When my friend posted a video of walking through a long, seemingly abandoned tunnel I immediately knew I would have to go there. I asked where it was and he sent me the location. From what I could understand, there was a big network of tunnels down there and I somehow got it into my head that I shouldn’t just go there, but I should try to make a map. Despite a few of the tunnel branches being blocked, the place is still so big I had to go there twice to fully explore every part of the system. I did eventually end up with a map. It’s not particularly accurate; it’s not to scale and I only made some rough estimates of the twists and turns of the different passageways. I also didn’t come up with a good way to add in slopes and stairs, so that’s not included either. That said, every intersection is included, as is every exit and every dead end. If you go down into these tunnels you should be able to navigate using my map.
Important information: While these tunnels are abandoned there is still military activity in the nearby area. It is safe during the weekends but during the weeks it can be dangerous to be in these tunnels and bunkers as the military performs live fire exercises in the area. Make sure to only go here on weekends. People have also been known to get lost in these tunnels which the military are none too pleased with, so if you want to be sure to not get into trouble it’s recommended to get a guided tour. However, if you avoid drawing too much attention to yourself, you can skip the guided tour (at your own risk) and go explore on your own. If you do, bring my map so you don’t get lost.
In case you want to explore these tunnels by yourself, perhaps you want to check how well my map matches reality, here’s how to get there. Note that this leads to the two entrances that I know how to find from the outside. Go to the Fengqi Sunset Trail just north of Hsinchu City. Follow the trail for about two kilometers until you reach a viewing platform with several small cafes. If you want to get a guided tour of the tunnels, talk to the owner of the cafe. On the way you will pass by a bunker and a closed-off tunnel entrance. You can explore the bunker but the tunnel connecting it to the rest of the system is blocked. The large, closed-off tunnel is reachable from the inside but you cannot enter here.
When you reach the cafe turn right and go up the stairs, following the signs towards 蓮花寺. After a climbing for a short distance you should see a large fallen tree by the side of the trail. Just around the corner from the tree, the trail passes by an overgrown bunker, this is the first entrance. You will need to get down on your hands and knees to be able to get in. Inside there is a hole in the center of the room with a ladder on one side, go down this ladder and you are in the tunnels. Quick note before I continue, there’s no light down there, bring a good flashlight and extra batteries, do Not rely on the flashlight function of your phone.
To reach the second entrance (bunker 125) keep following the trail for a few hundred meters, it will eventually reach a set of steep stairs down to another part of the trail. The bunker entrance is right before these stairs, it’s set back a few meter from the trail on the left side. Once your in the tunnel it’s time to take out the map and start exploring.
Like I said it took me two visits to explore the entire system but I finally covered it all. I also had to redraw the map several times, connecting all the tunnels in the correct way, adding in more detail and so on. I finally got a result I can be satisfied with. Here it is.
Before you say anything, I want to apologize for my poor handwriting, I hope you can read it. Note that all the bunkers have a number which you will find stenciled on the bunker wall and sometimes also in the tunnel leading to it. I’ve added a bunch of photos below and as far as possible I have added this bunker number as a reference so you can know where it was taken. I also added a few close ups of different map sections for reference. You will see some distances in the map, when possible I’ve copied these from distance markers on the walls, but sometimes they are just my estimate. When a bunker is marked with a red X it means it is blocked in some way or another. Conversely, when it is marked with a red arrow it means there is a way out of the tunnels at this point. Note that while it’s possible to get out of the tunnels, several of the exits just lead out into the jungle and you’d have to bushwhack a bit to get back to the trail. Finally one more note: several parts have collapsed over the years, meaning that the state of the tunnels might change in the future due to earthquakes or landslides. Keep that in mind when using my map, I cannot guarantee that it is still valid.
While I was working on the map I was also tracking my route via GPS which you can see here. I made markers of all the places where I was able to exit the tunnels, unfortunately I haven’t found a way to show them here, I can only get them to show up in my phone app. The parts where my track goes in completely straight lines is when I was inside the tunnels, the rest is the trail. Now on to the photos
Bunker 127 inside and outside
Just around the corner from bunker 113 there’s a short path that seems to just end at a wall. Upon further inspection I found a small hole in the wall leading into another part of the system. Crawling through I found that the tunnel drops down about a meter and continues around the a corner. There was also a square opening above my head, leading up to a room above. I considered going on but quickly noted that the tunnel ahead looked extremely muddy. Previous experience has told me that this could be very slippery, to the point where it might be difficult to get back up if you go sliding down it. I decided it was too dangerous to explore further without a friend to help as well as a length of rope. I strongly advise you stay clear of this part unless you know what you’re doing. I did however climb up through the opening in the ceiling to discover bunker 137. This is a big bunker of the same type as number 127 and it looks like there used to be a path between them but it’s now overgrown.
I think it was an interesting experience to try to make a map of this kind of place; I found it was a lot harder than I had imagined but I enjoyed doing it. If I get a chance I might try doing it again in the future. Hopefully someone will read this post and go exploring these tunnels using my map. Have fun and stay safe!
After making this post I’ve been back to the tunnels together with some friends and have made a follow up post.