Huaguo Theater 華國戲院 is one of hundreds of abandoned theaters scattered around Taiwan. Located in Puli 埔里, a town of approximately 80,000 in the heart of Nantou 南投, this particular theater was likely built in the late 1950s. From what I’ve read in this post by Wang Henglu 王亨祿, this theater was operated by a couple with the family name Zhou 周 and specialized in showing Western films on a single screen before its inevitable demise.
I went out cycling in the mountains behind my place today, a small reward for waking up early. Little did I know it would turn out to be the hottest day of the year thus far—so here I am, weak with heatstroke, head pounding as I strike every keystroke. Midnight passes and I realize it’s Earth Day, a fine occasion to share this broken-down, abandoned automobile I found on the mountainous backroads of Nangang District 南港區 earlier today. I’m calling it an environmentally-friendly car, huanbaoche 環保車 in Chinese, but of course it is nothing of the kind. Nature is working her magic on this discarded relic of human civilization but it’ll be quite some time before she’s through with it.…
Jiangling New Village 江陵新村 was one of more than 800 military dependents’ village in Taiwan before its ultimate destruction in mid-2015. It was formerly located not far from the confluence of Jingmei River 景美溪 and Xindian River 新店溪 just outside Taipei 台北 city limits in the northern part of Xindian 新店. Immediately to the south is an active military base of some kind—and the historic Jingmei Prison can be found on the opposite side of the nearest major intersection.
Several years ago I went hiking in the mountains north of Jingtong 菁桐, an old coal mining town in Pingxi 平溪, and found this abandoned home on the way back down. Technically it is located in Erkeng 二坑, literally Second Pit, the tiny village that sprawls upslope from the railway station. At that time I was quite new to exploring abandoned places in Taiwan and had no idea what to make of it. Under what circumstances did the former resident depart? Why did they leave almost everything behind? These are questions without any answer.
Ruchuan Village 入船里 is a small community in Keelung 基隆, a historic port town of approximately 373,000 scattered among the rugged hills of northeastern Taiwan. Keelung’s growth over the last century has been constrained by a lack of flat land on which to build—with much of that concentrated at the foot of the harbour that now constitutes the downtown core. With few other options for expansion the city has sprawled upward along the hillsides and deep into the many valleys leading up from the port.
Khoo Tsu-song Old House 許梓桑古厝 is a scenic historic site atop a modest hill near Miaokou Night Market 廟口夜市 in Keelung 基隆. Built in 1931 while Taiwan was under Japanese rule, it is structured somewhat like a traditional Taiwanese three-sided courtyard home with some Western influences and building materials. Formally named Qingyu Hall 慶餘堂, it was the residence of Khoo Tsu-song (1874–1945), an important figure in local politics and civic affairs during the Japanese colonial era. His name is rendered here in romanized Taiwanese Hokkien, in keeping with the conventions adopted by the Keelung cultural bureau.
Bicycle touring is one means by which I discover many abandoned places in Taiwan. Ride in just about any direction long enough, keep your eyes peeled, and you’re bound to encounter the telltale signs of decay and neglect sooner or later. Such was the case one fine morning in June 2015 when I set out to have breakfast in Fangliao 枋寮, a small town along the coast of central Pingtung 屏東, while en route to Hengchun 恆春, at the southern tip of the island. I had barely been awake for half an hour when I noticed this partially overgrown ruin along the roadside.
The massive ruins of the Yutian Automotive Factory 羽田汽車工廠 are located on the Dayeh University campus in Dacun 大村, Changhua 彰化. There are four main buildings, each approximately 360 meters in length and 90 meters across for an estimated total of 32,500 square meters apiece. Outside of the Changhua Coastal Industrial Park 彰化濱海工業區 in Lukang 鹿港 (which opened in 1995) these buildings are probably the largest in the county—and the entire complex is readily visible from space.
Not long after moving to Wenshan District 文山區 in Taipei 台北 I went out riding to explore the neighbourhood. At some point I found myself on the opposite side of Jingmei River from where I was living at the time. Nestled into a bend in the river, this small nub of land was home to several factories, office buildings, and hotels that looked like they probably charged by the hour. There were almost no homes whatsoever—which seemed rather strange for that part of the city—but as I cycled along a Baoqiao Road 寶橋路 laneway I noticed a traditional home hidden in the foliage to one side and stopped to investigate.
Anping Tree House 安平樹屋 is one of the main attractions in Anping 安平, the old colonial quarter of Tainan 台南, and yet another example of disaster tourism in Taiwan. I only got around to going over the lunar new year break despite having lived in Tainan for several months last year. I suppose the fact that it is an actual tourist attraction kept me from checking it out before, but I’m glad I went. Since a few of the photos turned out well enough to share I figure I may as well add it to my growing catalog of abandoned places in Taiwan.