Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

10 scariest places in Asia

By Frances Cha, CNN
November 1, 2013 -- Updated 0942 GMT (1742 HKT)
Said to be one of the most haunted locations in Hong Kong, the now-abandoned Tat Tak School is the subject of many frightening tales, including reports of suicide and the ghost of a woman in red. Some cabbies refuse to take the road that leads to the school, which is surrounded by graves and also reportedly haunted. The school is featured in episode 1 of National Geographic's "I Wouldn't Go In There." Said to be one of the most haunted locations in Hong Kong, the now-abandoned Tat Tak School is the subject of many frightening tales, including reports of suicide and the ghost of a woman in red. Some cabbies refuse to take the road that leads to the school, which is surrounded by graves and also reportedly haunted. The school is featured in episode 1 of National Geographic's "I Wouldn't Go In There."
HIDE CAPTION
Tat Tak School, Hong Kong
Lawang Sewu, Indonesia
Chibichiri Cave, Okinawa
Clark Hospital, Philippines
Bagua Building, Taiwan
Yeongdeok, South Korea
Ghost Hill, Penang, Malaysia
Phra Si Sanphet Temple, Ayutthaya, Thailand
Ph Bin American Prison Camp, Vietnam
Tower of Silence, Diu, India
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Robert Joe, host of Nat Geo's "I Wouldn't Go In There," introduces Asia's scariest spots
  • These places are haunted by history, not ghosts, says Joe
  • Sites include a haunted school, political prisons and an abandoned hospital

(CNN) -- We wouldn't go in there either.

For National Geographic's new Asia TV series, "I Wouldn't Go In There," which began airing this summer, urban explorer and blogger Robert Joe went investigating Asia's scariest places, country by country.

"People might think it's a ghost show, but it's actually a history show," says Joe.

"Asia has been embroiled in so much turmoil in the past 100 years, and is only just getting out of it now.

"We investigate places that have ghost stories, but these places are actually haunted by history. A lot of terrible things happened."

Abandoned Taiwanese jails for political prisoners, caves where Japanese soldiers killed themselves en masse after World War II, a Korean haunted house on a hill where soldiers from a failed beach landing were supposed to have been buried ...

It's Joe's job to start with rumors and uncover the real history that often turns out to be more gruesome than any spook story.

Inside Korea\'s most famous haunted house.
Inside Korea's most famous haunted house.

CNN: How did you pick which places to go?

Robert Joe: We used the strength of the initial stories of hauntings as a jumping off point. Obviously, strong visuals were important.

Vivid stories of dead soldiers or women spirits in red, haunting some old abandoned mansion or school, were perfect to explore.

We also had to consider the strength of the story in the local population, how popular the legends are, how old.

And finally, we wanted stories that really lead us to some meaty historical revelation. That's where we hit a lot of dead ends so to speak. Not every story pans out. Not every place turns out to be promising.

CNN: What are the scariest things you encountered?

Robert Joe: Other than the locations, we'd meet spiritual figures or practitioners.

Sometimes these people could be quite alarming in appearance, and the things they say or did would be really over the top and unpredictable.

That could be scary. But other times it was also hilarious.

Robert Joe, fearless urban explorer.
Robert Joe, fearless urban explorer.

CNN: Which places were scariest?

Robert Joe: The locations themselves were quite foreboding. Dark, derelict, genuinely dangerous -- holes to fall to your death.

And for realism we often went late at night, with a skeleton crew.

So we'd be going through these places that are closed off, but you do hear weird noises and your mind can play tricks on you.

In Okinawa, in this massive abandoned hotel, we were exploring some room and we heard distinct knocking sounds coming from just outside.

No one wanted to go, but of course we had to go explore.

We turned the corner and there was just this lone figure in the shadows pointing a light at us. No one moved. It turned out to be another team of urban explorers.

CNN: Can anyone visit these places?

Robert Joe: Most of these places aren't open to the public. A lot of them for very good reasons; they're not structurally sound or they're private property and the owners don't want to be associated with supernatural hauntings.

But some of them are accessible to the public as historical locales and welcome visitors.

I guess every place is accessible if you're determined enough, but it's not something I'd consider safe or could recommend.

CNN: What else did you find interesting?

Robert Joe: It was interesting to see how people sort of compete to be associated with certain local legends.

They like to be known as the authority when it comes to this or that story or this or that haunted location.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1808 GMT (0208 HKT)
The guidebook asked staff, contributors and authors for well-known and lesser-known recommendations.
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1607 GMT (0007 HKT)
An airport in Asia has stolen the crown from Manila's Ninoy Aquino, voted 'world's worst' three years in a row.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1620 GMT (0020 HKT)
It's time for a beef break, veal vacation, hog holiday or sinew sabbatical in a T-bone a-fide U.S. meatopolis.
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1319 GMT (2119 HKT)
With so many awesome new attractions on the way, the next few years are going to be a roller coaster ride.
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 0107 GMT (0907 HKT)
Scientists are busy surveying Southeast Asia's Coral Triangle, home to 75 percent of all known coral species.
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1350 GMT (2150 HKT)
Bounce Below in Wales
Bounce Below transforms an abandoned slate mine into a surreal, springy world of fear and fun,
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 2316 GMT (0716 HKT)
With chopsticks or fingers? Wasabi or no? A double Michelin-starred Tokyo chef sets the record straight and shows us the sushi way.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 2224 GMT (0624 HKT)
Markthal Rotterdam foodhall in the Netherlands.
It may look like a gateway across time and space crafted with alien technology, but in reality it's a fruit and vegetable market.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 0925 GMT (1725 HKT)
Based on the votes of over 330 industry experts, the 2014 winners include bars from 27 cities in 14 countries.
October 12, 2014 -- Updated 2231 GMT (0631 HKT)
Careening down an active volcano at 95 kph on a thin board? It happens only at Cerro Negro in Nicaragua.
ADVERTISEMENT