Discover the Bund, Shanghai's most popular place (aka Waitan), with it's colonial buildings and skyscraper views, using our travel tips and tour map.
For a century, the Bund has been one of the most recognizable symbols and the pride of Shanghai. The architecture along the Bund is a living museum of the colonial history of the 1800s. You've never been to Shanghai if you haven't seen the Bund.
- Chinese: 外滩 wài tān /why tan/ "Outer Beach"
- Length: 1.5 kilometers (0.93 mile)
- Popular activities: photography, walking, seeing the night scenery, taking a cruise
- Suited to: history lovers, photography enthusiasts
- Time needed: 1-2 hours
The Best Things to Do on the Bund
Walk Along the Bund to Appreciate the Historical Buildings
The Bund is a mile-long stretch of waterfront promenade along the Huangpu River. To the west of this stretch stand 52 buildings of various architectural styles, including Gothic, baroque, and neoclassical styles. It is often referred to as "the museum of buildings".
The best way to appreciate the buildings is to have a walk along the Bund. Roaming among the architectural complexes, you'll have a better understanding of the century-long charm of this city.
We have specially designed a 2½-hour in-depth Bund culture discovery tour for those who want to learn more interesting stories about the Bund and old Shanghai...
- Start: Broadway Mansions
- Finish: Meteorological Signal Tower
- Distance: 1.3 kilometers
- Time needed: 2½hours
- What you should not miss: a museum in Astor House Hotel; a movie poster gallery in Peace Hotel; the beautiful mosaic ceiling of Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank; Lovers' wall or the Valentine wall.
- Best times to walk: It can be done either by day or night; during the evening the buildings are closed but the night view of the Bund is amazing.
- Bring an umbrella or a rain coat in rainy seasons, and a hat and sun cream on sunny days. Prepare some water and food.
For more details see for example Day 1 of our customizable 2-Day Shanghai Essence Tour itinerary.
Take a Huangpu River Cruise
After a walk along the Bund, you can consider taking a Huangpu River cruise. On the cruise, you will see the historical architecture on the Bund, as well as the modern skyscrapers opposite the Huangpu River, giving you a distinctive contrast between modern life and the past.
There are several tour lengths you can choose from, from a 30-minute cruise to a 3½-hour cruise.
You are recommended to take a night cruise and you will be impressed by the enchanting night view of Shanghai.
If your time is limited and you want to save some money, you can take a ferry across to Pudong. It costs 2 yuan but still provides an opportunity to see the scenery on both sides of the river.
Watch the Locals Doing Their Morning Exercises
The Bund is not just a place for tourists but is also a great place for the local people to do their morning exercises. If you wake up early, you can go to the Bund and watch the locals practicing tai chi, jogging, and more. It is a way to experience the real lifestyle of the local people.
Spend Some Time in Huangpu Park
At the northern end of the Bund is Huangpu Park. It is like a small oasis situated between the Bund and busy shopping areas. The manicured lawn and gardens particularly stand out as there is not much green space in this part of Shanghai.
It is a wonderful place to have a rest and to take photos, day or night.
Where to Shoot Panoramic Views of the Bund?
There are three ideal locations to see the full view of the Bund: Pudong Binjiang Avenue, on a Huangpu River Cruise, and one of the skyscrapers in Pudong like Shanghai World Financial Center, Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Jin Mao Tower and Shanghai Tower.
If you want to take beautiful photos of the Bund, we advise you to hire a guide who can give you tips about when and where to go. A knowledgeable guide can arrange different places to take photos according to the weather.
The Best Time for a Visit
The best time to visit is before sunset. You can enjoy the sunset over the Huangpu River and stay until late evening to gaze at Shanghai's spectacular skyline.
Travel Essentials for Planning a Trip
- Location: Extends from Jinling Road in the south to the Waibaidu Bridge over Suzhou Creek in the north, on the western bank of the Huangpu River.
- How to get there: You can take Metro Line 2 or Line 10 to East Nanjing Road Station and then walk for about 10 minutes to the Bund.
- Open: day and night
- Be aware that: The Bund is crowded in the evening, especially during public holidays. Take good care of your children if you travel with them.
- Yuyuan ("Happiness Garden") houses a wonderful collection of classic Chinese traditional buildings and it is an oasis in the bustling city.
- The Oriental Pearl TV Tower is the icon of Shanghai. You can get a panoramic view of the Bund and the Huangpu River. And it's better to visit at night for the spectacular night view.
- Nanjing Road is Shanghai's busiest shopping street lined with top-end shopping malls, old-brand shops, and traditional eateries.
Tour the Bund with China Highlights
The Bund is a landmark of Shanghai and is full of history and culture. To travel with a professional guide is necessary and helpful if you want to learn the story behind it. Please feel free to contact us if you need any assistance on your tour arrangement.
Here are our most popular Shanghai tours including the Bund:
- 2-Day Shanghai and Zhujiajiao Water Town Tour
- See more ideas of Shanghai tours
- Contact us to tell your requirements and ideas