Before heading under the road to the promenade, stop to check out the Peace Hotel (Victor Sassoon’s Classic Hotel) (the northern building is more distinctive). Check out the lobby and head up to the roof garden (11th floor) for great views of the Pudong.
After reaching the promenade, take the loud, glitzy Tourist Tunnel to the Pudong. Head first to the Oriental Pearl Tower, the tallest in Asia at 1535 feet. Take a close look but don’t bother to climb the tower. Instead, walk southeast along Century Boulevard to the Jinmao Tower (on your right across from Lujiazui Green), one of the five (5) tallest buildings in the world (at least for now). Take the elevator to the Observation Deck on the 88th floor for great views of the city, especially the Bund. Also look for the under-construction Shanghai World Financial Center, which, at 492 meters (1614 feet), is the world’s 3rd tallest building.
Retrace your steps back down Century Blvd and walk the Riverside Promenade southward for more great views of the Bund. Continue beyond the end of the promenade to the Ferry dock and take a ferry (every 10 minutes) over to the Bund.
Walk the promenade northward, stopping briefly at the Bund Observatory and admiring the views of the Pudong to your right. At the end of Huangpu Park is the Bund History Museum. From here, walk out to the street and cross the Suzhou River on the Waibaidu Bridge (which also has excellent views of the Pudong). Take a right on Huangpu Lu to the Pujiang Hotel, Shanghai’s first hotel. Albert Einstein and Charlie Chaplin both stayed here. Opposite the hotel is Russian Consulate, right on the river.
Retrace your steps back across the bridge, noticing the Broadway Mansions (another hotel) to your right. This time, stay on the right side of the street and admire the Colonial, European architecture of The Bund. Number 27 is now the Foreign Trade Building but was once the headquarters of a company that built its fortune on the opium trade. Number 23 is the Bank of China Building which offers a bit of Eastern architecture to blend with the predominantly Western theme here. At the corner is the Peace Hotel which you have already visited which extends down to Number 19. Number 16 is the China Merchants Bank with its classical pillars. The Customs House, at Number 13, was a headquarters for the Communist Party. Its huge clock is visible from afar and its bell, Big Ching, used to ring every quarter hour, but was silenced during the Cultural Revolution and replaced with propaganda broadcasts.
Number 12 is the former Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank (HSBC). Go inside and check out mosaic floor and the stunning octagonal ceiling with Italian-tile panels depicting Tokyo, New York, London, Paris, Calcutta, Bangkok, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. Classical figures ring the walls.
Number 9 is interesting, partially overgrown with ivy and surrounded by hedges. The Bangkok Bank is at Number 7. Number 6, with its Gothic windows and arches, was once the German-Chinese Bank. Number 3 contains the Shanghai Gallery of Art and several shops and restaurants. Number 2 is the former Shanghai Club, which once housed the world’s longest bar.
Continue southward and, just before the Shiliupu Steamship Pier, take a right onto Fuyou Road. Several blocks up, the Yu Gardens & Bazaar complex will be on your left. Wind your way through the bazaar to reach the actual gardens (Yuyuan Gardens).
After the visit, continue south to Fanghang Lu, take a right to Renming Road, then bear right onto East Hauihai Road, then right on Yunnan Road back to Nanjing Road and the starting point.