The Bund is perhaps Shanghai's most iconic sight and is the city's most famous mile. A symbol of colonial Shanghai, the Bund is lined with legation buildings, banks and hotels in a typical early 19th century architectural style, not dissimilar to the structures seen along the Thames in London or the Seine in Paris. Once the home of the Shanghai expat community, the Bund was China's answer to Wall Street and was a centre of foreign trade and banking. This infusion of western influence and international recognition helped bring Shanghai to the forefront of the financial world and made it the leading economic hub it is today. When seeing the grandeur of this strip, sitting peacefully on the west bank of the Huangpu River, it is difficult to believe that this area used to be a swampland, also known as a 'Bund', a term for 'muddy waterfront'.
The Bund, a representation of Shanghai's 1920s economic boom, sits in incredible contrast to the district of Pudong which sits on the east side of the Huangpu. Pudong, is a metropolis of towering neon skyscrapers which seem to multiply on a yearly basis. Cruising down the Huangpu River is a great opportunity to witness the architectural progression of Shanghai and see how the city is growing as a world city.
The Bund today houses 52 buildings each with a rich history, some dating back as far as the late 19th century. Some famous players on the Bund include: Custom House, the Waldorf Astoria Shanghai Hotel, HSBC Building, Bank of China and the Shanghai Gold Exchange. Though the Bund is still a functioning financial district, with the increase of hotels, it is clear that tourism is an important aspect of this strip.
What better way to experience it than on a Wendy Wu tour?
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