4 Hours In

Shang­hai

Business Traveler (USA) - - CONTENT - By Jeremy Tredin­nick

1 THE BUND

Once a muddy river­bank where boats un­loaded and took on heavy bales of mer­chan­dise via rick­ety wooden plank­ing, this mile-long stretch of the Huangpu River has mor­phed into one of the most vis­ited of China’s many tourist sites – in fact, for­eign­ers will feel dis­tinctly out­num­bered as they wan­der down the broad pedes­trian prom­e­nade that fronts onto the river, dodg­ing hawk­ers and snap­ping photos of groups of Chi­nese ball­room danc­ing or do­ing the fan dance.

Start­ing at Suzhou Creek and the iron arcs of Gar­den Bridge, you’ll pass through Huangpu Park – orig­i­nally open to for­eign­ers only – and its Mon­u­ment to the Peo­ple’s He­roes, a con­crete pyra­mid that seems more suited to the mod­ern ar­chi­tec­tural jun­gle of the Pudong district on the river’s far side. Lin­ing the Bund’s length is a pro­ces­sion of grand build­ings cre­ated by the for­eign banks and great trad­ing houses of Shang­hai’s early 20th­cen­tury hey­day. Neo­clas­si­cal ed­i­fices stand shoul­der to shoul­der – a re­minder of the pomp and splen­dor of that ex­cit­ing time.

Standouts in­clude the Peace Ho­tel (for­merly Sas­soon House), whose art-deco lobby and stained glass is worth check­ing out; the Shang­hai Cus­toms House with its dis­tinc­tive clock tower; and the Shang­hai Pudong De­vel­op­ment Bank (for­merly the Hongkong and Shang­hai Bank­ing Cor­po­ra­tion building), in front of which a huge bronze bull apes New York’s Wall Street icon. Bund 18 should be ex­plored, as the ren­o­va­tion of its in­te­rior is ex­quis­ite – it now houses top-end re­tail and din­ing/ drink­ing es­tab­lish­ments (as does Three on the Bund far­ther down).

2 THE PEACE HO­TEL

The Peace Ho­tel stands on the corner of one of old Shang­hai’s main thor­ough­fares, Nan­jing Road. The stretch from the Bund up to Peo­ple’s Park is a mile and a half of chaotic shop­ping mania. Ex­pen­sive brand names jos­tle for space with main­stream stores, souvenir shops and eater­ies of ev­ery de­scrip­tion. It claims to be the busiest shop­ping street in the world – and if the crowds I’ve had to deal with are any­thing to go by, that’s a fair bet. Whether you’re a shopa­holic or not, a stroll up this street is an ex­pe­ri­ence.

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Be­fore reach­ing the south­ern end of the Bund, head into the for­mer Nissin Ship­ping building at No 5 for lunch at M on the Bund. Lo­cated on the sev­enth floor and boast­ing a rooftop ter­race with tremen­dous views up the curv­ing Bund, this was one of the first Western restau­rants to open in the city. Its menu is rooted in clas­si­cal Euro­pean

cui­sine but with novel twists thrown in; Mid­dle Eastern and North African dishes are also fea­tured. The décor is warm and re­fined, ref­er­enc­ing Shang­hai’s glam­orous past with some style. Lunch 11:30 AM – 2:30 PM (Mon-Fri), din­ner 6:00 PM – 10:30 PM; 7/F No 5 The Bund (corner of Guang­dong Lu); tel +86 21 6350 9988; m-restau­rantg-roup.com / mbund.

4 YUYUAN GAR­DEN STA­TION

Where the Bund ends, atYanan Road East, turn“in­land”for a block then south (left) – you’ll soon be part of a stream of peo­ple head­ing into the old Chi­nese quar­ter, a ram­bling net­work of streets and al­leys whose fo­cal point is the Yuyuan Gar­den. This re­stored clas­si­cal 16th-cen­tury Chi­nese gar­den, built by govern­ment of­fi­cial PanYun­d­uan for his par­ents, is a beau­ti­ful ex­am­ple of Ming-era land­scap­ing that cov­ers nearly 5 acres filled with pavil­ions linked by cov­ered cor­ri­dors and bridges, open court­yards, streams, ponds, an­cient trees and stands of bam­boo.

Sadly you’re un­likely to find the peace and tran­quil­lity it was de­signed to in­spire, since you’ll be shar­ing it with hordes of mostly Chi­nese tourists, but nev­er­the­less, wan­der­ing its wind­ing walk­ways, paus­ing in or­nate pavil­ions with curv­ing eaves, and gaz­ing into carp-filled pools by weep­ing willows is a won­der­ful an­ti­dote to the city strife out­side. The Wall of Cloud-pierc­ing Dragon, Ex­quis­ite Jade Rock, In­ner Gar­den and Hall of Herald­ing Spring are all high­lights.

Next to the gar­den’s en­trance is the fa­mous Mid-lake Pavil­ion Tea­house with its zigzag bridge – a cul­tural must-do if you’re will­ing to fight the crush – and af­ter that it’s time to work your way back through the kitsch of the bazaar to the Huangpu River.Yuyuan Gar­den is open 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM; ad­mis­sion RMB40 ($6); 218 An­ren Jie (Street).

5 HUANGPU RIVER CRUIRE

Back at the south­ern end of the Bund’s pedes­trian prom­e­nade, a fleet of river­boats line the bank, all tout­ing sun­set cruises rang­ing from 30 min­utes to three hours plus, de­pend­ing on how far up or down the river you’d like to float. The shorter sun­set cruises are a great way of fin­ish­ing your day. As night falls, the old colo­nial ed­i­fices of the Bund light up like Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions on one side, while on the other, in Pudong’s Lu­ji­azui district, the 21st cen­tury stands brash and ver­tig­i­nously tall, with sky­scrapers such as the Ori­en­tal Pearl Tower, Jin Mao Tower, Shang­hai Fi­nan­cial Cen­ter and the latest – and tallest– Shang­hai Tower pierc­ing the sky in a neon show that matches any me­trop­o­lis for ar­chi­tec­tural swag­ger. Many com­pa­nies along the river wharves of­fer cruises; prices gen­er­ally range from RMB60-150 ($9-23) with a one-hour cruise cost­ing around RMB100 ($15). BT

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