TAKE A walk along the Bund (which in old Shanghailander English should be pronounced to rhyme with "fund"), once the most famous street in Asia. The major firms of the Far East had their headquarters in the buildings facing the river. First amongst them is the former Hongkong and Shanghai Bank, which after 1949 was used as the city Communist Party HQ. It is now the home of the Shanghai
Pudong Development Bank. One of the conditions for Pufa to move in was that they restore it to its original grandeur - which was pretty grand, apparently. They even hired an English restoration expert to do the job. It is one of the most worthwhile sites to visit on the Bund now. They really new how to decorate in those days.This is a list of the buildings and information on their original owners and functions.. In 1992, the waterfront was raised for anti-flooding purposes and to provide more room for visitors to take photographs of each other.
The Old City / Yu Garden
THE OLD Chinese city, to the south of the Bund was a walled fishing town when the British arrived in 1843. Modern Shanghai grew up around it. It used to be a maze of tiny alleys, but most of it has been torn down and rebuilt in recent years. The widened alleys are still crowded with tourists, domestic and foreign. At the centre of the Old City are the Chenghuang Temple and the Yu Garden, in which stands the Huxining Teahouse, said to be the model for the design on the "willow-pattern" plates much loved by Europeans in another era. The Bridge of Nine Turns zigzags to make it difficult for evil spirits to get across (evil spirits, as is well known, have problems with corners). The Yu Garden is a classical Chinese garden with over 30 pavilions linked by a maze of corridors and bridges over ponds.
Jade Buddha Temple
THE TEMPLE contains two exquisite jade statues of the Buddha, one seated the other lying, which were brought from Burma in the early years of the 20th century. It is said that the temple only escaped destruction by the Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s because the abbot bolted the doors and covered them with pictures of Chairman Mao, which the Red Guards did not dare to touch. You'll find the temple at 170 Anyuan Lu
JING AN TEMPLE is a delightful little temple on Nanjing Lu to the west of the Shanghai Centre with distinctive yellow walls. It is used as a temple again, and the monks can be seen chanting the Buddhist scriptures. 1700 Nanjing Xi Lu.
LONGHUA Temple and pagoda in the southwest area of the city was a major tourist attraction for foreigners in the days of Old Shanghai. It has eight sides and seven storeys and was first built in the year 274AD. The pagoda itself is closed but can easily be seen from the road. The temple complex opposite is huge, featuring several impressive Buddhas, including one who looks like a serene Bart Simpson. 2853 Longhua Lu.
THE SITE of the 1st Congress of the Chinese Communist Party is at 76 Xingye Lu in the French Concession. The meeting was held here in secret in July 1921. The small room where the meeting was held is arranged with period furniture and tea service, none of it original. The attendees fled the house when a suspected spy of the French authorities visited, and they finished the congress on a pleasure boat on a lake.
ZHOU ENLAI the former premier of China, who died in 1976, lived at 73 Sinan Lu, also in the French Concession in 1946 as head of the Communist Party's Shanghai office.
SUN YATSEN, the father of modern China, led the republican forces which overthrew the Manchu Empire in 1912. He lived at 7 Xiangshan Lu in the French Concession between 1918 and 1924, and died in Beijing in 1925. The house is open for visits.
LU XUN was the greatest Chinese writer of the early part of the century. His most famous works, The True Story of Ah Q, and the short story, the Diary of a Madman, were a condemnation of Confucianist society. He died in 1936 and in 1956, his ashes were moved to Hongkou park in the northeast of the city, near where he used to live. The house is also open to the public.
THE SHANGHAI Museum, which formally opened in October, 1996 features the best museum galleries and displays in the Chinese world. Its collection of ancient bronzes is also considered to be one of the best, and possibly THE best in the world. The building itself, on the edge of People's Square in the city centre, is shaped like a giant bronze urn. But the museum director, the world's leading Chinese bronze expert, says this is a coincidence, and swears the design is based upon the ancient Chinese concept of the universe - that the sky is round and the earth is flat.
Shanghai Exhibition Centre
THE SONG QINGLING masoleum. Located in Hongqiao, it contains photos from all phases of her life. The drawback, for those who don't read Chinese, is that all the captions are in Chinese. Also, on the extensive, park-like grounds, there is an old foreigners grave yard with the graves of some of Shanghai's most famous foreign families - like the Jardins and the Kadoories.
SHANGHAI NATURAL History Museum, at 260 Yanan Donglu. An interesting museum, worth an hour of your time. Tel: 6321-3548.
SHANGHAI ART Gallery, at 456 Nanjing Xi Lu, phone number 6327-0557.
THIS SOVIET designed structure, with its star-topped spire, occupies a
huge area opposite the Shanghai Centre on Nanjing Xi Lu. It was originally known as the Hall of Sino-Soviet Friendship and was built with Soviet help in the late 1950s to commemorate the 10th anniversary of
the Chinese communist victory in 1949. At night, the spire is often lit up with garish pink and lime green
lights. There's an excellent Cantonese restaurant on the fifth floor of the central structure, and there are other restaurants and two bowling alleys located in other parts of the complex.
AN OLD entertainment centre on the corner of Yanan Lu and Xizang Lu with lots of history. Ignore the fake almost day-glo green ivy in which the building has been smothered and walk right in. Click on the This is a description of the
Great World from the 1930s. It's changed a bit, but the acrobats are still there, and so is the opera and music. The Guiness Book of Records people have a display which is worth viewing as an example of terminal tackiness. There's a quaint ghost house ride, and the fat man / thin man mirrors are authentic 1930s stuff, and still good fun. Fortune telling is now done by computers.
The Zoo and Parks
THE SHANGHAI Zoo, featuring several giant pandas, is in the western part of the city at 2381 Hongqiao Lu, on the way to the airport. Before 1949, it was a golf course.
SHANGHAI HAS only a few bits in green in the central city area, but the ones that exist are well worth visiting to absorb some local colour, especially early in the morning, if you can get up. Click here for a list of parks, but one of the nicest is Fuxing Park, once known as the French park.
YOU can take a river trip down the Huangpu River to the mouth of the Yangtse River. The boats leave from the Shiliupu Pier to the south of the Bund. The trip takes around three or four hours. A shorter alternative is a trip by ferry over to Pudong. The wharf is directly opposite Yanan Lu intersection at the southern end of the Bund, the trip takes 10 minutes and gives you a wonderful view of the Bund's facade. Pay on the way to Pudong. Coming back is free. The Oriental Pearl Tower is a 15 minute walk from the pier. Minibuses ferry people into the Lujiazui area.
More sites and attractions in our
Budget Traveller's Guide!