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.

D701B

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.

GUOSEN MALL NIGHT EXPEDITION- BEIJING – GRADE A***

Welcome back to the Guosen Mall twin towers, two mighty skyscrapers that loom over Dongzhimen in central Beijing. They sure do look pretty, but underneath their shiny glass surface lies a mess of concrete and steel.  So many people have contacted me about these fine structures that a night time run was called for. What’s more I was joined by my French apprentice. C’est bien!

Towering Inferno

As you may remember from a previous post, Guoson Mall complex is a defunct shopping mall, office complex, and also features twin sky scrapers. The left-hand sky scraper is easily accessible, but the right-hand one is too dangerous to climb.

Penthouse View

The skyscrapers are more than 34 storeys of back breaking climbing in the pitch black with only rolling dust and ghosts for company. The reward for this deadly climb? One of the best free views of Beijing in the whole city. Lucky for me and my apprentice, we had a clear windy night with perfect views. Enough chat, let’s look at those views.

The Bends

Don’t look down…

Dongzhimen from Above

No, really, don’t look down.

City Support

The tall building in the middle of the photo marks the centre of Beijing Central Business District.

Walking the Beams

City Scaffolding

Follow the Yellow Light Highway

City of Fallen Angels

Spectre on the Scaffolds

Is that the ghost of a deceased worker about to relive his fatal jump?

Cross Support

The upper floors of the building were originally built for air conditioning units, but now the crossbeams just whistle in the wind.

Blue Cross Sale

The very top of the building is marked with a fake bank logo. City policy is, that if the building is incomplete, it must have a glass façade to surround the building keeping with the image of the city.

Broken Bank Logo

Oakwood Figure of Four

Cross of Light

This is definitely not an urbex expedition with those suffering with vertigo, and be sure to have a good stretch before you climb the towers. Be sure to check out the rest of the complex Guoson Mall Complex. Don’t forget that if you ever want to visit one of these sites when you are in Beijing, just send me an email at burbex@outlook.com, and we can set up a time to meet.

To check out the whole set click here.

 

 

 

 

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.

totally_tubular

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.

bottle_family

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.

guage_heads

 

 

crane_head

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

QIANMEN GATE HAUNTED HOTEL – BEIJING – GRADE B+

Nestled near the entrance to the Hutongs (alleyways) near Qianmen Gate, the entrance to the famous Tiananmen Square, lies this haunted hotel.

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Upon asking locals about the hotel, they said that it used to be the residence of a Nationalist leader before the revolution in the nineteen-forties, but after the revolution it was abandoned and then later turned into a cheap hotel.

Waking the Dead

Outside, the hutongs are bathed in yellow light from the street lamps. Inside you are shrouded with cloak of thick velvet darkness.

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Unlike much of the surrounding area which has been demolished and gentrified to give Beijing’s history a more polished look, this building exerts power and more than a little menace over its small corner.

Red Skull Man

The architecture of the building crosses western and Chinese styles which was very typical of the period. On the outside it looks like a western orphanage, but on the inside it is one hundred percent Chinese.

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Going in you can hear every door in the whole place creaking in the wind. Entering into the hotel rooms you get a strong sense that these rooms have seen a lot of visitors and that some of them might never have left.

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It has three floors, and there is possibly a cellar which might connect to the underground city, but this is still yet to be found.

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Stairs snake up to bricked off and boarded up rooms, through which only the spirits of long-deceased residents can pass.

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This is an easy place to get into, but beware the balconies as they are very rickety and could collapse at any time adding you to the list of guests who never check out.

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Gusts of wind brush past your face and tickle the base of your spine. Look round fast enough and you might catch someone watching you.

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Be sure to bring a flashlight and an extra pair of batteries. The residents don’t need much excuse to jump on you once the lights are out.

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The full moon was half-visible through the murky light of the glass skylight.

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Of course, if you are ever in Beijing and you want to check out this great urbex location, or any of the other great haunted locations in Beijing like Beijing Steel Works, where thousands of people lived and died over the years, or a spooky Abandoned Theme Park, just get in touch on burbex@outlook.com,  bring a flashlight, and we’ll go ghost-hunting together.

SPACE & SCIENCE MUSEUM – BEIJING – GRADE B-

Just a stone’s throw from The World Trade Towers and right next to An Hua Qiao Subway Station is the derelict site of Beijing Space and Science Museum.

Beijing Space Science Museum

Along with the Planetarium and the The Natural History Museum nearby in the compound, all of these buildings are due for demolition soon.

Beijing Planetarium

Crimson Rooftop

The Space Museum has recently been abandoned by the security guards which makes entering much easier than before.

Nice Curves

The museum is spread over nine floors, and the sixth floor opens out onto this awesome roof area affording some great views of the local area.

Antennae

Unfortunately most of the building has been gutted, but there are a few exhibits remaining in a few hidden corners.

Planetarium from Above

It is also very easy to get lost in the maze-like basement, but there are some great rooms to be found.

Roof Ramp

There are lots of bottles and specimens on display and in storage within the building.

Pink Specimen 2

One of the best features of the museum is the display about how ancient mines were dug.

Camp Fire

Manikins of the miners are still down there in the dark gathered around their little fires.

Mining in the Dark Two

Mining in the Dark

Light Painting 2

The museum also has a great number of open spaces which are ideal for light-painting.

Light Painting 1

Pink Floyd Tribute

The central roof is made of glass panels which from the atrium below looks magnificent.

Ceiling Three

Ceiling Two

Ceiling One

Computers are our frields

Specimen Jar

Like a lot of buildings in Beijing, it was built in the run-up to the Olympics and then just abandoned after the finish of the games. This is a relatively easy place to get into, and there is a lot to see, which is why this earns itself a hearty B-.

FLOATING DRAGON LAKE AMUSEMENT PARK – BEIJING – GRADE B+

Beijing Amusement Park based around the Floating Dragon Lake used to be the premier theme park in Beijing attracting 2.4 million visitors a year.

Planetarium vs. Ferris Wheel

It was famous for its roller coasters, 4D cinema, and the biggest Ferris Wheel in the capital.

Classical Luminesence

Now all that remains is the Ferris Wheel which dominates the landscape, and the ruined remains of the aquarium which has lots of graffiti.

Deep Blue Ferris

The site is sealed off from the public, but a quick hop, leap and jump make it pretty easy to enter.

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The site is connected by a series of bridges between each of the islands, and while most of them are padlocked, you can just jump into the dried out lake bed and run to the islands.

ntent/uploads/2015/01/dsc00238.jpg”>Silent Turnings

The aquarium and the horror house are easy to get into, but not much remains, but the Ferris Wheel is safely contained behind a metal fence. It slowly turns creaking in the wind.

Bright Seats

The central island is assessable by a Disneyesque bridge with turrets and a huge gate.

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Once you are past the gate, you have free rein over the park, the security guards are far too lazy to chase you this far.

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Beyond the bridge is the aquarium and the horror house. Pedlo boats line the empty basin of the lake also the lakeside.

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This is a perfect Scooby-Doo location as you poke around the horror house and listen to the creaking of the Ferris Wheel. The site is a little bare now, which is why Burbex is giving Floating Dragon Amusement Park a B+ grade.

By the way, if you liked this post, be sure to check out these other great leisure sites like Olympic Homko Ghost Town and Dalian Waterpark, plus feel free to contact me on burbex@outlook.com if you want to come along. Don’t forget to bring those Scooby Snax though.