Saturday, June 02, 2018

Shanghai Style: Meet "The Bund" and "Pudong Skyline"

If someone visiting Shanghai only has a few hours and want to quickly visit the city to experience it in a nutshell, then a stroll on the stunning Bund to view the Pudong Skyline is what I would strongly recommend.

The view of Pudong skyline from the Bund. Boat cruises ply the river back and forth during the day and especially at night when the skyline displays its colourful lights.

The Bund is an embanked quay on the western side of the Huangpu River running parallel to Zhongshan Road where many notable historical buildings stand. This area in the city is the former Shanghai International Settlement and is adjacent to the old walled city of Shanghai.

Before the Chinese civil war, the Bund was home to many financial institutions, trading houses, and consulates from western countries. When the Communist party took control of the country, the Bund was converted for government use and other purposes. However, the new China (1990's onwards) has slowly transformed the area to boost tourism. It has succeeded.

Across the Bund on the Huangpu River is the gorgeous Pudong Skyline or the Lujiazui skyscrapers.

[To read the rest of the post and see more pictures, click the READ MORE link below]

The Bund is facing the Pudong District, home to the Lujiazui finance area of Shanghai. The skyline is better known as Pudong skyline but locals call them Lujiazui as well, referring to the area.

The best time to visit the Bund is, of course, in the evening. The illumination of the elegant buildings on the Bund, the dazzling display of lights of the Pudong skyline and the buildings surrounding the area is just magical. The atmosphere and energy of this place are just amazing; this is where historical buildings meet modern high-rise superstructures.

This, really is, is a must see and experience when in Shanghai.

On Zhongshan Road stands proudly the beautiful historical buildings, many of which have been converted into hotels, high-end stores, and restaurants with rooftop bars. I guess you know where I am getting on. The Bund is a great place to hang out from the cosy lounge or bar with the gorgeous panorama of the Pudong skyline, but I will reserve a separate post about this (Hint: I visited one of the rooftop bars!).

The buildings on the Bund/Zhongshan Road are illuminated in the evening.

The Bund waterfront promenade is approximately 2.6 kilometers. It stretches from Huangpu Park near Waibaidu Bridge in the north all the way to the Ferry Terminal in the south.

The Custom House on the Bund/Zhongshan Road. The building has remained as a Customs House until today and is one of the iconic symbols of the Bund in Shanghai.

I also love the fact that the embankment is really huge and wide. The waterfront boulevard is approximately 2.6 kilometers so its the perfect venue to stroll on a lazy, hopefully not so torrid day, or on a balmy evening. Although thousands of people visit here every night, there seems to be enough space to walk on. There is police patrolling everywhere to make sure of safety and order.

At the lower end of the embankment, which is facing Zhongshan Road is a massive stretch of a vertical (wall) garden. I really loved this! It gave me warm fuzzy feelings for my new house where I will be installing a framed vertical garden in my kitchen. No flowers though, just plants.

This is the reality of it all. The crowd here can be suffocating but you just have to walk a few meters to the left or right and you are okay. The Bund promenade is huge but people tend to stay in the center to get the best picture of the Pudong skyline.

Aren't these vertical (flower) gardens lovely?

On the embanked quay itself, I found a number of street vendors selling food, drinks, and gadgets, however, the whole hawking scene is very organised that it does not look like a market. There are also the very popular photography vendors offering services inclusive of ball gowns for women and tuxedo for men.

China, in my opinion, has a bizarre addiction to photography. I am not talking about selfies here, but the obsession of having professionally styled portraits of themselves.

Engaged couples, for example, must have pre-wedding portraits for the world to see. This is not just a tradition but a burgeoning business in China. Most of these portraits are choreographed and staged, and the services in this industry are getting more professional and competitive than ever. Some photography services offer location and theme-based pictorial setting packages. A few months ago I read about a flying veil that landed on the head of the bride as she walked down the aisle. It wowed everyone. Well, it was the headline news! Did I mention in my previous post that the moneyed Chinese love the glitter, glamour and the pageantry?

Nothing can get romantic than this.

Pre-wedding photo shoot at the Waibaidu Bridge. Pedestrians have to stop and give way to the staged photography. Why not take a shot of the couple as well? =)

You know, I could have taken more photos of these pictorials with different couples and ladies...

Anyway, at the Bund, the photography fashion trend is a red ball gown with a big dramatic sweeping train for the lady and a sharp black tuxedo for the gentleman. I tell you, these photography services vendors are as ubiquitous as the street musicians in Europe. They are everywhere on the promenade and they seem to be selling their services like hotcakes.

Although I found a few brides who wore white, I am sure they were not rental gowns.

I also noticed that these services not only cater to couples about to get married, but also to young ladies who just want to have a picture in a flowing ball gown. Um, why not? Nothing wrong with that I am sure =)

The nearest metro subway to the Bund is the East Nanjing Road (serving lines 2 and 10) which is approximately a 5-minute walk to the waterfront.

The beautiful Oriental Pearl Tower is lighted only until 22:00 hours.

The Waibaidu Bridge means Garden Bridge in English is located on the confluence of Huangpu River and Suzhou Creek, adjacent to the Bund. It is the only surviving camel truss bridge in China.

A peek to the Pudong skyline from the Waibaidu Bridge.

The gardens and shrubbery around the area are all well designed and well maintained.

Travel Period: April 2018
Destination: Shanghai, China

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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

All pictures were taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or a smartphone.

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