Photo Essay

The Haunted Pod Village of San-Zhi

San-Zhi Pod Village

Nestled along a short stretch of coastline in Northern Taiwan lies a strange complex known as The San-Zhi Pod Village. This abandoned futuristic luxury vacation spot remains a complete mystery to locals and tourists alike.

The wacky looking space village was originally constructed back in the 80s for wealthy urbanites looking to escape the city on weekends.

There are several stories surrounding the circumstances that led up to its abandonment, but no one seems to know exactly why or how the site fell into such a state of disrepair.

The most popular story of its eventual decline claim a number of mysterious accidents ending in numerous deaths led to the halt of all construction. Locals believe the area to be haunted and believe the place is inhabited by malevolent spirits.

I heard about this incredible site from a friend, and of course, in true globetrotting form, we added it to our ever-growing list of weekend motorcycle excursions.

As we sped down Highway 2 towards San-zhi last month, I thought it would be difficult to find, but the entire area jumps out at you. If you miss seeing the giant candy-colored Smartie-shaped pods looming in the background, you won't miss the massive broken-backed dragon that seems to hover over the boarded up entrance.

We entered through a broken window and made our way through the complex and out into the main courtyard. It was eerily quiet. We could hear the crashing of the waves at the waterfront and the grass blowing. It's easy to think of the place as haunted. I couldn't help feeling like someone was watching us the entire time we were there.

The pods are in various states of disrepair. Some have their entire roofs ripped off, while others had collapsed in on themselves. Inside, the destruction and shoddy craftsmanship is evident. It's hard to imagine these pods surviving the harsh summer and winter weather that Northern Taiwan's coastline is famous for. The concrete stairs were uneven and crumbling apart. The collapsed roofs and walls are paper-thin and look like they might have been blown in by the first tropical storm of the season.

Most of the pods look like they were abandoned in a hurry, with personal effects strewn throughout the inner rooms. It was obvious that people had been living in some of them. The sheer amount of destruction was mind-blowing.

We traversed the length of the complex, slowly circling the man-made pool and ramp that was supposed to house a mini-amusement park for children. A long, white water slide lay in the murky depths of the pool.

The view from the windows is unbelievable. There are miles of unspoilt coastline. Close your eyes to the destruction and for a few minutes you can see how it was intended to look before it was abandoned. It would have been magnificent. Instead, it remains a haunted waste of land and the ultimate playground for photography aficionados.

12 responses

  • Freddy Sarabia

    Freddy Sarabia gave props (21 Nov 2008):

    Interesting Story

  • Jason Stern

    Jason Stern gave props (15 Dec 2008):

    awesome! thanks for sharing!

  • Karyn Boehmer

    Karyn Boehmer gave props (27 Dec 2008):

    that's amazing!

  • Richard Seah

    Richard Seah gave props (25 Jan 2009):

    remarkable story. I wanted to read this in issue 19 but my copy is loaned out to a friend. Congrats on being published!

  • May Kintanar-Afenir

    May Kintanar-Afenir gave props (18 May 2009):

    Would have never known this existed. Totally enjoyed your photo essay!

  • Niels Jansen

    Niels Jansen gave props (3 Jun 2009):

    Great story and pictures, what and amazing place, really enjoyed it!

  • Kori Stolzman

    Kori Stolzman said (3 Jul 2009):

    LOVE IT! I love pictures of abandoned buildings and such!!! Congrats on the publishing!!!!

  • Brendan Henry

    Brendan Henry said (20 Aug 2009):

    I was really hoping to make a trip to these if I head over to Taiwan, but they were demolished in January!

  • alannah bowes

    alannah bowes gave props (6 Sep 2009):

    very cool story and photos!

  • Tom Hall

    Tom Hall said (6 Nov 2009):

    I have read about it and saw a doc on Discovery...very interesting and with these images...the story crystallizes even more. Nicely done

  • Jules or Jane

    Jules or Jane gave props (20 Jan 2010):

    ghostly.... you conveyed the perfect mood in each shot

  • Sonia Adam Murray

    Sonia Adam Murray gave props (31 Mar 2010):

    What an amazing story and photos your description and illustrations were simply awesome, I was able to imagine what it is like. Thank you so much for sharing and I would have liked to have voted for you!!!!!!!!! Congratulations on being published. I must tell you that I like your philosophy on photography.

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