How does the idea of going to a completely abandoned theme park where the Balinese wouldn’t dare to ever visit because of the crumbling buildings, pitfalls, wandering spirits, and man-eating crocodiles that are rumored to hide in the park?
Sounds pretty creepy. Let’s go there!
Just north of the city of Sanur, is an abandoned theme park called Taman Festival, a multi-million dollar project that came to a sudden halt during construction due to a number of economic issues that arose. Now, the park is taken over by the unforgiving Mother Nature and totally vacated. Totally perfect for exploration and spirit hunting. Also maybe crocodile hunting? By the way, if you’re keen, you can still find this place on GoogleMaps.
We asked our reliable taxi guy Archyar if he could take us to the Taman Festival. Not exactly sure where it was since locals don’t ever go there, Sam guided Archyar to the destination which was not too far away. Once we approached, we saw an unpleasant ticket booth out near the street.
This must be the place.
Archyar said he would wait on us for about an hour. It would get dark soon, so an hour was fitting, though I felt more time would be needed to explore the majority of the park.
Once Sam and I approached the grounds, a stubby local man came out of nowhere and ran up to us.
“20,000 rupiahs to enter,” he said in his broken English as he held out his greedy hand.
Sam and I looked at each other, both knowing that we didn’t have to pay a fee to enter Taman, but we also knew that 20,000 rupiahs converted to less than $2 USD. So instead of causing a fuss about this guy trying to extort us, we simply handed him 20,000 rupiahs.
There is no point in arguing over two measly dollars.
The stubby man disappeared and we entered Taman, the abandoned theme park.
My world instantly shifted from an engaging busy, bustling Bali city full of people into a desolate alternate dimension, dark and void of any life and filled with an unquestionable eeriness.
The beginnings of the park seemed to sprawl into multiple paths. Which path shall we take? Where the crocs at?
We took a left towards a myriad of decaying buildings. It looks to have been the accommodation area. Maybe?
The floor was damp and covered in algae and mold. Broken shards of glass and building debris crunched upon each step we took. Bats hung high above us in what was left of the ceiling. I didn’t feel comfortable there.
What is this place?
Our path led us to a series of staircases that took us into separate rooms, each filled with strange graffiti messages…
…and bizarre caricatures that seemed to stare right at you, straight through your soul. Even if I were homeless, I would not want to live here.
We slowly scoped the area, creeped out yet fascinated at the same time. There used to be a story to this place. It was meant for something fun and magical but instead ended up being one of the most disturbing places in Bali.
We entered a spacious corridor, where things began to get real dark.
As I footed along in the silent black like a dummy, Sam decided to jump scare me from behind which startled me and caused me to stop and thank goodness for that because we almost stepped right into this random hole in the ground.
That would have been real bad!
From then on, we used the guidance of our phone lights to prevent anymore missteps. The lights from our phone revealed more strange things to us.
Who or what sat in this chair? Did I really want to know?
But there was no way to find out. We were completely alone. No guide books, no map, no knowledgable guide, no nothing. We searched for clues that could be left around; the walls, the ground, in the holes, but everything was decayed, weathered, or overtaken by nature’s wrath. The sounds of bats flying above our heads was our only source of information that told us to get the hell out of this building! The bats were flying around really close to us and more than likely carried rabies.
The interior of the building expanded deep into a black void that we weren’t prepared for.
Rather, we didn’t have enough time and still wanted to explore more of the park. We exited the building the way we came and took a different path to another area of Taman.
Thunder? Thunder what?
Who’s Earl and what happened to him?
Although there were probably haunted spirits roaming around, and man-eating crocs somewhere, besides the rabid bats, our biggest enemy here were the mosquitos. They were relentless!
They bothered us through most of the exploring, especially upon our discovery of what appeared to be ruins covered in jungle bush.
We brushed through the thick, wet green into an open field, almost more of a swamp.
Whatever that building was over on the other side, had “explore me” written all over it. Not literally, but you catch my drift. Look at how sinister and ominous it looks. Something was in there…I wanted to find out but at the same time…not find out. It looked like a gateway to somewhere murderous.
The land leading to the ruins were thick in elevated water. Insects swarmed near our feet. There was no comfortable way to reach it. We even tried going on the outer bounds, which were as wet as the center of the field. No luck.
And so, we backtracked and continued on deeper into the park.
We then came across an old movie theater, called Turbo Theater.
We def have to see what’s in there!
We went around to the back and up the stairs into the room behind the theater seating area where the film strips are rolling. I’m not sure of the proper term for this.
We found film strips scattered across the ground.
What movie was this? Perhaps a horror film? When they abandoned this park, the really did abandon everything.
This is the inside of the theater. Bats ruled this place.
We ventured on further to what I think may have been the crocodile pit.
Except now it was coated in green algae. No crocs lived here. This pool has been ‘dead’ for years.
Our hour was almost up. It was best time to track back to the beginning and meet up with Archyar before he left without us. There was still much to explore and Sam insisted that I come back on my own while he was teaching during the week.
I told him, “Hell no am I coming back here by myself!”
That ruin in the jungle though…that is one place I would like to attempt to get to again during a dryer day.
As far as the spirits that the locals were afraid of, well I’m not into that mumbo jumbo, but during the night would be a completely different story for me. The night makes everything freakin’ scary. (I am a grown man by the way).
As spooky as this abandoned theme park was, I was still dreading something I presumed to be far worse than any haunted attraction in the world,
and that my dear readers is a place called India.
Here goes nothing.
To My Fellow Eager Adventurists:
*The Taman Festival is easily located on GoogleMaps. It’s free to enter the premise, but there will probably be a sneaky local nearby to make you pay. It’s not worth the hassle to argue, so pay the man no more than 20,000 rupiahs (less than $2 USD) and get to exploring! If you don’t want to pay, we did discover a back entrance. Just head north on the beach from the main street where you found the main entrance. Keep going until you come across a pillar where you have to jump across a small moat to get across. Go earlier in the day during a dryer season, and bring some mosquito spray and a torch of some sort! Also do not go alone, as there are potential hazards everywhere.*