest municipal park, established by the forces of the Shanghai Foreign Settlement who didn’t allow Chinese people to enter. Bruce Lee famously kicked down a “No dogs or Chinese allowed” sign outside the entrance in his classic Fists of Fury. Now a huge statue of Mao Zedong can be found in Huangpu Park, along with The Bund Historical Museum (Wàitān Lìshǐ Jì'niàn'guǎn;外滩历史纪念馆; admission: FREE; phone: 5308 8987; hours: 9:00-16:30, closed Sat & Sun). Huangpu Park is also where Suzhou Creek empties into the Huangpu River. Cross Waibaidu Bridge to get to the Astor House and Broadway Mansions hotel (pg 172), and explore the eerie, old-fashioned streets of the North Bund neighborhood.
On a lovely note, Huangpu Park also has the Valentine Wall, a long wall full of multicolored flowers, which displays different geometric designs and is a favorite place for couples to go on romantic strolls and take pictures with either the flowers or Pudong in the background.
At the end of Nanjing Road on the Bund is Chen Yi Square (Chényì Guǎngchǎng; 陈毅广场), on which stands the statue of Chen Yi, the first mayor of Shanghai in New China. The statue is cast with bronze and stands at 5.5 m (18 ft) on top of a 3.5 m (11.5 ft) pedestal of polished red granite.
From south to north, the main buildings on the Bund are:
Asia Building (Yàxìyà Dàlóu; 亚细亚大楼)
Right at the southern end of the Bund, this structure was originally known as the McBain Building and it once housed Royal Dutch Shell’s Asiatic Petroleum Division. Some say that at night the mournful howls of early 20th century Chinese oil riggers can still be heard from its confines.
Address: 1 Zhongshan East Road, Shanghai
The Shanghai Club (Shànghǎi Zǒnghuì Dàlóu; 上海总会大楼)
This building was erected in 1910 as the home for the most exclusive men’s club in the Foreign Settlement. It was once the site of the world’s longest bar and the world’s most despicable expats. As was traditional, membership was restricted to white males “of a certain class.” Nowadays it operates as a luxury hotel and class restrictions are enforced by economics rather than British guns and discrimination.
Address: 2 Zhongshan East Road, Shanghai
The Union Building (Yǒulì Dàlóu; 有利大楼)
Once home to insurance companies, this building was completed in 1916 in the neo-Renaissance style. The old Union Building currently houses a luxury shopping center run by a Singaporean company.
Address: 3 Zhongshan East Road, Shanghai
The Nissin Building (Rìqīng Dàlóu; 日清大楼)
A Japanese shipping company built this structure in 1925. It is now an upscale restaurant with an excellent view from the terrace.
Address: 5 Zhongshan East Road, Shanghai
China Merchants Bank Building (Zhōngguó Tōngshāng Yínháng Dàlóu; 中国通商银行大楼)
This building housed the first Chinese-owned bank in China and it’s currently home to a Dolce & Gabbana flagship store. This is one of the oldest standing structures on the Bund, having been completed in 1887.
Address: 6 Zhongshan East Road, Shanghai
The Great Northern Telegraph Company Building (Dàběi Diànbào Gōngsī Dàlóu; 大北电报公司大楼)
Built in 1907 as the site of the first telephone switch in Shanghai in 1882, now it houses The Bangkok Bank.
Address: 7 Zhongshan East Road, Shanghai
The China Merchants Steam Navigation Company Building (Lúnchuán Zhāoshāng Zǒngjú Dàlóu; 轮船招商总局大楼)
Built in 1901, this is the Bund’s remaining example of neo-Classical external-corridor architecture hailing from the late Victorian era.
Address: 9 Zhongshan East Road, Shanghai
The Pudong Development Bank Building (Pǔdōng Fāzhǎn Yínháng Dàlóu; 浦东发展银行大楼)
When this grand structure was completed in 1923, it was the second tallest bank building in the world. Formerly the headquarters of the Shanghai and Hong Kong Development Bank (HSBC), its original owners lost a bid to reclaim the structure in 1996. It was once famously (and very arrogantly) referred to as “the most luxurious building between the Suez Canal and the Bering Strait.” Such arrogance was not entirely unfounded – it is a magnificent neo-classical structure. Make sure to view the mosaic ceiling murals from the main lobby.
Address: 12 Zhongshan East Road, Shanghai
Shanghai Customs House (Hǎiguān Dàlóu; 海关大楼)
Perhaps the most iconic building on the Bund, the Customs House features a miniature version of London’s Big Ben. It was built on the site of a previous Chinese customs house, and unlike many of the Bund’s classical structures, it still serves its original purpose.
Address: 13 Zhongshan East Road, Shanghai
The Bank of Communications Building (Jiāotōng Yínháng Dàlóu; 交通银行大楼)
The last building to be built on the Bund in 1948, it now houses the Shanghai Council of Trade Unions.
Address: 14 Zhongshan East Road, Shanghai
The Russo-Chinese Bank Building (Huá’é Dàoshèng Yínháng Dàlóu; 华俄道胜银行大楼)
Now the Shanghai Foreign Exchange Trade Center, this building was finished in 1901.
Address: 15 Zhongshan East Road, Shanghai
The Bank of Taiwan Building (Táiwān Yínháng Dàlóu; 台湾银行大楼)
Constructed in 1924, it now houses the China Merchants Bank.
Address: 16 Zhongshan East Road, Shanghai
The North China Daily News Building (Zìlín Xībào Dàlóu; 字林西报大楼)
Built in 1921, it housed the at the time North China Daily News, the most influential English language newspaper in Shanghai. Today, it’s where AIA Insurance calls home.
Address: 17 Zhongshan East Road, Shanghai
The Chartered Bank Building (Màijiālì Yínháng Dàlóu; 麦加利银行大楼)
The Shanghai headquarters of the Standard Chartered Bank moved here upon the building’s 1923 completion. Today you’ll find designer shops and a creative exhibition space.
Address: 18 Zhongshan East Road, Shanghai
Palace Hotel (Huìzhōng Fàndiàn; 汇中饭店)
Today it forms part of the Peace Hotel and is one of the nicest lodgings on the Bund.
Address: 19 Zhongshan East Road, Shanghai
Sassoon House (Shāxùn Dàshà; 沙逊大厦)
Along with the Cathay Hotel, this building was built by Sir Victor Sassoon and the top floor was the residence of Victor Sassoon. At ten stories, it is the tallest building on the Bund. Just like the heady times of the 1930s, this building is still famous for hosting jazz performances. Today, it forms the other part of the Peace Hotel.
Address: 20 Zhongshan East Road, Shanghai
The Bank of China Building (Zhōngguó Yínháng Dàlóu; 中国银行大楼)
This is perhaps the only building on the Bund whose name hasn’t changed. It was originally planned to be taller, but Victor Sassoon insisted no other building in the area should be taller than his.
Address: 23 Zhongshan East Road, Shanghai
The Yokohama Specie Bank Building (Zhèngjīn Yínháng Dàlóu; 正金银行大楼)
Built in 1924, the Yokohama Specie Bank Building is now the Industry and Commerce Bank of China building.
Address: 24 Zhongshan East Road, Shanghai
The Yangtsze Insurance Association Building (Yángzǐ Dàlóu; 扬子大楼)
This 1916 building is now the Shanghai branch of the Agricultural Bank of China.
Address: 26 Zhongshan East Road, Shanghai
Jardine Matheson Building (Yíhé Yángháng Dàlóu; 怡和洋行大楼)
Built in 1920, it housed the then-powerful Jardine Matheson company. Today it is now known as the House of Roosevelt, which houses the Rolex Flagship Store, the largest wine cellar in China, three restaurants and a private club.
Address: 27 Zhongshan East Road, Shanghai
The Banque de l’Indochine Building (Dōngfāng Huìlǐ Yínháng Dàlóu; 东方汇理银行大楼)
Currently the Everbright Bank of China Shanghai branch, this structure was built in 1914 and once housed the French bank, Banque de l’Indochine.
Address: 29 Zhongshan East Road, Shanghai
British Consulate General (Yīngguó Zǒng Lǐngshìguǎn; 英国总领事馆)
Once the Consulate-General of the United Kingdom, the building has been renovated and in 2010 re-opened as 1 Waitanyuan (Wàitānyuán Yīhào; 外滩源壹号), a private dining facility for the government. Part of the site also houses the Peninsula Hotel.
Address: 33 Zhongshan East Road, Shanghai