Golden Birds Paradise 金鳥海族樂園

Not long after returning to Taiwan in 2015 I received an invitation from a friend to go road tripping down to Hsinchu 新竹 to check out an abandoned theme park. Along the way we stopped off to check out a derelict cablecar station and the restored Hexing Station 合興車站 before arriving at the gateway to Golden Birds Paradise 金鳥海族樂園. Located in the rolling hills of Hsinchu 新竹 not far from the border Táoyuán 桃園, it was among the most extensive and well-known theme parks of northern Taiwan at its peak in the 1990s. Business faltered with the rise of new forms of entertainment in the 2000s and from what I can tell it was completely abandoned nearly a decade ago. Most of the amusement park rides were torn out and probably sold for scrap metal long ago—but many of the original buildings remain, neglected and overgrown.

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We Once Dreamed of The Stars

Pictured here is one of many rides at Encore Garden 亞哥花園, an abandoned theme park up in the hills of Taichung 台中. It was an eerie experience exploring it while on my inaugural bicycle tour around Taiwan. There were none of the usual fairground sounds one would expect—only the haunting calls of nature, of insects buzzing through the air and amphibians croaking in the soggy undergrowth below.

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Haunted Negatives

I regularly find photographic negatives while exploring old buildings in Taiwan. Negatives interest me as they record something of the lives of those who have vanished. Sometimes I will pick up a set of negatives and hold them up to the light in a vain attempt to peer through a tiny window into the past. I seldom see much more than the glowing silhouettes of people standing in the sun.

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Encore Garden 亞哥花園

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 Běitún 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.

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