By The Urban Tourist
I discovered this big factory almost 2 years ago. It used to build washing machines and it was closed down more than 10 years ago. At that time it was already obvious that the location was completely empty... but what made me really interested in this place was the colour of some building of the complex: that very particular red, which almost seems like blood, was enough to make me say "I need to go there". And so I did. As I guessed, there was nothing inside lol, but I don't regret this exploration at all...
Btw this place is a little bit tricky because it's completely surrounded by houses, so everyone can see you. We had to hide in various occasion: one time there was a watch dog who was barking to us from his home so we hid ourselves behind a wall, just 2 meters away from it. Luckily its owners didn't get why that dog was barking that much. At some point an old lady and her husband saw us but in the end nothing happened...
Here is the complete album: https://flic.kr/s/aHskSXJdtA
So after Chinese New Year there was yet another public holiday in Taiwan, and you know what that means? More exploring! This here is a compilation of different sites all well known to the exploring network, all very famous but compared to the general benchmark not enough to warrant standalone reports again. As I mentioned before, sometimes it's about scratching the itch just to get it off your mind rather than the drop-everything hit-the-road urge you get for some places.
台灣民俗村/Taiwan Folk Village
Taiwan Folk Village was a mock-traditional park east of Huatan, near Zhanghua in the Bagua Mountain Scenic Area. Opened in 1993 it was a hugely successful site, a showcase of Taiwan traditional temples and aboriginal architecture (straw huts, temples and so forth) although if you ask me it all felt tacky with little historic value. That's the trouble with Taiwan; compared to Europe precious little remains of genuine, traditional architecture of dynasty's gone past. Not only that, I cannot understand what desire people have to turn such places into theme parks complete with swimming pools and rides rather than showcase the history. I digress.
As with so many places in Taiwan, the 921 Earthquake meant a sharp drop in visitor numbers, pushing the operating company into the red, culminating in closure come 2012.
It's in the backwaters of Taiwan with no public transport, so I had to begrudgingly take a taxi to get there. Unfortunately the taxi driver was oblivious to my intentions and dropped me off at the main gate, in full view of security. I get out, and there they are sat outside the cabin staring at me and wondering what I want to do. I don't want to ruin my chances and arouse suspicion, so I walked away as they watched. Awkward. I walk up the road and look for a way in, but there's a huge drop from the road down to the boundary fence. Getting in was a mission to say the least, having to find a safe spot to drop down and then find a suitable point to actually enter the site! I finally found one after considerable effort, then had to beat through thick bushes to get onto the roof of the main walls. A challenge, but I have an itch to scratch so I don't have a choice.
Although I've lived in Taiwan for 2+ years, for those unfamiliar with Asian architecture the attention to detail in temples is beautiful; each aspect is unique. Unfortunately the interior was stripped and somewhat decayed with zero interest.
The site is not fully abandoned, however. There are plenty of buddhist shrines and the mock-village buildings are still maintained by on-site staff. I saw a handful of scooters parked up around the site, and was certain there was someone lurking in places least expected so I had to be very careful.
The biggest problem however was a dozen or so stray dogs who ran around in packs. Any sight of a foreigner liked myself triggered a chorus of barking, not out of hostility but perhaps curiosity and simply being an unexpected presence. Unfortunately this meant I had to move fast from building to building to avoid getting attention from security or caretakers.
I tried to access the best part of the site, the beautiful mock-village quarters in the middle of the site, however to protect the shrines and interior these were completely locked up.
At the northernmost part of the site was a large temple, which I managed to get inside however the interior was completely empty and lacking in interest. I was absolutely certain there was a caretaker lurking inside too, so only 2 shots.
I went in search of the carousel and theme park attractions to the west of the site, however since the previous reports these have all been demolished. No loss, but that meant it was time to leave, so I headed back out and bade farewell. A derp for sure, but not a complete waste of time.
Stay tuned for the rest. Love as always,
Back in the early 2000's I started videotaping (yes, we used tape back then) some of my explorations of various abandoned industrial sites in and around Toronto. I eventually made a film called Echoes of Forgotten Places, it may be one of the earliest documentaries on the subject.
It's available once again on DVD region 0:
The trailer is still on youtube: