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True_British_Metal

Other Various sites, Taiwan July 2018 - February 2019

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大家好!

 

My oh my, how long has it been since I posted a report? Exploring has become a low priority for me ever since I left the UK, even if I've always kept tabs on new sites shared here and on social media. Truth be told learning Mandarin and my lady have taken a much bigger priority in recent years, plus my lady is no fan of me going about it alone so that makes organising jaunts more challenging. I have visited a fair few sites around Taiwan, but compared to Europe there is so little here to get me to jump on the next train there because beautiful architecture is just so rare and even noteworthy industrial sites are few and far between; many places are just rotting concrete shells. So this report here is meant to be a compilation of my latest explores to date which I feel don't have enough bite to warrant standalone reports.

 

There will be more reports to come in the future, but since I left my torch and tripod in England it will be some time before I visit these. I trust the results will not be disappointing though.

 

亞哥花園/Encore Garden, July 2018

Visited with some colleagues and non-explorers.

 

I'd always been aware of this one, as it's situated close to my favourite hiking trails just outside of Taizhong where I live. But being me I never made a move until last year. It's an abandoned theme park in Dakeng district, opened in 1981 and was a hugely popular site that attracted around 1m people a year. Like several sites in Taiwan it was hit by the 921 earthquake in 1999 which severely damaged the area, causing attendance to drop dramatically. Eventually the financial losses incurred forced the place to close in 2008.

 

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On most days there is a security guard with dogs at the top of the site, living in a shack. However as of last year the entire site has been repurposed as a rally racetrack. Pay $100 (that's £2.50) to enter and you can sit back and spectate, but before that we chose to explore the park first. Initially we were in full stealth mode, when we spotted people in hi vis vests dotted around the site as well as the guard's dogs barking at us, but after seeing others drive round with their scooters we realised it was a free for all for today.

 

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What I found really fascinating about exploring in Taiwan compared to Europe and other places is how the fertile, humid tropical enviroment is far more hostile to built structures which means nature takes over rapidly once the place is abandoned; the restaurant was completely covered in thick, thick dust, and other structures had started to be completely invaded by tree branches.

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Old arcade machines left behind

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Because of thick shrub finding the entrance to this ride took a bit of careful searching, but we got to it.

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It turns out as long as we stayed off the roads as much as possible, we were at free to roam whenever we wanted. The racing stewards didn't mind us at all. Unfortunately the outdoor auditorium was inaccessible because there were too many race cars on the route leading up to it.

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Another thing that's incredibly striking about Taiwan and nature is the frequency of earthquake tremors. In my experience they seem to hit every few months, and in mountainous and rural areas can trigger minor (or major) landslides; look at the next 2 pictures and compare to older photos...

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By stark contrast to the western world, obviously with a few exceptions Asians and the Taiwanese have utmost respect for abandoned sites. Whether this be rooted in a fear of the supernatural (people in the west believe in ghosts, but superstitions are taken far more seriously here), they treat abandoned sites as tombs and relics of the past to be treated with respect. It's because of this, little if any effort is made to seal any buildings from intruders and yet sites see so little vandalism. Security guards are rare, too. Another thing is that for several sites upon closure and abandonment the owners do not bother to remove items from buildings, regardless of their value. The fundamental exception to this rule being statues and religious iconography, because to leave these to rot is to bring huge misfortune on one's life.

 

So although decent sites are indeed rare, exploring those that are around are unique experiences in which you can really lose yourself and let your imagination run free.

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I then made my way inside the buildings in the middle of the site, and was stunned to find the power still on. It turns out even on a Sunday there were workers inside. Unfortunately the site manager walked in, then politely asked me to leave after this photo was taken.

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It's far from epic, but it's well worth sharing as it's so vastly different from Crapalot. I'm still alive by the way...

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Thank you so much for reading, and it's a real pleasure to be back.

 

TBM x

Edited by True_British_Metal
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杏林醫院/Xinglin Hospital, Tainan

Solo jaunt.

 

If an urban exploration culture exists in Taiwan (it's far more likely to be a subculture within the ghosthunting realm, unfortunately), then this is by far Taiwan's most famous derelict building. It's frequented by teenagers and students who dare each other to enter and scare themselves, particularly during the ghost festival. 

 

It was opened in 1975 as a general hospital, but closed just 18 years later on June 1st 1993 due to unlawful medical practices and falsification of medical records. Since closure it is unclear what the owners want to do with the building; they have made half-baked efforts to keep out nature and intruders, but perhaps as is standard in this culture it remains wide open. Even the front door is unlocked!

 

The architecture, although typically bland functional concrete was interesting here, built into a figure of 8 form, leaving 2 inner courtyards open to the elements. Not entirely dissimilar to the design of Hashima across the ocean in Japan.

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Guess the album cover!

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If you look at old photos on the internet, this was actually once a truly exceptional explore, fully equipped with expired medicine, syringes, an operating theatre and even preserved human remains! If you don't believe me search for yourself. As time as progressed however, looters have been in and removed anything that would explicitly reveal its former use.

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The only significant feature was the x-ray room, here.

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I did attempt the basement, but unfortunately this was flooded and thus inaccessible without boots.

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So there we have it. To be honest the only reason I went here is just to tick it off the list and to say I went here before it's gone. Just a way to kill time before being a normal tourist again and visiting the historical sites of Tainan.

 

Stay tuned for the rest. Love TBM x

Edited by True_British_Metal

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東南水泥工廠/South East Cement Works, Gaoxiong

Visited with Anew Calling.

 

So as part of the Chinese New Year trip I carried onto Gaoxiong, Taiwan's equivalent of Hull or Liverpool, a city built on heavy industry and port workings. A lot of these places are long-closed or still active, and the city now is being transformed from a filthy city choking to death from the fumes to a vibrant and modern one. Right here, we have the South East Cement Works, much of it now mostly demolished, with the other half still fully active but in the middle of it all something still derelict. Opened in 1956, it produced 25,000 metric tons of cement which increased to 1,500,000 in 1982. It was in 2016 that serious, illegal levels of polution were detected (it was found to be over the limit on 21 occasions), which led to protests from local students and teachers. Work was halted completely, and in May 2017 the remaining active site now functions as a clinker grinding site rather than active production to reduce environmental pollution. If calendars are accurate barometers to estimate closure dates, then this would have closed in mid-1997.

 

I initially feared there would be little if anything left here, having seen older reports of vast wasteland full of stuff and hearing it was demolished, but the site was so vast I suspected there's bound to be something left to enjoy. So as I left the station opposite, I was greeted by a vast empty wasteland, marked out only by a solitary beacon of a cement kiln. There was a small hut next to it with scooters and cars outside... was it security? I didn't want to find out, so in I went and nobody came.

 

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Before you ask, NO I didn't climb that ladder!

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So I walked up the road across the vast wasteland, to the abandoned site. There were numerous lorries coming in and out... oh shit was this still live? I still couldn't work out what the activity was all for. But getting in... literally there were no fences or any attempt made to seal the site off. Just walk straight in and you have free roam!

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Nobody here to disturb me, nobody here to catch me out. Superb. Not knowing what to expect made finding stuff like this control panel even more exciting!

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Unfortunately however the lack of a tripod (except for my gorillapod) means I was restricted in the angles I could shoot.

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Before going to the more northern parts of the site, I decide to risk getting closer to the operational area and found even more exciting stuff! I still never saw anyone, somehow...

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It was at this point I was disturbed by movement in the darkness... luckily it was only two gaunt looking stray dogs, who were scared of me and so ran off back outside.

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I made my way around more of the complex, which had been so badly ruined and taken over by nature taking photos was difficult if not impossible. Unfortunately this meant I missed the final building, but judging by other reports there was little to see inside.

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So I continued up to the active part, expecting it to be derelict. It would have been so easy to access, but the sound of buzzing and clunking heavy machinery meant I avoided it for another day at least. I walked along the road, expecting to head out back into the city where things started to take a hilarious turn. I walked past the gate security, who seemed to be giving me contradictory information which suggested I couldn't go back the way I came (this was actually a public road; Google street view says so) and couldn't cross the level crossing either. So a friendly Taiwanese man drives up to me and asks me what I'm doing... all in Mandarin.

 

I can speak Mandarin, but I'm miles off being fluent, so I had to comically bluff my way out of this situation.

 

"What are you doing?"

 

"Taking pictures."

 

"Where did you come from?"

 

<Points to the road I came from> "That way, and I want to go back here"

 

"This is a private road. Do you want to take pictures of the trains?"

 

"Errrrrrrrrrr... yeah for sure!"

 

"Where do you want to take them from?"

 

"Errrrrrrrrrr... across the road looks like a good place."

 

"OK I can drive you back onto the main road."

 

"Oh... Great, thank you so much!"

 

He has no idea where I've been or what I've done, despite being covered in white dust and tree scratches.

 

So he drives me back out onto the main road, and drives back in. I burst into absolute belly laughter. TBM wins again!

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仁友綜合醫院/Renyou General Hospital, Jiayi

Visited with Anew Calling. This is the final call of the exploring adventures, and arguably the most exciting/tense explore I've done in many many years.

 

Very little history exists, and the articles that I've found document previous exploring adventures and idiotic ghost hunting experiences. They've also tried to keep the identity of the location secret, but lets be honest if you don't scan your own photos carefully there's always going to be something that gives it away, like patient records. Ha ha ha! All I can really ascertain is that the hospital closed to poor management practices and loss of funding (the calendar says 4th April 2008), and is now in the middle of a dispute between the hospital dean and the Jiayi government over unpaid taxes. That's pretty much all I know.

 

The hospital itself is wide open, and ironically despite not having a single scribble of vandalism has been absolutely raped and pillaged to within an inch of its life, full to the brim with junk and debris from where either pikeys (what do the Taiwanese call the European equivalent? LOL) or the owners have torn out anything valuable. All the beds have gone, but funnily enough there is plenty of stuff like expired drugs, bed linen and hospital paraphenalia just stacked everywhere in boxes. There's no on-site security, but there's the arch nemesis of every explorer... PIRs. Two of them.

 

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We enter the building and get ready. I do a quick scan of the corridor into the hospital foyer, and can't spot them for the life of me. Yet as soon as I step in, I hear a woman's voice... 異常發生! 異常發生! 異常發生! This basically translates to English as abnormal activity detected, coming from the alarm panel. We head straight for the top floors, constantly looking out the windows for any remote response units. The door to the central part of the roof is jammed shut. Back down a floor, we happily wander up and down the corridors snapping away, we try the main roof and find the doors wide open. Walk around, then step back into the staircase... we hear voices and footsteps. Oh SHIIIIIIT!

 

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So we wait for 15-20 minutes, hiding on the roof. Ironically a place they never actually bother to check. We go back about 2-3 times and still hear them wandering around. Then the voices disappear, and we are seriously on edge.

 

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We wander up and down the hospital corridors floor by floor, finding very little of interest sadly. All is very much the same, trashed empty rooms sometimes filled with interesting (or not) junk.

 

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Expired medicine. I've never seen so much piled up in one place!

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Then we reach the 4th floor an hour or so later, more relaxed. But then it takes a tense turn... I look back out into the corridor and there are 2 guards looking in every room for us! We hide, and expect to be caught there and then. Literally metres away, we stand there in deathlike silence; I flick the camera onto movie mode, expecting to be caught. I suggested giving myself up, but Anew Calling disagrees. We hear them open and close doors, talking to each other. I look out again, and one of them is walking down the corridor straight towards us, but somehow he doesn't see us! They leave. Oh my fucking god, I'm absolutely shitting it now. I can't fathom how he didn't spot me.

 

We head down a floor, into the ICU ward. It looks like a bomb has gone off in this room it's THAT trashed. Someone has literally come in here with a sledgehammer and gone riot.

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We think the security have gone now, so I flick the camera onto movie mode. First into the basement, it's full of more medical junk. The lower basement, which has the x-ray room, and if there is one here, the mortuary, sadly is flooded and inaccessible. Back into the foyer, and we trip the alarms again (one either side, no escape). I run around looking for interesting rooms, but there are none, so I snap one of the foyer before heading to the dispensary. No chance...

 

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過來!Either the guard was waiting outside in his car for us or he was waiting inside a room for us, but he's nailed us. We run out straight throught the window we came in from; looking back, there he is, thinking he'd nailed us. We try running, but it's no use. He calls us back. BUSTED!

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So he's called back his colleague (I recognised his silhouette as the guy in the corridor), and then proceeds to call the police. Anew Calling tries to play dumb and bluff them into thinking he has a train to catch urgently (all in broken Mandarin, may I add), but they don't buy it and don't let him leave. They see right through it, and laughed! The police turn up, and it's left to me to be a translator for them because nobody speaks English at all. He just searches our bag and warns us about the dangers of the building, and how he was recently called to rescue someone who got trapped in the lift (he wasn't bluffing either; there's evidence of the door being forced!). Thankfully I spoke enough Mandarin to put them all at ease, and in turn the police and guards were super friendly and courteous to me (even if you speak A1 Mandarin, they really appreciate your efforts). Not sure they had such a good impression of ANC playing stupid though... ha! I voluntarily handed over my details, and then we were allowed on our way with a wave and good wishes for the Chinese new year.

 

TBM wins again.

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On 2/10/2019 at 4:24 AM, True_British_Metal said:

little if any effort is made to seal any buildings from intruders and yet sites see so little vandalism. Security guards are rare, too

 

Really enjoyed that, some real gems over there - that control panel 😮. Cheers for posting @True_British_Metal :thumb 

 

:comp: 

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Some interesting places there, looks like you've been busy over there! Nice to see you posting again.

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Really great report(s) & shots, I especially like the theme park and the cement works.

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Nice to read about your adventures and some nice pics to go with it. Interesting to hear about how abandoned buildings are seen there and the haphazard approach to security 😏

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