5 Abandoned Places in Korea to Visit… if you dare
Abandoned places in Korea run the gamut from creepy to retro to simply fantastic. So whether you’re looking to get scared out of your wits, take a walk down nostalgia lane, or simply be amazed, there’s definitely a perfect forsaken place for you to explore.
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ABANDONED PLACES IN KOREA
Yeongdeok Ghost House
This abandoned house in Yeongdeok is haunted by the ghosts of 700 student soldiers who were killed by North Korean special forces during the battle of Inchon. Or so the rumours say. Visitors claim to be able to hear the disturbed cries of young voices coming from inside the house, begging for help. The super creepy thing is that their bodies were never found.
There are other rumours surrounding this abandoned house in Korea. Some say that the original owner of the house was killed in an automobile accident, and that all subsequent owners also met an early end. And then there’s the story about the giant serpent that inhabits the house…
If you want to get a little freaked out (like I did), check out this video for more info:
Yongma Land is an abandoned amusement park in northeastern Seoul. It’s heyday was in the 1980s and the place is full of retro rides and carny vibes. There’s a clown themed roller coaster, Viking ship, defunct bumper cars, and eerie carousel just waiting for you to explore. Look hard enough and you’ll find Sailor Moon, Michael Jackson, and maybe even the ghost of a young girl rumoured to have died on a poorly constructed ride.
The washed out theme park atmosphere of Yongma Land has attracted numerous musicians and photographers, with the most famous video being Crayon Pop’s “Bar Bar Bar.” I guess they didn’t run into the little girl’s ghost while filming? They look disturbingly perky.
Head to Mangu Station on the Gyeongui-Jungang line, and then take a short bus or taxi ride or slightly longer walk, until you reach the first gate. Pass through it and when you reach the second gate, you’ll find a ticket booth. This is where you pay the 5000KRW entrance fee to the owner. If he’s not there, there’s a phone number to call. Don’t worry if you can’t speak Korean – just mention “Yongma Land,” and you’re in. If you really want to see the ghostly horses of that faded carousel come to life, you can pay the owner an extra 20-30,000KRW to turn it on.
Keep in mind that Yongma Land, despite its cool factor, is an abandoned site in Korea. Be careful where you tread as there is potential for injury.
Nungnae Station isn’t someplace you go to get scared out of your wits. Rather, this is a place to feel nostalgic about a bygone era. The last train left Nungnae Station a long time ago, and it sat abandoned and forgotten in Korea until it was revitalized with retro-feeling props and vintage photos.
Now it attracts photographers, tourists, and residents wanting to reminisce about an older, more gentle time. These days, there’s a cafe built inside an old train car and picnic tables on train tracks for you to enjoy.
Nungnae Station is located in Namyangju, just east of Seoul. Take the Gyeongui-Jungang line to Paldang Station. From there, you can take a bus, or short taxi ride to your final destination. If the weather is cooperating, I recommend you rent a bicycle outside of Exit 1, and take the 30 minute bike ride along the Han River to Nungnae Station instead. This is a super popular activity in this area with good reason.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can continue riding past Nungnae Station for another 15 minutes to explore Dasan Historic Site, Museum of Silhak, and Dasan Eco Park. At Dasan Eco Park, you’ll have a gorgeous view of Paldang Lake, where the Namhangang and Bukhan Rivers meet. From there, it’s just another 30 minute bike ride back around to Paldang Station.
Neulbom Garden is another one of Korea’s most haunted abandoned places. Twenty years ago, it was a popular restaurant in Jecheon, North Chungcheong selling grilled meats. When the owner’s only daughter was killed in a tragic accident, her father committed suicide. This part of the story is sadly true.
It was sold many years later, only to have the new owners and staff reporting slamming doors, plates falling, and other unexplained phenomena. After the new owner went a little justifiably nuts, Neulbom Garden closed its doors forever.
FYI: There’s a restaurant with the same name currently operating in Namyangju. Don’t confuse the two, because this one is definitely abandoned.
Gonjiam Psychiatric Hospital: The One I Wish I’d Seen
Abandoned in 1995, there’s not much creepier than an empty psychiatric hospital. With stories of mysteriously dying patients and psychotic doctors running through the public consciousness, it’s no wonder that it’s considered one of the most haunted places in Korea. CNN even called it one “of the freakiest places on the planet.”
It’s so creepy that a horror film was made about it.
You can let your imagination run wild now.
*Unfortunately (or fortunately?), this place was recently demolished in May of 2018. I’m guessing because the owner got tired of trespassers and ghostly stories making it impossible to sell the property (but don’t quote me on that).
TIPS / CAUTIONS FOR EXPLORING ABANDONED PLACES IN KOREA
A lot of these abandoned places in Korea are full of interesting objects. That doesn’t mean they’re yours for the taking. Stealing is not ok, even when it seems like it’s been left behind and unwanted. Remember that you’re a guest in these forgotten places. Sure, they’re deserted, but you still need to respect the space. Don’t touch anything and leave it as you found it.
Don’t force entry into any of these abandoned sites. Sure, they’re empty and unloved, but someone still owns the land or property, and if you do, you’re trespassing and committing an illegal act.
Finally, stay safe. Abandoned places in Korea are mostly not well-maintained, so there are potential hazards all over these sites. Be extra careful as you wander around, so you don’t get hurt.
Have you visited any abandoned places in Korea? Were they creepy, cool or crazy? Let us know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!