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
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 0118 GMT (0918 HKT)
The interior of the Formosa Boulevard Mass Rapid Transit Station in Kaohsiung, in southern Taiwan.
These quirky and beautiful subway stops make standing cheek-to-cheek with 45 strangers almost seem fun.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 1314 GMT (2114 HKT)
A scene from a desert safari in Dubai
Luxury vintage Land Rover tours explore Bedouin backwaters without bashing up precious dunes.
November 20, 2014 -- Updated 0250 GMT (1050 HKT)
Cities around the world have closed the brew gap, but the Oregon city's innovative scene continues to lead the beer parade.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 2249 GMT (0649 HKT)
From gourmet hotdogs to Sevillian tapas, the food served in these London restaurants is worth lining up for.
November 20, 2014 -- Updated 1545 GMT (2345 HKT)
Plans are underway to build the world's tallest -- and quite possibly most terrifying -- roller coaster at an Orlando, Florida, theme park due to open in 2017.
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 1932 GMT (0332 HKT)
The 7th Annual Cruise Critic Editors' Picks Awards highlight the top cruise lines for North American travelers in 18 categories.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 0206 GMT (1006 HKT)
Joining the ranks of pilgrims tackling Adam's Peak rewards with a spiritual awakening, or at least a stunning sunrise.
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 1313 GMT (2113 HKT)
The cover of Norway's new passport design
Beautifully designed travel document reveals image of Northern Lights when placed under UV light.
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 0525 GMT (1325 HKT)
Properties in the Italian village of Santo Stefano di Sessanio have been converted into a high end hotel spread through the village.
New concept offering luxury rooms in ancient dwellings helps spare beautiful villages from falling into ruin.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 2247 GMT (0647 HKT)
Are you the butcher or the cattle? Tainted meat-obsessed fans are following the tracks of their favorite "Walking Dead" survivors.
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 0521 GMT (1321 HKT)
People never cease to find amazing ways to make water more incredible than it already is. Here are some powerful examples
ADVERTISEMENT