Photographing Shanghai and the Bund

February 17, 2018  •  Leave a Comment


Shanghai CityShanghai city skyline taken from the Bund


Are you planning to travel to Shanghai and photograph the Bund Cityscape? The Iconic cityscape is definitely worth a visit if you are interested in modern cityscapes. My trip on January 2018 was my first time visiting Shanghai or even China. There are few things that I learned (mistakes made from a beginner that I wish to pass onto would be travelers in the future).

These are some things I wish I knew before going to Shanghai and that someone warned me about before going there. Some points are important and can be costly if not prepared, other things are just good to know and bear in mind:

In no particular order:


1.Pudong Airport is BIG!!! 

Pudong airport is quite large, and can take some time to exit the airport. I flew in with China Eastern Airlines from Bangkok and I recall it took around 20 minutes from the moment the wheels landed on the runway till the plane switched off the engine. The taxi'ing process takes a long time. We landed at around 4:00 but didn't leave the airport till around 5:00pm

2. Use the MRT rail system where possible to get to the city... AVOID TAXI unless it is IMPERATIVE!!!!

This was a big one. Sadly to admit, Elaine and was stumped by this pretty bad, When we entered the arrival hall, we were already thrown back by the long day of traveling, airport transfers, extreme change of weather from 33 degree celsius Bangkok, to 3 degree celsius  in Shanghai, our minds were not in the best and clearest of states. Long story short, I thought I had airport transfer organised however this was not the case, In the midst of stress. I didn't plan the route to our hotel. We eventually became succumbed to a taxi driver who would take us to our hotel for a whopping 650RMB. That was about AU$140. So please don't do this!! They can be convincing, and if you are somewhat lost, it can be very easy to fall into.

The best method by far to get into the city is to use the High speed rail, which is CONVENIENTLY connected to the airport. Shanghai offers two rail options. Shanghai Metro line runs from 0600 to 2200 everyday and there is a train every 8 minutes. To get to People's Square (Bund), it will take approx 68 minutes and will cost 7RMB.

Shanghai has one of the fastest, if not THE fastest high speed rail system in the world. A quicker and more expensive train is the Shanghai Maglev Train. Trains depart Maglev Station at a whopping maximum speed of 430km/hr. The train wait time is 15 minutes and it only takes takes 7-8 minutes to arrive at Longyang Road Station, Costs 50RMB per one way trip. From there you can get onto inter-change for Metro Line 2 bound for People's Square. People's Square will be approx 20 minutes rail  from Longyang Station.

3: Do not use the Money exchange system at the airport.

They charge you a flat fee of 9RMB for any one time exchange........ OUCH! we change all our Thai Baht there, although we didn't change much, like $20 Australian dollars worth, it was just that we hardly got anything back. Best bet is to use ATM there.

4: ATM are really good in China!

I must admit, the ATM in Shanghai, city area. Are one of the best I have ever come across. They feel very safe. In a way they look like public toilets with the vacant and occupied lights on there. To use the ATM you enter the booth, close and lock the door behind you prior to using the machine. It felt clean and very easy to use. IT was a bonus that the ATM has English option as well. I just did withdrawals from my VISA credit card. 

5: Check visa requirements:

If you are coming from Australia you need to purchase a visa prior to entering China. I got my visa done at the China embassy here in Brisbane city. It cost me $109 to get a single entry visa into China for 4 days. You need to fill in an application, provide at least 2 passport photographs. If you passport is less than 12 months old, the agent at the embassy asked to review my old passport, so always keep them nearby. The application process was complete and ready for pick up in 4 business days.


6: No google, youtube and facebook

Don't expect to find access to these websites whilst you are in China, however; somehow I managed to get access to them in my first hotel but not on my second. So what I am suggesting is make sure you either get all you neccessary  sites and information. I couldn't remember if even Gmail was accessible. If you have an IOS device, I hear that is the best alternative.


7: Tripods are allowed on in the Bund area

I write this point in because when I was traveling through some public areas in Bangkok and in Japan, tripods were restricted. You shouldn't have too many issues in setting up a tripod and a location to view the Bund area. The riverside stretches a good few kilometers around the scene. When I travelled there it was in the middle of winter so it was low season. This place can get quite busy with tourists, so be mindful of your equipment as pick-pocketing is common in China.


8: China uses the same power plugs as AUSTRALIA

Good news if you are from Australia. all your 2 point plugs are all compatible in China Shanghai and you do not require and adapters.


9: Not as cheap as you may think it is

Shanghai is not a cheap area to visit if you are comparing it with many of the other South Eastern Countries. You will find that most prices of goods are just a little bit cheaper than Australia if not the same. Food is comparable to Australia prices, and you can get some restaurants here that can be even more expensive. Expect to spend around $10-$15 for a standard meal for lunch and maybe around $15-$20 for a meal at dinner. 


10: Large crowds around food stalls is a good sign the product is good.

If you are unsure of what is good to eat, just follow the crowds of people. If you see a large queue in front of a store, chances are good you won't be disappointed with their product.


11: Make the trip to the observation deck of the World Financial centre if the skies are clear.

I say this out of regret because I was unable to make it. If the skies are clear, I would recommend paying the entry fee, you will not be disappointed with the view.


Getting to the Bund:

Subway: Take Line 2 or 10 to East Nanjing Road Station. It is approx 10 minute walk from there.

By Bus: 
Take bus 33, 37, 55, 65, 147, 305, 307, 317, 330, 921 and get off at East Zhongshan 1st Road / East Nanjing Road
Take bus 123, 135, 145, 576, 934 and get off at East Zhongshan 1st Road / Hankou Road
Take bus 576 or 868 and get off at East Zhongshan 1st Road / Guangdong Road
Take bus 220 or 939 and get off at Middle Sichuan Road / Hong Kong Road
Take bus 42, 71, 311, 316, 320 and get off at East Yan’an Road / East Zhongshan 1st Road
Take bus 20 and get off at Jiujiang Road / East Zhongshan 1st Road
Take Tunnel Line 9, bus 26 or 926 and get off at East Jinling Road / East Zhongshan 2nd Road


By Ferry:

There are scheduled ferryboats between East Jinling Road Ferry Dock and The Bund in Puxi and Dongchang Road Ferry Dock in Pudong.


Photography Tips:

  • From the typical shots of the Bund, you are facing towards the EAST, thus the sun rises behind the buildings
  • It is generally quiet in the morning, so crowds are less.
  • There are complimentary charging booths nearby to charge mobile phones and computers
  • The city lights turn on at 1800 hours. the buldings behind a little bit later around 1845hrs
  • Plenty of railing space for tripod setup Sunrise of the BundSilhouette image of Shanghai from the Bund during sunrise

  • To watch me photograph the bund, watch the following video and subscribe for future updates


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