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A Visitor's Guide to the Buildings along the Bund in Shanghai

The Bund Buildings at a Glance

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A Visitor's Guide to the Buildings along the Bund in Shanghai

View of the Bund from the terrace at M on the Bund.

© 2007 Sara Naumann, licensed to About.com.
If you start at the southern end of the Bund (called Waitan or 外滩, "why tahn" in Mandarin) where Yan'an Road meets Zhongshan 1 Road, you can follow this quick guide to understand what each of the buildings was when it originally occupied this famous stretch of land along the Huang Pu River.

The buildings that constitute the essential famous Bund buildings begin just north of Yan'an Road and are numbered, helpfully, starting with No. 1. Start at Yan'an Road and walk north with Zhonghshan 1 Road and the river to your right.

  • No. 1 - Asiatic Petroleum Building, also known as the McBain building; built 1915. Today the building is under renovation.
  • No. 2 - The Shanghai Club (private British club); built 1911. Back in the day, anyone who was anyone belonged to this old boys' club. The club supposedly housed the longest bar in the world and the more guan xi (connections) you had, the farther toward the river you could sit. The taipans had the good seats, of course.

    Today this building has been beautifully renovated into a wing of the Waldorf-Astoria hotel. Enter from Zhongshan Road to visit the old wing and the Long Bar where China's new taipans sit and drink whiskey sours.

  • No. 3 - The Union Building; built 1922. Known today as "Three on the Bund", it was fully renovated in 2004. The building houses luxury retail shops on the ground floor, a spa run by Evian on the 3rd floor and famously chic restaurants above including Jean Georges.
  • No. 4 - you won't find it. There's no number 4 on the Bund and I while I can't find it documented I only assume that like in elevators, there's no fourth floor. Four in Mandarin, "si" (四) four, rhymes with "si" (死) or death. Just like the Western superstition about the number 13, often absent in buildings, you won't find many number 4s in China.
  • No. 5 - Nishin Navigation Building or NKK; built 1925. Today various offices and restaurants are resident in the NKK, most famously M on the Bund (7F) and the Glamour Bar (6F). Both great places to enjoy the view (see photo).
  • No. 6 - The Russell & Co Building; built c.1881. Today, like Three on the Bund, No. 6 is devoted to designer boutiques and fine dining.
  • No. 7 - The Great Northern Telegraph Company Building; built 1907. Today the Bangkok Bank and the Royal Thai Consulate-General occupy this enviable address.
  • No. 9 - The China Merchants Steam Navigation Company Building; built 1901. Today the building houses Shiatzy Chen's flagship store.
  • No. 12 - The Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank (HSBC) Building; built 1923. One of the few buildings on the Bund that have been restored inside to its former glory, today the Shanghai Pudong Development Bank occupies this grand interior. If you don't step inside another building, be sure to enter the portico at No. 12.
  • No. 13 - Customs House; built 1927. The building still houses customs officials today.
  • No. 14 - The Bank of Communications; built 1948. The building houses the Shanghai Federation of Trade Unions today.
  • No. 15 - The Russo-Chinese Bank, built 1901. Today it houses the China Foreign Exchange Trade Center.
  • No. 16 - The Bank of Taiwan; built 1924. Today it is the China Merchants Bank.
  • No. 17 - North China Daily News Building; built 1924. Today the building is occupied by the American International Insurance Company.
  • No. 18 - The Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China; built 1923. Reopened in 2004 as Bund 18 housing luxury shops and high-end restaurants. The restoration work at Bund 18, undertaken by Filippo Gabbiani and a team was awarded the Award of Excellence in the 2006 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards.
  • No. 19 - The Palace Hotel; built 1906. Until recent years the hotel served as the south wing of the Peace Hotel (see No. 20) but now it has been transformed into a boutique property, the Swatch Art Peace Hotel. On the top floor is an Asian-fusion restaurant called Shook! that has some good dishes but their enormous terrace is the most attractive feature.
  • No. 20 - The Cathay Hotel; built 1929. Once the most famous hotel in the east, and one of Shanghai's most famous Art Deco buildings, the Cathay became the Peace Hotel in 1956. It is currently re-opened under management of the Fairmont and is trying to re-establish its place as a preeminent hotel along the Bund.
  • No. 23 - The Bank of China; built 1937. It is still the property of the Bank of China today.
  • No. 24 - Yokohama Specie Bank; built 1924. Today the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China occupies the building.
  • No. 26 - Yangtze Insurance Association Building; built 1916. Today it is the Agricultural Bank of China.
  • No. 27 - Jardine Matheson and Co., Ltd. Building; built 1920. Today it has been taken over by some branch of the Roosevelt family and is called the House of Roosevelt. Inside is a luxurious private club as well as several restaurants, terraces and a wine bar.
  • No. 28 - The Glen Line Building; built 1922. Presently, the site is occupied by the Everbright Bank of China.
  • No. 29 - The Banque de L'Indo-Chine; built 1914. Everbright occupies this site as well.
  • No. 33 - Site of the former British Consulate; built 1873. This site is now occupied by the Peninsula Hotel. Next door a park is being reconstructed on the grounds of the consulate.
  • The Garden Bridge; built 1906. This iron bridge, taken down, renovated and re-installed in 2009, spans the Suzhou Creek and marks the end of the buildings on the Bund. The area to the north of the Bund is called the Hongkou district.

An excellent guidebook to the buildings along the bund is The Bund Shanghai: China Faces the West by Peter Hibbard. Try Shanghai's English Language bookstores for a copy.

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