Time for another post from the archives. This first appeared in September 2007.
At 1.47am on September 21, 1999, an earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale occurred along the Chelungpu faultline in central western Taiwan. With it’s epicenter located at the town of Jiji, the 921 quake claimed the lives of 2415 people, severely wounded 11 441, caused US$9.2 billion in damage, destroyed 44 338 houses and severely damaged a further 41 336, leaving over 400 000 people homeless. Destroyed bridges in Central Taiwan caused weeks of traffic chaos, sections of land near the fault shifted up as much as 7m and there were 8000 recorded aftershocks.
Near the northern end of the fault lies the Dakeng Scenic area, a mountainous region to the northeast of Taichung city. And, until 921, it was location of the Katoli’s World, a popular amusement park. Damaged by the quake, the park was condemned and closed down. Today, the rides are still there, rusting away, and nature is moving in, reclaiming what was once concrete and metal free. With the eighth anniversary of the 921 quake upon us this week, I thought it was time for a photo post from Katoli’s World.
Technically, the park is closed. However, it’s possible to squeeze in through the entrance gates, although you’ll need to be thin and take off your backpack. There’s not a lot of space between the bars and the turnstile no longer works.
Once inside, a rusty map, bent out of shape shows where everything was. The two buildings shown on the bottom right were completely destroyed by the earthquake, and pathway on the far right, center, is no longer accessible due to fallen trees.
Heading along the path, the first ride you come to is the merry-go-round. Grass and weeds grow up to the edge, the floor is covered with mess and parts of the roof have gone.
Next up is the UFO-octopus. I’ve no idea what this ride should be called. Here’s two views – one from on the ride, one from above.
On the opposite side of the path from the merry-go-round and UFO-octopus is the teacup ride. Again, I’ve no idea what this should be called.
The observant amongst you will have noticed on the map that there’s two things at the very bottom. One of these is the fun house, the other another type of ride. The fun house was too dark to enter, and the outside so overgrown that I didn’t get any usable images, and the other ride was lost under the weeds. Again, no pictures. That being the case, we can continue along the path to the first rollercoaster. The entrance is shown below.
It’s possible to climb up to the very top of this, but I didn’t, mainly because I was there alone and didn’t think climbing an earthquake damaged roller coaster without safety equipment was a sensible idea. Instead, I went under the loop.
It’s easy to see how nature is reclaiming the site.
This part of the park seemed to suffer the worst of the destruction. Rides completely destroyed, with bits scattered throughout the bush.
We finally reach a point where it’s not possible to continue. The path has been too badly damaged and the vegetation is too thick to move through. Time to backtrack to the entrance and take a different path to go up the mountain. It’s also very overgrown in parts up here. I’m not sure what the following building is meant to be, but when I looked inside I saw great holes in the floor and other internal damage, even though the outside doesn’t look too bad.
Close by were the bumper cars, looking dirty but fairly undamaged.
The path was quite overgrown by this point, more a hiking trail than a paved path. It continued up towards a toilet block.
A small building in this area was completely out of shape. I’m not sure how it’s still standing.
A dragon boat poked its head out from the trees.
On top of the ridge could be seen the ferris wheel. From a distance, it looked to be in pretty good shape albeit quite rusty.
Up close was a different story.
One final roller coaster was left. This one is a Jet Star, according to the roller coaster database.
I was unable to get much closer to this one due to the presence of two large, unfriendly looking Dobermans. I love dogs, but these two didn’t look like they came from a loving home so I decided to call it a day.
One last shot, from the road outside.
As always, comments and retweets are most welcome.