Category Archives: Daylight Run

BAD FENGSHUI – LONGYAN INTERNATIONAL PARK – BEIJING A-

When it comes to urbexing in Beijing, or indeed anywhere in the world, there are certain features that urbexers search for. Some people go for the tunnels, some people go for the high places, others like a place with a good story. When you can find a site which combines all of these features and more, that’s when you know you have found a classic site.

Cathedral Gates

Longyun International Park has all of these features and more. Burbex stumbled across this site by chance. Passing in a taxi from the airport, the top of a dome poked its way into the smoggy sky begging to be explored.

Terracotta Dome

Scouting the outside perimeter there are Communist slogans encouraging citizens to be “civilised” and make Beijing a “centre of development”. Burbex took a knife to one of the slogans and cut his way through to the other side.

Ice Rink

Plunging into the darkness beyond, underground canals snake their way hundreds of metres forward. Faint glints of light barely seen in the pitch black.

Opal Waters

The frozen canals meander from left to right, and along the way there are plenty of unusual water features to be taken in. Small flags warn of the water’s edge like flashes of colour at the village fete.

Oval Boat

Getting lost is inevitable in this underground labyrinth. Tunnels weave off in all directions, and circle around and around in circles. Only the lucky will find the Tiffany roofed exits.

Breakfast at Tiffany's

These are the most heavily guarded areas though, and the security guards shout down curses at intruders but do not dare penetrate the labyrinth.

Auditorium

The inner dome is a smaller version of the first, and does not have the balconies or the grandeur of its big brother. It feels no less dangerous though.

Venice View

The mouth of the canal leads out into a half-completed Suzhou style water garden. Missing the colour of flowers and trees, it is just a cement garden. From here though, the villas and the upper areas can be accessed.

Window View

Entering through the glassless windows, the villas are easily accessed. Running up the stairs and through unlocked doors, the rooftop dome yawns at the sky.

Dome Top

The beginning of this post mentioned a good story behind this location. According to local taxi drivers, it was shut down because of the death of several workers on the site. Due to this the Fengshui is now considered too bad to continue. This is a curse for construction companies who cannot battle against the entrenched superstition in China.

Raising Flgs

This is very similar to Chaoyang 81, which has remained empty for decades simply because of its ghostly reputation. Probably this site will be left to rot until it becomes too dangerous or too much of an eyesore for the local government to stand.

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In retrospect this is the only site that has ever given Burbex nightmares, so maybe its ghostly reputation is true. Whatever the case, with or without ghosts, this is a first class site for urban exploration and earns a solid A-.

Dome View

Don’t forget that no matter what your taste, from industrial sites like Jiaohua Chemical Works, to tall places like Guosen Towers, or ghostly locations like The Nationalist Hotel, or Chaoyang 81, Burbex is only an email away ready to help you on your way.

 

 

THE BACK LOT – BEIJING FILM ACADEMY – GRADE B-

Sometimes you get the feeling that the only urbex sites in Beijing are huge industrial sites like Jiaohua and Capital Steel, or projects that have been abandoned halfway and left to rot like Guoson Mall and Sunshine Park. Sometimes what the Beijing urbexer needs is a little bit of nostalgia to add to the diet of rebar and concrete. That’s where Beijing Film Academy steps in.

Shining Mao

In Beijing one of the characters that the urbexer is always looking for is 拆 which means to cut down or demolish. This character is often painted on buildings slated for demolition. The buildings may remain for years without anything happening. You can see the character painted on both sides of the back lot gate in the picture below.

Lot Entrance

Once over the wall and safely in the lot, there is the feeling of a one-horse cowboy movie, you’re always expecting a Chinese John Wayne to stride through the Chinese-style gate and challenge some dupe to a shootout at midday.

Red Gate

The only heroes here are the dogs who will follow you everywhere around the site. They are a strange breed of mutt specially designed to make as much noise as possible, while at the same time attracting nobody’s attention.

Plaster Warriors

Hidden in the back lots are props of warriors and buddhas left over from older productions. There is a strong sense of China’s histories overlapping and blending on the lots which is probably not that far from reality.

Lucky Wall

Some areas of the lot are burned down or have fallen into serious disrepair. Alleyways lead from more modern hutong scenes into ancient China.

Last Chance Saloon

China’s own Last Chance Saloon contains tonnes of props and relics from the height of the movie age.

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Climbing up to the roof of the studio, you can get a great overview of the entire site. Be very careful though, the concrete balcony is crumbling and it is three floors down.

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You don’t really realise the scale of the site until you get up on top. The main studio is all locked up. That calls for another midnight trip.

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The site combines Western and Eastern styles, probably as was seen in Shanghai in the nineteenth and twentieth century.

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Huge lot doors are overgrown with tumbleweeds and thick Beijing dust chokes the air.

Warrior Garden

In a hidden garden Laughing Buddha overlooks an army of plaster soldiers and demi-gods.

Giving Head

Four Wheel Drive

Fallen Warriers

End of the Block

Empty Gate

Demolition

Circular Doorway

There are myriad doors and gates to get lost in, and the whole place has a strong sense of the film Labyrinth with its grey bricks and twisting turns.

With all this in mind, Beijing Film Academy is a perfect slice of nostalgia from a mixture of Chinese eras that never existed. It confuses the senses, and as the sun sets you are left feeling even more confused.

For these reason Burbex awards Beijing Film Academy with a B+ grade. If you would like to come along and see the site for yourself, please get in touch at burbex@outlook.com.

 

 

CHAOYANG PARK FERRIS WHEEL – GRADE A*

“Sites that change with the seasons, those are the ones that you will never get bored with.”

Neither Up Nor Down

Urbex is ephemeral. Some sites the urbexer will go to once or twice, and then returning they will find it demolished or gentrified. Capital Steel is in the process of being eaten alive by demolition crews, the Space and Science Museum is being pulled apart brick by brick, and the ghosts have been evicted from the Haunted Nationalist Hotel.

Topsy Turvy World

There remains only one place that is immune to demolition. A site so invisible and so forgotten that it has become part of the landscape. That site is The Chaoyang Park Ferris Wheel. Started in 2007, the ferris wheel was slated to be one of the tallest in Asia and would’ve provided first class views of the Olympic Volley Ball court, as well as the rest of the city.

Under the Surface

Inevitably, the project ran out of funding and was shut down just after the foundations had been finished. That might be a disappointment for some, but for the urbexer this site presents an ever-changing underground landscape. In the summer, the site is almost impossible to get into. In the winter, when all the weeds have died off, the site is a cinch.

Three Strutting Lads

From above, the site looks a lot like a concrete skull. To enter into the flooded cranium of the site, the urbexer has to go in through the mouth of the skull. In October, the place was still flooded, but in the winter, the underground water turns to solid ice making it much easier to go into.

Towering Inferno

Underground lies a flooded maze of underground chambers where even the sound of your own breathing echoes into the shadows. Some corners are black as pitch and a heavy-duty torch is required. Further in, stairs and struts snake their way up to the limited daylight. This is the way the urbexer must follow.

Verdent Acres

Breaking out into the sunshine, the magpies who have colonised the place, shriek and say, “Get out of here, I was here first!” But as Burbex’s lucky bird, Burbex does not worry about the birds. Huge struts and other structures reach for the sky, and beg the urbexer to scale their rusty poles. From the top, the view is so vast that you cannot get a good shot of the whole site.

Strutting Panorama

Once, you have escaped from the site, and are in the wilderness which surrounds it, the urbexer can find relics hidden in the brown sticky grass which rips at your clothes and whose fork-like seeds bury themselves in your clothes and shoelaces.

Redrum

There are rusting sea cucumbers hidden in the yellow grass, like lego bricks hidden in a shag-pile carpet. These are the struts that never made it to the main sites. This place is a huge site, and probably one of the most beautiful in Beijing.

Iron Sea Cucumber

If the urbexer is looking for a grander scale, and their favourite colour is rust brown against an almost blue sky, this is the place to come. For all these reasons and more, Chao Yang Park Ferris Wheel is getting an honourable mention and with it a A* grade.

Artist Impression 2007

If you are interested in visiting Chaoyang Park Ferris Wheel, or any of the other great sites, like The Floating Dragon Lake Amusement Park, which has a finished Ferris Wheel which floats in the breeze, or other incomplete sites like The Guoson Mall Towers, please feel free to drop me a line at burbex@outlook.com.

Sonic RIP

 

 

 

BANANA BLIZZARD – BEIJING CHEMICAL WORKS – GRADE A+

How can the weather alter change the nature of the urbex landscape?

Bleak Mid-Winter

One of the things that you have to deal with in Beijing is the constant onslaught of crazy climate. It might be in the summer with sweat pouring down your butt crack, soot stuck to your face at Capital Steel, or on super smoggy day’s when you cannot see more than one hundred metres like at Sunshine Park.

 

Snow Factory

Nothing is better that the first snow of the winter though, especially when it just so happens to be the day that you are going to the Banana Factory.

Red Ivy Lab

It’s is not really a banana factory, it’s a huge chemical works which stretches for miles and miles. The banana part comes in because the Chinese word for banana 蕉 and the Chinese word for chemical 焦 sound the same.

Icy Tracks

These tracks and the furnaces at the side are very similar to the ones at Capital Steel, just on a smaller scale. The blizzard that raged around the place though made it feel much more hazardous.

Holy Spade

There are artefacts galore here at the Chemical Works, in fact most of the place looks like it has been swallowed up with orange mud and then left to fossilise.

Fossilised Phone

There are broken remnants of the offices strewn about, and old laboratories still contain old machines and equipment.

For Even Higher Standards Preserve Our Young Culture By Howling Glory

The caption in the old style Communist propaganda sign above reads:- FOR EVEN HIGHER STANDARDS PRESERVE OUR YOUTH CULTURE BY HOWLING GLORY. I’m not really sure what that means either.

Establish Legal Systems, Persist in Safety First

Here’s another of those meaningless signs. This ones reads:- ESTABLISH LEGAL SYSTEMS, PRACTISE SAFETY FIRST. At least that one is a bit less opaque.

Dragon's Tongue

Coal on Snow

Just like in Capital Steel, conveyor belts which used to transmit coal or slag from one side of the site to the other, curl up like the skins of long dead snakes.

Door Number Four

The factory opens up into rooms and warehouses where the blanched walls run with chemical stains and spreading rust.

Death Star

Light fittings decay in their settings and fall leaving russet stains in the fresh snow.

Dead Comfortable

Thick Beijing dust absorbs the moisture in the air and becomes a thick crust of mud that covers and preserves the whole site.

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The pipes and engines that ran the site have been gutted and torn apart by scavengers. Whatever is left behind rusts in a bed of snow.

Beneath the Tower

The cooling tower stands on its spindly legs, a commanding presence over the site. Beneath the tower, all is still.

Cooling Tower Duct

Beneath the abandoned cooling tower lies a pool of water rippling gently in the blizzard breeze.

Century Gate

One of the myriad entrances to the main building is affectionately referred to as CENTURY GATE. Did the architects realise their factory would be dead by the beginning of the new century?

Captain Hook

Massive iron hooks swing on chains gently creaking.

Capsule Hotel

Fume cupboards with their doors ripped off create caverns and caves in the site, ideal for hiding from security guards.

Blizzard View

While it does have a lot in common with its older and much larger cousin Capital Steel, Jiaohua is a much more recently abandoned site and has a slight edge in terms of its charm. There are many more artifacts to be discovered, and it is going to be drawing Burbex back for more visits once the weather warms up.

For all of these reasons and more, Jiaohua is getting a solid A grade from Burbex. It should be noted that Jiaohua is slightly edgier in terms of danger, so if you are going to visit, please pay close attention to your safety.

Of course, should you need a guide, please don’t hesitate to contact me on burbex@outlook.com and we can go along together. The cost you ask? One Banana Blizzard from Dairy Queen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SUNSHINE JURASSIC PARK – SUNSHINE PARK – BEIJING – GRADE B+

“How would I feel if this place was demolished?”

This is the question that an urbexer frequently will frequently ask themselves.

Underwater Sunshine

If you asked me about the Space Museum, which is currently being disassembled brick by brick, or The Nationalist Hotel, which has been half demolished, half gentrified, I would say that I am pretty sad to lose these familiar friends. The question does depend on what is going to take its place.

Sunshine Spills In

Sunshine Park is one of my favourite sites in Beijing, mostly because it is so quiet. I was worried when I saw the diggers move in, but then they replaced it with the only possible thing that I could accept… a dinosaur park!

Surface Pillars

Most of the original site still remains, but slap-bang next to it is a dinosaur centre, which is shaped like a huge dinosaur egg. From the roof of the old site, you can see the robotic dinosaurs roaring and scaring children. It is also only a hop, skip, jump from Ikea. Dinosaurs, Ikea, and urbex, sounds like a great day out.

M Pillar

Inside the original structure, things are much as they were before. The underground parking area is still flooded and deathly quiet. A few strands of weak blue light stream in through the openings in the roof and light up the water below.

Black on Yellow

The water is only a couple of feet deep and as soon as I find a good pair of wellington boots, I’ll wade in and take some water shots. Incidentally, fellow urbexer Misha Mushu and I released some baby turtles into the water last year. Provided the rusty water didn’t finish them off, they are probably thriving on the bugs in the water.

Pillars in the Mist

Unusually, this place has a lot more graffiti than you see in other places in Beijing. The now easy rear access now that the back wall has been knocked down, gives this place an almost gallery-like feel. Instead of curators there are ornery magpies giving their critiques.

Muddy Waters

If ever you are in the neighbourhood and fancy a peak at this place, followed by a plate of Swedish meatballs in Ikea, just drop me a line at bubex@outlook.com, and we can set up a time to meet up. Just turn right when you see the T-Rex.

Mossy Carpet

To check out the whole set, go to flickr, and be sure to subscribe to get more great Burbex pictures.

SWISS CHEESY – TONGHUI INTERNATIONAL, BEIJING – GRADE B+

Beijing has its fair share of kitschy European style developments in various states of abandonment (see the Olympic Homko villas), but the Tonghui International Bar Street 通惠国际酒吧街 really takes the biscuit.

Rose and Summer

Construction on this Swiss-style bar street began in 2010, and was expected to open in 2014. Somewhere towards the end of the timeline, the project was abandoned, and now the town clock chimes to an empty village every hour.

Udderly Weird

The street itself is based on the Alpine Swiss town of Interlaken, and as well as the charismatic design of the street, the development also boasts 18,000 square metres of underground shopping space.

Stuck in Custard

You can check out some of the original designs do the complex at Su Landscape, the company which designed the wooden facades. All of the complex is still completely unoccupied, and gaining access is extremely simple.

Herr Green's Gasthaus

One very old security guard sleeps in a fairy tale cottage at the far end of the street (above: right of the green guesthouse).

Hotel California

The best way to move from building to building is either by the tunnels that thread their way under the street, or even better, to jump in and out of windows like a fairy tale goblin or elf.

When I was going up the stairs...

Unusually, even though the exteriors of the buildings are complete and boast some fantastic and unusual decorations, the interiors are just cement, and none of the buildings have stairs to the first floor.

Under the Yellow Brick Road

Apparently, Tonghui International was part of a 400 million yuan project by The Chaoyang Planning Commission, trying to invigorate business close to Guomao, the economic centre of Beijing.

Fondue Leak in Swiss Village

Whatever the case, the project is dead now, and the street and underground shopping mall both lie dormant.

Cart on the Yellow Brick Road

A metal fence surrounds the street, and in the front yard there is a bronze horse and cart created in 2008 according to the date on the horse’s rump.

Cuckoo Clock

With its easy access and fairy tale weirdness, Tonghui International Bar Street gets a B+ from Burbex.

Oh deer! What a horny stag!

By the way, if you loved this great leisure site, be sure to check out these other great urbex sites in Beijing, like Floating Dragon Lake Amusement Park, and The Great Mall of China in neighbouring Hebei.

Of course if you want to come along, just drop me a line, and don’t forget to bring your Swiss cheese. I hope you know how to yodel.

CHUTE FOR THE STARS – DALIAN – GRADE A*

A bit further afield for this Burbex,  Dalian is a coastal city in the North East of China. Hidden at the end of the one of the most popular beaches in the city, is this hidden gem, the ultimate in Urbex chic, that’s right, it’s an abandoned waterpark. Not only that, but it has a huge faux-mansion beside it.

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There’s more than one way to kill a cat, an electric cable through the gut is pretty novel though.

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To escape, you must pass a festering sewage outlet. It smells much worse than it looks.

What? You want to see more? The whole set is here. Also for other great leisure sites check out Floating Dragon Amusement Park and The Great Mall of China.

Don’t forget that if you ever want to come to Beijing and see one of these great locations, just drop me a line on burbex@outlook.com, or leave a comment in the box below. Don’t forget to bring your goggles and swimsuit!

 

 

 

CAPITAL STEEL – STEEL LABORATORY – GRADE B+

How many times have I been to Capital Steel, and how many times have I found new areas to explore. This latest trip was a bonanza of new finds.

twin towers

Along with entering the lofts where coal was moved along on mile-long conveyor belts, co-explorer Vom and I went further into the plant than ever, coming clear out of the other side where the cooling towers are located.

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Along the way we found the laboratory where we found everything pretty much as the scientists had left it on the last day. So many bottles, flasks and crazy machines.

skewed_matics

Unfortunately, Vom got a touch of heat stroke, and threw up (hence the nickname), but are adventures have seen the whole plant covered now.

leftovers

In the cool and shady labs, mosquitoes buzzed in circles while we investigates rooms ransacked by looters.

flask

Plus there was enough lab equipment and machines left over to make even Walter White happy.

crystal_growth

Most of the chemicals have either dried up or grown out of their bottles and onto the work surfaces.

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The other part of the factory that was new to us, was the conveyor lofts which stretch across the complex.

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These are covered in a thick layer of coal dust. In the operator’s room there still remains an old bag of sugar and a plastic spoon.

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Oil sticks to all the surfaces, and then catkins stick to the oil, so everything has a tarred and feathered look.

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But from atop the machines there is some beautiful symmetry to be found.

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Capital Steel Laboratory – we salute you – Burbex is giving you a solid Grade A, but with the heatstroke comes an important reminder to take candy and water with you when you go urbexing.

Of course, if any time you want to come urbexing with me, just leave a message on burbex@outlook.com and we can arrange a time, make sure you bring a sick bag though.

Be sure to check out the other great Capital Steel pages:-

Return to Capital Steel and Beijing Steel Works

GREAT MALL OF CHINA – YANJIAO – GRADE A-

On the smoggy outskirts of Beijing, far beyond where the subway line finally ends, and the dust dunes roll over the border into Hebei Province, right there on the border, that is where you will find the Great Mall of China.

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Construction started five/six years ago when the small border town Yanjiao was slated to become the next border boom town. This led to a run on house building and general craziness in the area.

inside the cage b/w

Years later, these dreams never came true, and the town, like the Great Mall of China, is deserted.

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The Cage Level 3

Black and White Balustrade

Tunnel to the Welding Pits

Black Rooms

Getting into the mall is quite simple: find the tunnel under the nearby hospital…

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go through it in the dark…

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emerge and find the pipe under the bullet train railway…

Harmony Express goes to the Great Mall of China

go through the tunnel…

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walk down the causeway and you are in.

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While there is security, and by the sound of it heavy work going on, the place is virtually empty, and the two guys on the roof didn’t even pay any attention to me.

Black Room Unveiled

There is a vast underground complex of tunnels full of dust and supplies, but no workers to be seen.

Light Rooms

Welding lights can be seen in the very distance at the end of the tunnels, and there is the occasional crash of metal on metal, but still no sign of people.

Outside View

Bird Cage Long View

The Cage Height

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There are various tunnels that weave under the complex, and probably under the hospital too.

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The blind bear stands on the road marking the way out. Be careful, there is a man who sells guard dogs nearby.

OLYMPIC HOMKO GHOST TOWN – BEIJING – GRADE B+

Located in the green leafy area of Olympic Park in northwest Beijing, this beautiful ghost village was originally built to house the athletes and some of the staff for the Olympic Games back in 2008.

The huge club house in the middle of the complex features a large empty swimming pool and a myriad of dark karaoke rooms.

Unfortunately, half way through the construction, enough athletes said that the air quality in central Beijing was so poor, that they would stay outside the city. As a result, this place has been left to rot.

Attic Space

 

 

House with a Balcony

Twice I have fallen through the poorly constructed concrete floors into the flooded basements beneath. This is just such a perfect slice of eeriness urbexers should make this site a priority.

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There are a couple of security guards on the main gate, but people always manage to hop over the fence at the back for a quick peek. Be careful entering the houses though.

Windows to the Soul   Mockingbird Heights

Club from a Distance

   Beetlejuice's Fireplace

Every villa seems to have its own style and ambience. Each has its own fireplace. This one looks like the one in Beetlejuice.

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The clubhouse has quite a large swimming pool topped with a dome. The day I went a kitten could be heard mewing loudly, probably stuck in one of the pipes somewhere.

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The streets are long overgrown and weeds and small trees break through the cheap concrete. All that is missing is a tumbleweed.

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Four-Eyed House

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Here is the naked lady of the park, with the Olympic Park in the background. She looks a bit lonely, maybe you should pay her a visit.

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This is an eerie place to visit, so make sure you go on a sunny day. Seeing that there is so much to see here, and also because it is a semi-Olympic site, it gets a firm B+ from Burbex.

If you want to come and join me for this or any other site, please just send me a message on burbex@outlook.com  and we can arrange a time to meet up.

In the meantime, whet your appetite with some of these other great sites, like Solana Hotel and The Great Mall of China.