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 28, 2014 -- Updated 0149 GMT (0949 HKT)
Luxury Action will turn your travel scripts into reality and film them. As long as you're willing to travel to this country ...
October 27, 2014 -- Updated 0913 GMT (1713 HKT)
As entertainment capital of the world, Los Angeles draws some of the best comic talent on the planet. Here's where to see it live.
October 27, 2014 -- Updated 0342 GMT (1142 HKT)
Not many people choose flights based on the quality of an airline's catering -- but those who do should check out Saveur's Culinary Travel Awards.
October 27, 2014 -- Updated 0251 GMT (1051 HKT)
On the island of rice, curry, tropical fruit and fresh seafood, eating is an honor to the taste buds.
October 23, 2014 -- Updated 1558 GMT (2358 HKT)
Sparsely populated (by humans at least), this East Africa country offers so much more than just Mt. Kilimanjaro.
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 1432 GMT (2232 HKT)
Berlin's Tegel airport
It's crowded and outdated, but Berlin's hexagon-shaped Tegel air hub has won a place in the city's heart.
October 23, 2014 -- Updated 0847 GMT (1647 HKT)
Amsterdam Museum of Bags and Purses
Shrine to a dead cat and a homage to fromage among Dutch capital's eccentric exhibitions.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 0603 GMT (1403 HKT)
The OLAF scooter/luggage
Slovenian Kickstarter project encourages travelers to hop on their suitcase and cruise through terminals to connecting gates.
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.
ADVERTISEMENT