Daring enough for dark tourism? Here are 7 haunted places in Asia you must visit!
Halloween is here once again, which means we have got to talk about the darker side of things. One of the things that have gotten our team at Fayyaz Travels super curious is the emerging trend of dark tourism. Now, what is dark tourism? It involves the practice of travelling to locations that are historically known for backgrounding death, tragedies and crazy sufferings. In Asia, some haunted destinations date way back to ancient civilizations. If you are daring enough to go on some dark tours this Halloween, here are seven haunted places in Asia you might want to check out!
1. Chibichiri Cave in Okinawa, Japan
Japan is home to several hauntings that were caused by war. The Japanese island of Okinawa, for one, is one of those sites that had served as the background for World War II. At the time, around 100,000 Japanese people lost their lives either in battle or as innocent collateral damage. Remaining civilians had to hide in caves by the time American invaders set foot in Japan. One such cave was Chibichiri. The cave’s inhabitants were said to fear the possibility of rape, torture, and murder by American soldiers. So fearful they were that parents had resorted to killing themselves and their kids to avoid resting their fates in the hands of the invaders. Apparently, you can still find human bones in Chibichiri Cave today, which is probably why it’s one of CNN’s ‘10 Scariest Places in Asia.’
2. Kurseong in India
Kurseong is a town near the famous Darjeeling in northeast India. It’s nestled between the borders of Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh, which meant that their history was complex. Its terrains are infamously haunted but, as dark tourism would have it, still a well-known touristic destination. The entire hill-station bears the appearance of a true ghost town. But don’t let its eerily calm facade fool you. Horrific hauntings in the form of a headless corpse, people hunters, red eyes in the dark, and womanly screams are said to lurk Kurseong’s very corners. Many encounters have been connected to a haunted Victorian school located on Dow Hill, which also hosts a forest said to be the place where suicides and merciless killings take place.
3. Green Island in Taiwan
Taiwan’s Green Island used to be a penal colony for political prisoners during the White Terror regime. Numerous political dissidents had disappeared from the island during a 38-year martial law period in the country. Meanwhile, a lot of civilian families torn apart, with many of their loved ones of all ages killed by the regime’s firing squads. Think it’s all heartless? Check out the official policy of the era, which went: “Better to kill one by mistake than to let one go in error.” It’s no wonder that ghosts of these unrested souls still haunt the island to this day.
4. Ghost Hill in Penang, Malaysia
Known as ‘Bukit Hantu’ in Malay, Ghost Hill in Penang, Malaysia, is another destination in Asia that bore the horrors of World War II. It doesn’t help that even before the war, supernatural encounters were already a thing in the area. How did it all start? British colonists in Malaysia had built a fortress on Ghost Hill in the 1930s. Japanese soldiers were able to quickly invade the fortress and turned it into a prison camp. There, hundreds of souls were tortured and executed by Japanese forces led by the sadistic officer Tadashi Suzuki, also known as the “hippy executioner”. He beheaded prisoners and ordered their heads to be paraded around town as a warning. He also locked prisoners in small wooden crates and left them to bake in the jungle sun without water. Today, the prison camp serves as the Penang War Museum. When there, you will see that their walls are pocked with bullet holes, a memoir of all the bloody executions that were done there. There’s also a hangman’s noose and a tree labelled “guillotine,” which was said to be Suzuki’s favourite spot for decapitations.
5. The Forbidden City in Beijing, China
China has an ultimately rich history of dynasties that ruled in the age of conquering. The Forbidden City was the epicentre of the Ming dynasty (from 1368 to 1644) all the way through to the Qing dynasty (from 1644 to 1912). With almost a thousand buildings in its perimeter, the place is massive. It can take you an entire day or even more to cover the entire complex. But as majestic as The Forbidden City is on the outside, it does harbour a dark past that has given way to many grave supernatural encounters. From soldiers and patrol guards to concubines and fallen members of the imperial courts, more than 600 people were allegedly murdered inside the walls of this city. One of the most memorable spirits that are haunting The Forbidden City is a faceless woman who would roam around after visiting hours. If that isn’t scary, we don’t know what is!
6. Wat Phra Si Sanphet Temple in Ayuttaya, Thailand
As a trade and commerce centre attracting colonial prospects from England, Portugal, and the Netherlands in the 1700s, Ayutthaya used to be one of the largest cities in the world. However, things took for a dark, bloodied turn when Burmese troops had stormed into the city in a siege and killed everyone they could find before stealing its resources. Wat Phra Si Sanphet, the city’s main temple and holy site, was not spared from the gruesome activities. Little wonder why so many tourists would report encounters with ghosts in bloody and gory forms at the temple’s ruins.
7. Old Changi Hospital in Singapore
As much as they are intended for healing life, hospitals are unfortunately also a ground for supernatural haunting thanks to death and decay. The abandoned ones tend to embody a particularly sinister presence that even time cannot heal. The defunct Old Changi Hospital in Singapore is an example. The site is known among Singaporeans as one of the most haunted spots on the island state. The hospital was built in 1935 for the British Royal Air Force and as such, catered to injured victims of the war. But things spiralled down when the Japanese force assumed control of the facilities and converted it into a secret torture ground from 1942 to 1945. After the war ended, Old Changi resumed its original operation as a hospital. But things were never again the same, so in 1997, it was permanently closed down. Those who would visit the site today would always disclose sightings of dismembered bodies, shadow people, and malevolent entities within its decaying walls.