Yongma Land

So Yongma Land… an abandoned theme park… on the outskirts of Seoul…

I’d been wanting to visit this place for ages. There are tonnes of blogs going around on expats sites about the place, and I was hooked reading blog after blog. I knew the rough area that it was in, but had no real directions. Then, finally, one day when I was reading yet another blog about the place, I clicked the link to the girl’s boyfriend’s blog about the place and low and behold, this one actually had legit instructions on how to get there. Happy that I finally had decent instructions on how to get there and a new camera ordered. The cold in China had killed mine. So we penciled a date into our diaries for when we would visit.

We took the subway all the way up to northeastern Seoul, we got off at Mangu station and headed out to find a taxi. There were a few taxis parked up in front of the station and the driver knew where we wanted to go when we told him. The ride was about five to ten minutes and only cost about 5,000 won. The taxi dropped us at the bottom of a little hill. We were a bit lost and didn’t really know where to go. The taxi driver had pointed that we should walk up the hill. So we did just that. We saw the first thing that we saw, which was some kind of abandoned area, which was all fenced off. My God the smell coming out of there, it smelt like what I thought dead bodies would of smelt like. We kept walking and about a minute later we found the theme park. We walked round to the entrance, which is on the side and phoned the owner to let us in. It costs 5,000 won per person to enter.

After handing over the cash we were free to roam about. The weather was absolutely boiling. I couldn’t believe it was the start of May still, I felt like the height of summer. The park wasn’t too big, but we spent a good two to three hours there, wandering around the different parts, exploring and taking photos. There were some people doing proper photo shoots, art students and other foreigners, with their fancy cameras and lighting stuff. However there were some others like us, too, who were there more to mess about and get some photos. Yongma Land has really taken off since as it has been used in K-Pop videos, I think Crayon Pop’s Ba Ba Ba is the most famous, and I think it has also been used in TV shows and movies.

I think that the park has been unused since the 1990s or maybe the early noughties. I really can’t remember. It was fun messing around with my new camera and testing out the random filters. The whole area around Mangu station is a real mix of the old and derelict, and new modern building being constructed. Like else where in Seoul, and the rest of Korea, development is rife. We managed to get photos of all the main spots and wandered into some of the buildings, but they weren’t that interesting, the best stuff is all outside. We had to wait ages for the big whirly thing (I don’t know the technincal or real name for it), as one group of students was hogging it the whole time we were there. We happened to be in the right place at the right time, just as they were leaving and ran to claim it next and get some quick pics before the other more serious photographers.

Anyway, enough words, this blog is all about the pictures…

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