Shortly after I made my last post about the old military tunnels at Fengqi Sunset Trail, my friend Johan, who is a Youtuber, contacted me saying he wanted to make a video about the tunnels. My other friend David, who was the one to introduce me to the tunnels in the first place, said he would also like to join (you can find David’s post here). Said and done, the three of us met up at the trail head and with Johan filming we made another foray into the tunnels.
I think before I go any further some safety information would be suitable. I brought this up in the other post but it bears mentioning again. First, while the tunnels themselves are abandoned there is still an active military presence in the area and they do conduct live fire exercises. The dates for such exercises are posted in Chinese on a sign along the trail. It is my understanding that they do not conduct live fire exercises on weekends but I cannot guarantee that this information is accurate. Always check the sign before venturing into the tunnels and bunkers. Second, there is a risk of getting lost down in the tunnels. The map I created will minimize the risk but not remove it completely. Add to that the fact that even though you can get out, if you take the wrong exit you will end up in the jungle some distance from the trail. With the GPS on your phone you should be able to bushwhack back to the trail but it won’t be fun. Third, there are several openings where water can get in when it rains, turning the tunnel floor into mud. While I can’t confirm it cause I haven’t been there in such conditions, there are several slopes that I believe will be very slippery, to the point where it’s hard to get up, after a rain shower. There’s also a room, under bunker 137, that looks like it has been flooded with mud at some point in time. To be safe I would not venture into these tunnels after recent heavy rain. Fourth, these are old tunnels in a country where earthquakes are common. There is a risk, though I don’t know how big, that the tunnels could collapse while you are down there. I personally did not worry about this while inside but keep this in mind when thinking of going inside.
To stay safe I think it’s a good idea to be at least two people so you have a better chance to get help. There is no natural light down there so bring a good flashlight with you, do NOT rely on the one in your phone. I bring spare batteries to my light just in case. Lastly, if you want to be as safe as possible, talk to the people working in the cafe up on the trail. They can set you up with a guide. Personally I don’t think that’s necessary, as long as you have a good flashlight (and my map) and take the time to think about what you are doing, you should be fine.
One final note: there are some old military artifacts down in the tunnels. Please let them stay there so other people can enjoy finding them.
I had previously entered via the fallen tree bunker. This time David showed us that it’s possible to reach Bunker 127 from the trail and get in from there. It didn’t take us long before we reached the blocked off opening just by the trail. From there we took the wide tunnel that passes by Bunker 128 and ends at a fence. We managed to get past the fence and just beyond it we found a small storage room. Just around the corner from that we came to a big round bunker with large, boarded-up windows, and instructional posters showing angles and distances painted onto the concrete wall. This had clearly been an artillery emplacement which I call Artillery Bunker A. Having discovered this new, unexplored area I knew I would have to update my map so I got out my notebook and started sketching. Here is the new section of the map:
Continuing down the wide tunnel we came to the second artillery emplacement (Artillery Bunker B on my map). The big tunnel ends here but there are two smaller tunnels exiting this bunker. Both of these small tunnels lead to some very unexpected places. Following the first one we go to a small space, almost like an alcove, with an old dusty massage chair in front of a Chinese painting, and a closed door at the other end. Opening the door we went into a surprisingly bright room with big windows facing the outside, walls that look like someone had spray painted them with random colors, furnished with a number of chairs. There is also a doorway leading out of this room, with a door that belongs in a home rather than a military bunker. We quickly realized that we had wandered into somebody’s basement rec room, a literal man cave if you will, and made a hasty retreat back into the bunkers. My policy when exploring abandoned buildings is to stay away from any place where people actually live, just to respect their privacy. My recommendation for anyone going down this tunnel is to turn around once you reach the little alcove with the massage chair.
The other small tunnel leads down a steep set of stairs, past a small storage room, then up another set of stairs. As we were going down we started hearing loud voices. It sounded as if people were having a party in some room at the other end of the tunnel. Not wanting to get caught we snuck up and peaked in. There wasn’t any party that we could see but we realized we must have reached the backdoor of one of the cafes. We know that the cafe owners organize tours of the tunnels, our guess is that they bring people in this way.
When we had finished exploring the artillery bunkers and the man cave, we headed back to the parts of the system that was on my original map and started working our way through it for Johan’s video. Since there were three of us, I dared explore those parts of the system that I had deemed too risky to enter when I was alone. First there was Bunker 113 where there’s a big hole in floor just before the bunker entrance. David ensured me that it was possible to get back up without a rope so down I went. From the hole it should be able to enter a lower level of the tunnel system. Unfortunately this tunnel has been blocked by a collapse a few meters in. Getting out of the hole on my own was possible but not easy. You can reach the edge of the hole with your hands, no problem, but there are no good footholds straight below, so you essentially have to heave yourself up while standing on the stairs a step or two back from the edge. It would be extra hard for people who are short or lack upper body strength, so if that’s you I recommend not jumping down, especially if you are on your own.
The second area that I deemed too dangerous during my solo visits was the partially mud filled rooms beneath Bunker 137. Now we really took the time to explore this area. There’s a small storage room just by the side of the tunnel and in there we found a bunch of old military equipment including helmets, a number of hats and an old battery. For all I know there could be lots of other stuff hidden under the mud. We continued further into the tunnels hoping that we could enter the second level from there. Sadly this tunnel was also blocked after a few meters. On the bright side, this meant that I had managed to fill in all the missing details on my map. You can find the complete map lower down, below the pictures.
It was quite a different experience to go down into the tunnels together with someone compared with doing it alone. Im glad I got a chance to confirm that my map is correct and fill in those areas where information was missing. Johan also put together a nice little video about our exploration, check it out: