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China 14: Welcome to Shanghai ~ along and above the riverfront

The fast train from Suzhou soon had us stepping out into Shanghai. We ditched bags at the hotel and set off to explore.

Mike again had the subway sussed and we got out at People’s Square. Both it and the adjacent People’s Park were built on what used to be the Shanghai Racecourse. They’ve retained a lot of the ground as green space, a wee oasis amidst the skyscrapers.

people's square, shanghai

As foretold in our guidebook, we were approached by a scammer, a female asking if we could take a photo. Sounds harmless enough but apparently this leads to general chitchat, then going somewhere for a tea ceremony (not that we would’ve), then a hefty bill.

flowers, people's square, shanghai

While we could already see big differences between Shanghai and Beijing, the park spaces were used for similar gathering and recreational purposes.

tai chi, people's square, shanghai

On the outer edge of the park we walked toward a mightily large billboard of George Clooney and turned down East Nanjing Road.

East Nanjing Rd

A famous shopping street, there were quirky window displays and store promotions to deviate one’s attention – though the unenthusiastic air guitar to loud music wasn’t quite enough to entice us inside.

We popped out on the riverfront, more specifically The Bund. This is Shanghai’s most famous landmark, a swathe of colonial-era highrise bordering a 1km promenade beside the Huangpu River.

flags, the bund, shanghai

Walking past the Mao statue and up onto the riverbank, our eyes feasted upon Pudong’s iconic skyline.

pudong from the bund - day

The striking syringe with pinky bulbous bits is the Oriental Pearl, China’s tallest tower until 2007. It was on the observation tower shortlist for later in the day.


Joining it was this, the Shanghai World Financial Centre, which eclipsed the Oriental Pearl’s record and for a time was the world’s tallest observation deck. Those tiny humans are 474m above ground level.

swfc observation deck

We wandered down The Bund and back again.

walking on the bund

tall grass, the bund

There was a huge array of watercraft going up and down the river, at one stage it was like a massive flotilla chugging through.

house boat, huangpu river

barge, huangpu river

Along the way we saw more couples out on their pre-wedding photo shoots.

wedding photo, the bund

wedding photo group, the bund

Fast forward a few hours, we caught a cab across the river to Pudong. We settled on the observation tower at SWFC and proceeded to find our way there.

pudong highrise

As is customary with these places, it was a bit of a process to get up to the top – in this case the 100th floor. The height above ground was incredible and wasn’t the most comfortable feeling for this girly wuss. However, I did work up the courage to stand on the clear floor panels which looked down to the 97th floor skywalk; a minor miracle.

swfc viewing markers

brave me, swfc

We waited a long time for the lights to kick in. Finally the Oriental Pearl sparked into life as did other structures around it.

night lights, swfc

After waiting so long we felt obliged to well and truly soak up the glittering skyline.

Restlessness eventually struck and we went back down, necks craning up to where we’d just been.

swfc catching clouds, pudong

We found the elevated walkway, a fantastic place to eke out the Pudong city lights experience and add to the collection of rubbish shaky photos.

To bring us full circle, we made our way back over to The Bund.

pudong from the bund - night

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. What an extraordinary place. I LOVE your photograph of the river with the high rises in the background and the rushes in the front. I’m such a wimp, I’m not sure I could have dealt with going so high up but THE VIEWS! Oh so fabulous. I would definitely have needed to take a hip flask to give me Dutch courage 😉 So, where to next I wonder? It’s been good fun hearing about China trip and seeing your marvellous pictures. You’ve certainly whetted my appetite for another oriental adventure 😀

    16 February 2015
    • Thanks Lottie. The height thing is funny – I’m drawn to high look-outs, but can’t properly handle them once there. I think the most ‘terrifying’ was Aiguille du Midi in Chamonix, Fr. Bizarrely though, I was tempted to challenge myself and jump off the Sky Tower in Auckland over the Xmas break. As for where next – the big plan this year is Poland. Not booked yet but hopefully get that sorted in the next few weeks.

      22 February 2015
  2. The last photo with the colorful lights and reflections in the water is most impressive. I see that the dapper man and his lady in red hired a photographer and his assistant to take their pic. I wonder what the occasion was about. All the photos are so very good. You are getting to be an expert when creating a travel history.

    17 February 2015
    • Hi Yvonne and thank you so very much. The couple were, I’m fairly certain, having their pre-wedding photos taken. It’s a thing in China to have shots taken beforehand to display on the wedding day.

      22 February 2015
  3. I had no idea how the city would change at night! It’s beautiful. Fascinating glimpses through your wonderful photography.

    (And yay you for overcoming “girly wuss”. I did too, in Auckland’s Sky Tower. Look at us, grabbing experiences that come our way. 😉 Thank heavens we don’t have to grab them like that every day!!)

    18 February 2015
    • Thank you Cindi :). I get the feeling I’ll do something really out there to challenge my fear of heights one day. Will be interesting to see if anything changes as a result of that!

      22 February 2015

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