Over a year ago me, my wife and my friend went to Shimen Reservoir outside Taoyuan City to explore a few abandoned hotels, which you can read about here. There are a couple more abandoned hotels in the area which we were planning to visit but for whatever reason we never did. Recently I’ve had the feeling that I really should go do it, so last weekend I decided it was time. While my wife stayed home to take care of our baby (thanks honey), I packed my flashlight and camera then set off on the motorbike.
The weather was perfect, a comfortable tempera and just a few clouds in the sky, and it was a really nice ride along winding roads in the foothills of the mountains. I almost wanted to skip the hotel and just continue riding…almost, but my mind was set on urban exploration. When I reached the reservoir I made my way to the abandoned hotel, parked the bike and started exploring.
The most popular part of Shimen reservoir is the big damn at its western end with plenty of things to see in the nearby area. At the eastern end of the damn is a visitor center, a small park overlooking the reservoir and, as always in Taiwan, a small market. The abandoned hotel is just there, hiding in plain sight. Right next to the visitor center is a large statue of Chiang Kai Shek standing at the top of some stairs and if you look past him you can spot the roof of the hotel among the trees.
The location of the Chiang Kai Shek statue and visitor center is here
At first I tried going up to the statue but was blocked by the locked gate in the picture above. The place is a bit too public to jump the wall so I tried to find another way. Turns out that if you just follow the reservoir ring road a short distance there’s an old, seemingly unused road leading up to the left, and if you take that you reach the hotel.
Most abandoned buildings are pretty dirty with mold in the corners and dust everywhere. To my great surprise the rooms facing towards the dam were almost clean enough to live inside. I say almost because they were still kind of run down, just much less than expected
One of the rooms near the terrace, it looks surprisingly livable
On the second floor I noticed that there are lots of little holes in the walls. My guess is that there has been some kind of paneling that’s been taken down for whatever reason. It could quite possibly be something valuable that’s been stolen by previous explorers.
Random collection of shots from the second and third floor
I’m impressed by the fact that an entire tree is growing in this bedroom
Having explored the second and third floors I headed up to the roof.
That’s it for the main building, a lot smaller than the Rice Village Hotel that we visited last time. Except for the somewhat creepy ground floor, this place looked pretty OK as far as abandoned buildings go. When I came out on the backside of the building I found a small hiking trail which I followed for a short distance. There I found another abandoned looking building which I guess must have been some kind of staff dorm. While taking a closer look at that, I realized the nearby jungle is full of little buildings that all look like miniature temple pagodas. Of course I had to explore those too.
I quickly found of what they were; apparently this place used to be some kind of resort with one main building, and behind it you have a series of these little two story buildings, each floor is one room, interconnected by walkways. The whole thing is like a Buddhist temple spread out over the jungle clad hill side. I got to say that all those little pagoda style buildings are pretty similar so you don’t need to spend too much time exploring each one.
While exploring I realized I had approached this part of the resort from the wrong side; if you pass to the right the main building you quickly find the little hiking trail, and just where that starts there’s another little road leading down to the reception for the pagoda buildings. Note that the hiking trail is in use, so don’t be surprised to have hiker walk past while you’re exploring.
The reception looks like people juts left one day, leaving all the stuff behind
Right next to the entrance hall is something that used to be an open space, perhaps a parking lot, now full of holes where the concrete has collapsed.
Inside the entrance hall
Random shots inside and outside the pagoda buildings
Some more random shots
After exploring all of the little pagoda style houses I thought I was done but then I discovered some stairs leading downwards that I hadn’t seen before. Following them I got to a lower level with a few more rooms.
I found the janitor’s office/storage space. Plenty of stuff left inside
On my way back up towards the entrance found a path leading in under the broekn platform with the collapesed concrete. Of course I had to check that out too.
Inside the rooms beneath the collapsed platform
At this point I had explored every part of the actual hotel area. However, there is one part left that’s not really part of the hotel; right behind the Chiang Kai Shek statue you can see some big windows, but there’s no way to reach those rooms from within the hotel area. To get there you have to go back to the little parking lot in front of the main building then take some small stairs down. Unfortunately these stairs are behind a construction fence and with the hikers passing by on their way to the trail, this might be hard to get to. I went for a ride in the nearby area looking at some other stuff then came back later in the afternoon. By that point all the hikers had left and I could easily hop the fence without being seen.
Having checked out the little building right behind the Chiang Kai Shek statue I was completely done with this hotel. Nothing left to do but ride home. I know there is one more abandoned hotel in the area so there will probably be a part 3 to this series. Hopefully I can post it in less than a year.