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Want to escape tourist-trap attractions, busy crowds, and overpriced fares? Planning to experience only the hidden elements of Southeast Asia? How about adding an extra sense of adventure into the mix? Look no further, here’s a list of the best-abandoned buildings in Southeast Asia, guaranteed to have your heart pounding, your eyes wide, and your camera at the ready.
New World Shopping Mall – Bangkok, Thailand
Built in 1982, this 11-story shopping center was closed after only 15 years in business. The story goes that after the mall’s closure it was discovered the owner had only been given permission to build four stories. Consequently, seven of the floors were removed and as a result of the demolition, the building was left without a roof. Due to Bangkok’s heavy rains, the empty corridors were soon filled with water. It didn’t take long before the newly-formed pool was inhabited by flies and Koi fish, creating a beautifully strange scene where the brightly-colored creatures swam near the water’s surface alongside the tops of escalators.
The abandoned mall has since seen an influx of visitors hoping to get a photo of the rusty structures, weeds, and urban aquarium, until health concerns were raised and access to the public was forbidden. The local government is currently undergoing the bizarre task of emptying the mall of its fish pond.
Green Mansion – Xizhi, Taiwan
Nestled in the mountains, and a favorite among urbex (urban exploration) travelers, this building was the setting for a Taiwanese soap opera, intended to be the mansion of a wealthy main character. The reason for the Green’s Mansion abandonment is unknown but there are rumors that a murder took place on the grounds and due to Taiwanese superstition, people have been afraid to enter ever since.
These days the outside of the house is marked by graffiti, smashed items, and disused construction materials. Not too long ago the interior was a museum to the home it used to be: the furniture stained, chandeliers loose, and the wallpaper peeling. Nowadays, the rooms are surprisingly bare, having been gutted by authorities and visited by a number of thrill-seekers.
Bokor Hill Station – Kampot, Cambodia
Bokor Hill Station is an iconic haunted house. The hairs on the back of your neck are sure to stand up as you arrive at the isolated location, gaze at the walls swallowed by red lichen, tip-toe through rusty doorways and enter the vacant open spaces—lit only by the reflection of sunlight on the puddles on the floor. Sitting 3,543 feet high, looking out over the Gulf of Thailand, Bokor Hill was once an exquisite hilltop town.
Originally built in the 1920s for French soldiers to escape Cambodia’s sweltering heat, the derelict buildings are now a must-see for travelers seeking a creepy day out. The buildings are presently undergoing some restoration courtesy of a private investor, so thrill-seekers should act fast in order to catch Bokor Hill Station in all its eeriness.
Chiang Shopping Complex – Chiang Mai, Thailand
Once a splendid chain of stores in Chiang Mai, today the shopping complex sits silently, casting shadows over the surrounding area. Forced to close due to the declining Thai economy and opposing political interests, the building looks relatively untouched. You could easily believe the traditional terracotta architecture was being prepared for a grand opening, rather than permanent shutdown. The complex is officially off-limits to the public but there are reports that the guards are lenient about letting foreigners in to explore.
Sanzhi UFO Houses – New Taipei City, Taiwan
Officially known as Sanzhi Pod City, the buildings here looked like they’re from the future and the past at the same time. Shaped like spaceships, the discolored, pale houses were built for American personnel stationed in Asia. However, construction stopped after only two years and the resort has remained empty since. Once littered with broken glass, concrete shrapnel and the remnants of pool slides, the resort was eventually demolished in 2008. There have supposedly been plans to build holiday homes in place of the sauce-style structures, so depending on the success of the rebuilds, there could be another abandoned site to check out soon.