One of Shanghai’s biggest tourist destinations – and for good reason – The Bund can be found in the Huangpu District in central Shanghai. A mile long promenade that runs along the Huangpu River, The Bund also comprises historical buildings behind the river, that once housed banks and trading centres from the UK, France, Germany, Russia, Belgium and the USA. Strolling along, one looks directly across to the Pudong district, the financial hub of Shanghai. According to a Dutch engineer I crossed paths with, whilst sauntering along the river, the bank of the Huangpu River was recently raised by 5 metres – quite a magical engineering feat.
Set back off the walkway, is the original English concession. There is a height restriction on buildings, a God send in a city that is so built up, I’m currently writing this in a level 25 apartment. The Bund consequently retains its old school elegance and historical charm, in absolute spades. Strolling down the little, tree lined streets, there are moments on feels they’re on a film set or in early 1900s Shanghai and it’s then you start to get just a slight feel for Shanghai’s colourful developmental path.
Now, Gucci and Armani occupy the original European buildings of the English concession. The paths are spotless and if you turn down any of the little streets off the main stretch, there are Western influenced cafes and restaurants alongside Chinese fast-food joints and fruit stalls.
A little slice of Europe in China.