Yangliufeng Mansion 楊柳風燒酒全故宅

A merchant’s home

During the Japanese colonial era the liquor trade in Taiwan—along with tobacco, camphor, and several other goods—was tightly controlled by a government agency, the Monopoly Bureau. Alcohol was sold exclusively through a network of authorized distributors, many of whom were local Taiwanese who evidently became quite wealthy, as this crumbling yet majestic ruin in the back alleys of Changhua City 彰化市 would suggest. Located along a small laneway just off Minsheng Road 民生路, this two-story brick mansion was formerly the residence of the local liquor monopoly distributor.

Jukuiju 聚奎居

Jukuiju, an abandoned mansion in Taichung

Jukuiju 聚奎居 is an abandoned mansion in Wuri 烏日, Taichung 台中, built in 1920 by Chen Shaozong 陳紹宗, a wealthy businessman and landowner. The architecture is a combination of the traditional Taiwanese sanheyuan 三合院 (a U-shaped building with three parts surrounding a central courtyard) and the Baroque Revival style of the Japanese colonial era. It is located on the rundown, industrial margins of the city, along an otherwise unremarkable lane next to a military base, looking completely out of place in space and time.

Jinshuncheng Hoffmann Kiln 金順成八卦窯

Inside the brick kiln in Huatan Township

Jinshuncheng Hoffmann Kiln 金順成八卦窯 is located on the eastern Changhua Plain 彰化平原 in Huatan 花壇, a rural township south of Changhua City 彰化市. During the Japanese colonial era this part of Taiwan specialized in brick and ceramic production due to plentiful supplies of high-quality clay, and the industry continued to expand after the arrival of the KMT. This particular kiln only dates back to the early 1960s and is the last of its kind in Changhua. For that reason the county government designated it a historic building in 2010 but very little has been done to clean the site and make it inviting to visitors.

Vanilla Garden Minsu 香草園民宿

The front deck of the termite palace at Spring grass gardens 春

I was out riding a scooter from Changhua 彰化 the hot springs resort town of Guanziling in rural Tainan 台南 when I noticed a rundown, seemingly abandoned building by the roadside in the mountains of Zhongpu, Chiayi 嘉義. Stopping to investigate, I discovered a minsu 民宿 (essentially a bed and breakfast) in the early stages of decay. Initially I had no luck finding out any information about this place but more recently I uncovered its formal name: Dongzijiao Vanilla Garden Minsu 凍仔腳香草園民宿. Dongzijiao, apparently famous for its betel nut crop, is the name of the nearest village.

Changren Waste Flues 長仁廢煙道

Remnants of a lost kingdom

The waste flues of Ruifang 瑞芳 are an extraordinary sight. The ruins of these massive, crumbling conduits run for miles up the mountainside from the Shuinandong Smelter 水湳洞精鍊廠 and the rest of the abandoned mining complex below. Originally built during the KMT authoritarian era to transport noxious fumes and waste gases away from the refinery—and nearby settlements like Jinguashi 金瓜石—these flues are reputedly the longest in the world.

Minxiong Liu Family Mansion 民雄劉家洋樓

Wrapped around the window of the Minxiong ghost house

The Liu Family Mansion 劉家古厝 in Minxiong 民雄, Chiayi 嘉義, is one of the most famous ruins in all Taiwan. Situated in the countryside just outside of town, this old Baroque Revival-style red brick building is more informally known as the dreaded Minxiong Ghost House 民雄鬼屋. It was built in 1929 for Liu Rongyu 劉溶裕, a businessman with seven children, and appears to have been abandoned sometime in the early 1950s, not long after the end of Japanese colonial rule.

Yongye Road Hotel 永業路旅館

The remains of a bar at the top of the Yongye road (永業路) hotel

I was out cycling through Bitan in Xindian 新店 one night when I noticed a big building with blown-out windows looming over Yongye Road 永業路. The skeletal outline of a collapsed rooftop against the umbral sky confirmed my suspicions: this building was abandoned. It was too dark to take a closer look that particular night but I vowed to return.

Encore Garden 亞哥花園

Apparitions in the overgrowth

Encore Garden 亞哥花園 is an abandoned theme park in the hills above Taichung 台中 in Taiwan. I learned about this urban explorer’s dream after reading up on Katolis World 卡多里樂園, another abandoned amusement park in Beitun 北屯. I was dismayed to find out that Katolis World was demolished years ago but then I found this post confirming the existence of another abandonment nearby. With the clues provided—and some Google Maps sleuthing; those Street View cameras really get around these days—I was able to identify a likely target in the hills above the main highway. Apart from that I knew very little about what I was getting myself into at Encore Garden—there is almost no other information available on the English language web.