There is no better place to be in Shanghai on a beautiful blue sky day than the Bund. Like a lovely necklace, the Bund accentuates the city’s beauty and highlights its many charms. The promenade stretches for one mile along the banks of the busy Huangpu River, with the grand buildings of the former British Concession standing guard. The showpiece is the HSBC Building, a domed neo-classical building constructed in 1923. The Customs House, another stunner, was built in 1927 and its clock tower was meant to imitate Big Ben in England. While many of the buildings now house foreign banks, hotels and restaurants, the Customs House is still being used for its original purpose.
Across the river, the iconic skyscrapers of Pudong glisten in the sun. I love that skyline, with the purple globes of the Oriental Pearl TV Tower on the left and the bottle opener top of Shanghai World Financial Center on the right. For visitors wishing to go up to the observation decks of those towering buildings, there are ferries to take them over the river. But for a truly unique experience, they can also take the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel under the river. I’ve heard that you can ride through the tunnel in electric cars, but I’ll have to investigate further.
The Bund underwent a major renovation ahead of the 2010 World Expo and a plethora of dining and shopping options were built on the walk below the promenade. Another new addition is the Monument to the People’s Heroes, a soaring concrete structure that memorializes those who died during Shanghai’s revolutionary struggles. Other notable statues are the Ever Victorious Army Monument, which features a man waving a a giant flag, and a bronze of Mr. Chen Yi, the first Communist Mayor of Shanghai.