On the way back to Busan from Gyeongju from an Ultimate tournament, Jonathan noticed that the typical apartment complex in the Suburbs of Ulsan looked a little bit strange, a little bit abandoned. As we drove passed it another time we decided that we would come back and explore it sometime. We had heard of an abandoned amusement park on Geoje island called Okpo Land and planned to go there first. After a few fatal accidents involving small children the park was shut down over 10 years ago. Just as we were about to leave out the door, I learned online that the park was sadly demolished the previous fall due to anti-Korean graffiti on the walls and arson attempts. The decision was made for us, so that morning and we scooted up to Eonyang to explore the abandoned apartment complex.
The buildings stick out like a sore thumb amid rice fields and small Korean houses. As we approached the buildings on the scooter we noticed that there was a closed gate with barbed wire leading up to the abandoned apartments. Also, there were about 6 Koreans playing cards and eating at a table on the other side of the gate. Hmm! Jonathan didn’t skip a beat and drove further, made the first left and we were driving down a narrow road with what looked like Korean cottage homes. We reached a chain that was put there in an attempt to block intruders, but it hung about a foot off the pavement. The scooter was parked, the camera was ready and we were on our way to try to figure what happened to these buildings. Were they abandoned due to structural issues? Was there a chemical leak? We were on the case!
Korea is filled with communist inspired rows of cheap and identical apartment complexes and buildings. After spending the first 10 years of my life in a sad suburb of Moscow I felt right at home in Korea. Similar to the suburban housing developments in North America, apartment complexes in Korea are build en masse. Everything goes up at once. These are not 2 story houses that all go up at the same time. I’m talking about eight 30 story buildings going up at the same time. When building such grand constructions there’s always a possibility of the project losing funding, political nixing, or maybe even losing the rights to the only road leading up the apartments.
I cannot describe how eerie and quiet it was. I constantly thought I heard footsteps but it was just a giant “Opening Soon” banner flapping around on one of the buildings. I was so scared, and my adrenaline level was through the roof. I almost exploded when Jonathan decided to go up to the top of one of the buildings. He then left me on the roof top and climbed the roof of a building opposite to me. I was freaked about by the abandoned factor and by the fact that there is an on-site guard near where we entered through the barbed wire, but he was off somewhere probably socializing with the group we saw on the other side. The buildings were almost complete. The lower floor buildings even had the shower cabins installed and the walls were insulated.
After a couple of hours we left, undiscovered by the apartment guards eating lunch 150 meters away from us. After researching about the apartment history we discovered that these buildings were supposed to be luxurious new developments however the man that owned the road leading up to them (the only road!) wanted to sell it for far too much money. He must have been holding out for a quite a lot as this was a mammoth project to just simply abandoned. I don’t think I will ever even begin to understand why this project begun without having the only road secured. Apparently there are plans to revitalize the development, until then you will continue to see this beaut from highway 35.