Sunrise on Bund Shanghai with walking man

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The Bund

Top choice in The Bund & People's Square

Symbolic of concession-era Shanghai, the Bund was the city’s Wall Street, a place of feverish trading and fortunes made and lost. Originally a towpath for dragging barges of rice, the Bund (an Anglo-Indian term for the embankment of a muddy waterfront) was gradually transformed into a grandiose sweep of the most powerful banks and trading houses in Shanghai. The optimal activity here is to simply stroll, contrasting the bones of the past with the futuristic geometry of Pudong’s skyline.

The majority of the art deco and neoclassical buildings here were built in the early 20th century and presented an imposing – if strikingly un-Chinese – view for those nosing by boat into the busy port city. Today it has emerged as a designer retail and restaurant zone, and the city’s most exclusive boutiques, restaurants and hotels see the Bund as the only place to be. Evening visits are rewarded by electric views of Pudong and the illuminated grandeur of the Bund. Other options include taking a boat tour on the Huangpu River or relaxing at some fabulous bars and restaurants. Huangpu Park, at the north end of the promenade, features the modest Bund History Museum, which contains a collection of old photographs and maps.

Get here early for the intriguing sight of the morning exercises.