The Bund in Shanghai (Waitan) – Opening hours, highlights, and tips

The bund, shanghai

The bund, also known as Waitan, is the icon of Shanghai, the must-see for tourists, and irrefutably the most prosperous area in China. Because of its unparalleled geographical location (a handy place to load and unload cargo from the sea), the UK, France, the US, and a lot of other countries had constructed banks and trading houses here, making it the financial center of the whole east Asia during the colonial period from 1843 to 1945. Since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, numerous skyscrapers have been built across the Huangpu River, forming an interesting contrast between old and modern Shanghai.

Table of Contents

Basic Information

Opening time all-day
Landscape lighting19.00-23.00 (April 1st– October 31st)
18.00-22.00 (November 1st – March 31st)
Estimated length of tour1-3 hours

Hand-Picked Activities for You

Location and Transportation

The bund is in the center of Shanghai and is the origin of this oriental magic city. It stretches 1.5 kilometers from Yanan East Road in the south to the Waibaidu Bridge in the north. To its east is the Huangpu River, and to its west are the various historical buildings.

Bus: there are 33 bus routes passing the Bund, including 37, 307, 330, 868, 33, 55, 65, 305, 307, and more. You can find the most appropriate one on Baidu Maps or Google Maps.

Subway: Take subway line 2 or 10, get off at East Nanjing Road Station, and walk to the east for about 10 minutes to reach the Bund.

Ferry: if you are on the east bank of Huangpu River, you can also choose a ferry to get to the Bund. It departs every 12 or 15 minutes and costs 2 RMB.

Highlights of the Bund

Museum of Exotic Buildings

Museum of Exotic Buildings

There are 52 buildings in Gothic, baroque, neoclassical, Beaux Arts, and other styles constructed during the colonial period in the bund. All of them are well preserved and still in function nowadays. If you are an architect or interested in architecture, this area will be your paradise since you can hardly find any other place housing buildings in so many different styles in the world. Even if you know nothing about architecture, you will still be amazed at their marvelous designs and sophisticated details.

Waibaidu Bridge (Garden Bridge)

Waibaidu Bridge (Garden Bridge)

Waibaidu Bridge is the first all-steel bridge in China, one of the iconic buildings in old Shanghai, and the major passage connecting different districts of the metropolis. The bridge was initially built in 1856 by Wills, a British working in Jardine Matheson, and was thus named the Will’s Bridge. In 1873, the original bridge fell into disrepair, and the Soochow Greek Bridge Company replaced it with a new one. Because the new bridge was close to the garden in the bund, it was called Garden Bridge or Waibaidu bridge by the locals. When it came to 1907, the Shanghai Municipal Council decided to establish another bridge after part of the second Will’s Bridge sank into the river, and this is the one we see now.

Waibaidu bridge looks nothing special from today’s perspective, but it is still rated as the best place to appreciate the sunset in Shanghai. If you happen to be there at dusk, you should not miss the wonderful view.

Huangpu River Cruise

Huangpu River Cruise

It is wonderful to appreciate the view of the Bund from the bank. Still, you will get a completely different experience from the ship, which allows you to enjoy the exotic buildings from another angle, feel the breeze from the river, and, most importantly, avoid the crowd.

Many companies provide the river cruise services. Their prices vary according to the boat’s size and the cruise’s time. But generally, the prices are around 100 RMB, and you should book the ticket at least 2 hours in advance.

Lujiazui Financial Center

Lujiazui Financial Center

Right across Huangpu River from the bund is the Lujiazui Financial Center, which houses fancy hotels, conference centers, headquarters of many banks, and other skyscrapers, namely the representation of contemporary Shanghai. They form a stark contrast with the various buildings on the bund. If you are familiar with China’s modern history, this sight will stir your thoughts and make you wonder what this place will be like a century later.

Huangpu Park

Huangpu Park

At the north end of the bund is Huangpu Park, the first public park in China. It features the monument of the people’s heroes, the history museum of the bund, and the bank. It is said to be the best place to appreciate the view of Huangpu River. But honestly, the park itself is not that impressive. If you arrive at the bund before the landscape lights are on, you may take a stroll or rest there.

Vlog about the Bund

Find the Best Hotel near the Bund

Useful Tips Summarized from Reviews

Choose the Right Spot for Photos: The Bund is usually crowded all year round. If you want to capture photos with fewer people and still get the iconic Oriental Pearl Tower, consider heading to the northern part of the Bund. You can also take pictures of the “Little Egg” (referring to the smaller buildings resembling eggs) and the illuminated promenade. However, note that the scenery might be relatively monotonous compared to other areas.

Avoid the Crowds on Nanjing East Road: The pathway leading from Nanjing East Road to the Bund is typically crowded, making it difficult to move around freely. To bypass the crowds, opt for the adjacent Dianchi Road, where you’ll encounter significantly fewer people, allowing for a more relaxed stroll.

Skip the Bund Sightseeing Bus: Waiting in line for the Bund sightseeing bus, especially for the open-top deck (only the back half of the second floor lacks a roof), can be time-consuming, often taking up to two hours. Many visitors find it not worth the wait due to the crowds and limited views. Instead, explore the area on foot or consider other modes of transportation.

Enjoy the Night Scenery: The Bund’s nighttime scenery is a must-see experience. However, you don’t need to spend a lot on a sightseeing ferry to enjoy it. Opt for a budget-friendly option by taking a ferry from Dongchang Road Ferry Terminal to Jinling East Road Ferry Terminal for only 2 yuan. This short trip will allow you to enjoy the enchanting night view of the Huangpu River.

Interesting Facts

Attractions near the Bund

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