At 97 kilometers, the Huangpu River is the longest river that
passes through the city of Shanghai. The River divides Shanghai
into two sections: Pudong in the east, and Puxi in the West. The
Huangpu River averages a width of some 500 meters as it snakes its
way through Shanghai, with an average depth of 11 meters.
It is also the source of most of Shanghai's drinking water, after
it goes through a purification process, of course. Almost equally
important today, the Huangpu is the site of a bustling tourist
business in the form of river cruises, which originate at Shiliupu
Pier just south of the Bund area (there is a corresponding set of
cruises up the Yangtze River that begin near the mouth of the
Huangpu, where it empties into the Yangtze), where the Huangpu
flows alongside the now restored architecture of Shanghai's former
British colonial heartland.
There are several tour lengths that one can sign up for, from a
short, 30-minute cruise to a long, 3½ hour cruise. The 30-minute
cruise passes the Bund, then proceeds on northward to the area
designated as the New Bund, and on to Binjiang Avenue of Pudong, a
newly developed economic district, where the cruise boat reverses
itself and proceeds back to its point of origin at Shiliupu Pier,
south of the Bund.
All of the Huangpu River Cruises are of course round trips. The
1-hr excursion proceeds beyond Pudong as far as Yangpu Bridge,
while the 2-hr excursion ends at Nanpu Bridge farther north, both
very graceful suspension bridges (a bridge reveals its beauty more
readily when viewed from the side, which is the view provided by a
Huangpu River Cruise).
The longest excursion lasts 3½ hours, and ends at Wusongkou
Harbour, not far from the mouth of the Huangpu, which empties into
the great estuary where the Yangtze meets the East China Sea.
Besides offering a privileged view of the bridges that span the
Huangpu, the cruise boats also offer an excellent view of the
famous colonial-era buildings that make up the Bund, buildings such
as the Peace Hotel with its unique pyramid roof in blazing green
and the Customs House with its large clock tower, and though not to
everyone's taste, behind the original Bund area now shoot up tall
Those who defend the modern skyscraper background would claim that
though the new buildings dwarf the colonial buildings of the "old"
Bund, they do not compete with them - or even mar the view - but
rather, they almost seem to highlight the older-period buildings as
gentle, rounded "foothills" to the soaring, "jagged peaks" of the
A Huangpu River Cruise is "history revisited" in the sense that it
affords many glimpses of Shanghai's past during the period, the
beginning of the 20th century through WWII.
On the return trip to Shiliupu Pier, as you pass the Shanghai
International Cruise Ship Terminal near Pudong, you might wish to
contemplate on the fact that the cruise liners of many of China's
former foes - including those of Japan (and quite possibly those of
your own country) - regularly lay up here, and that without their
contribution to Shanghai's economy, the city would probably not be
the oriental pearl that it is today.
1. Take umbrella or raincoat during rainy days.
2. Raining days will be a little foggy so some of the scenery on
the Bund may be obscure.