Take a Look Around Asia's Spookiest Buildings... if You Dare
- Old Changi Hospital, SingaporeOld Changi Hospital, Singapore
- Dragon Lodge, Hong KongDragon Lodge, Hong Kong
- Manila Film Centre, Manila, PhilippinesManila Film Centre, Manila, Philippines
- Highland Towers, Ulu Klang, Selangor, MalaysiaHighland Towers, Ulu Klang, Selangor, Malaysia
- Minxiong Haunted House, TaiwanMinxiong Haunted House, Taiwan
- Gunkanjima, aka "Ghost Island", JapanGunkanjima, aka "Ghost Island", Japan
- Gonjiam Psychiatric Hospital, Gyeonggi, South KoreaGonjiam Psychiatric Hospital, Gyeonggi, South Korea
Which of these spooky Asian buildings is the scariest? We'll let you decide.
Hubble, bubble, toil and trouble. Join us this Halloween as we take a tour around some of Asia's spookiest and most haunted abandoned buildings.
From an abandoned haunted house in one of Hong Kong's most expensive neighbourhoods to a Manila movie theatre with a tragic backstory, these real-life buildings put the settings of Asia's scariest horror movies to shame with their tales of woe.
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Old Changi Hospital, Singapore
Singapore's Old Changi Hospital has gained a reputation for being haunted, with many eerie and frightening ghost stories (proven or not) that have been passed down from generation to generation. Back in World War II, it was captured by Japanese forces and used as a healthcare facility for prisoners of war. But instead of treating the POWs, the hospital was reportedly used as a torture chamber to extract information from them.
There have been rumours that even today, you can hear screams echo throughout the hospital's corridors late at night. After the war, the hospital was eventually handed over to the Ministry of Health, which opened it to the public. Because of its hilltop location, it was difficult for both patients and healthcare personnel to scale the hospital's steep stairs, and it was closed down.
The Old Changi Hospital is still abandoned to this day, with the building one of Singapore's hotspots for ghost sightings and supernatural happenings.
Dragon Lodge, Hong Kong
Being built atop Hong Kong's Victoria Peak in one of the city's prime locations hasn't stopped this abandoned Victorian Villa from acquiring a reputation for being haunted. After the first owner of Dragon Lodge––who built the property on Lugard Road in the 1900s––declared bankruptcy and the second owner met an unsavoury end, the house was taken over by Japanese soldiers who occupied the city during the Second World War.
Urban legends, passed down through generations of Hongkongers, state that several kidnapped Catholic nuns were beheaded in the property during the occupation. The building changed hands numerous times in the decades after the war but has been abandoned since the 1980s.
Efforts at redeveloping the house, which sits on a piece of prime real estate in one of Hong Kong's most exclusive neighbourhoods, were thwarted in the 2010s when the construction crews reported multiple ghost sightings and abandoned the project. Now, the building stands behind reinforced gates and barbed wire, fitted to keep eager Hong Kong ghost-seekers from exploring the property and spotting one of the former inhabitants for themselves.
Manila Film Centre, Manila, Philippines
Like most "haunted" locales, the Manila Film Centre holds a tragic past. In 1981, then-First Lady Imelda Marcos ordered the construction of the film centre to be the pièce de résistance of an international film festival due to be held in the city. Thousands of labourers were hired, and perhaps just as many died when the scaffolding collapsed on November 17, 1981, entrapping workers amidst debris and cement.
A media blackout ensued, and a reluctant rescue operation commenced belatedly. Rumours began to spread of the building's haunted nature, with many speaking of curses and ghostly apparitions. Despite the accident, the Film Centre continued to be built, so legend has it that the remains of hundreds of workers are still entombed within the building.
And in fact, the Manila International Film Festival still went ahead, its tragedy unbeknownst to the international guests who obliviously walked through what had been the site of a massacre.
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Highland Towers, Ulu Klang, Selangor, Malaysia
The tragic landslide and collapse of the Highland Towers apartment building in the Taman Hillview township on December 11, 1993, resulted in the deaths of 48 residents.
Today, the derelict structures that once were Blocks 2 and 3 of this condominium are still around–unsurprisingly the target of ghostly conspiracies and apparent spooky sightings, especially of a pontianak (a benevolent spirit of a pregnant woman who suffered a violent death).
Though earmarked for demolition in recent years, the abandoned towers have remained in the public's eye, attracting thrill-seekers and ghost hunters who are determined to capture evidence of the supernatural within its dark ruins.
Minxiong Haunted House, Taiwan
One of Taiwan's most well known haunted spots, the Minxiong house is so popular with ghost hunters that there's even a "Haunted Cafe" with two resident felines built next door to it.
Built by the wealthy landowner Liu Rong-yu in 1929, the house has been abandoned for over 70 years and is now covered with the roots of several colossal Banyan trees.
The story of the haunted house is a tragic one. It is rumoured that Liu Rong-yu fell in love with one of his servants, much to the displeasure of his wife who tortured the young servant and made her life a misery. After months of torment, the young woman couldn't take it anymore and so threw herself down the building's well and tragically died. Rumour has it that her spirit continues to haunt the building.
Gunkanjima, aka "Ghost Island", Japan
Abandoned old residential buildings in Gunkanjima(Photo: Getty Images)
The island's high-rises once packed over 6,000 people (Photo: Getty Images)
The island is now derelict, and a UNESCO heritage site(Photo: Getty Images)
If you think the island of Gunkanjima, aka "Ghost Island", looks like it's been frozen in time, that’s because it basically was. Once the home of a thriving community of over 6,000 people––its tiny one-square kilometre area was for a time the most densely populated place on the planet––Gunkanjima was developed in the 1900s by the Mitsubishi Corporation, keen to harvest its rich deep-sea coal deposits.
Once the coal ran out in 1974, the island's residents swiftly vacated, leaving the town to be taken over by nature once again. The site is now a designated UNESCO world heritage site and a popular filming location after its star turn in James Bonds' Skyfall in 2012.
Gonjiam Psychiatric Hospital, Gyeonggi, South Korea
There are spooky abandoned buildings, and then there's South Korea's Gonjiam Psychiatric Hospital. Forced to close in the 1990s, this mysterious spot is a favourite destination of tourists who scale the fence to check out the labyrinth of old treatment rooms, which still house old machinery, creaky furniture, and the rumoured spirits of former patients.