It’s Halloween, do you believe in ghosts?
With Halloween just around the corner, everyone’s booking their tickets to the attractions with hopes that the many haunted houses will be worth their money enough to make the hairs on the back of their necks stand. But for those who are looking to get spooked in someplace other than home, here are a few of the most bone-chilling places to visit in South East Asia. So even if you’re the toughest skeptic out there, you might just change your mind!
1. Camp with the dead in Sagada, Phillipines
Probably the one place in the Philippines that will make you feel like you’re NOT in the Philippines, the little village of Sagada is located in the country’s Mountain Province and consists of beautiful limestone cliffs and deep caves. For adventure seekers, enjoy a myriad of activities such as camping and rock-climbing in Sagada’s temperate climate.
The catch? You’ll be doing these under the watchful eyes of Sagada’s dead. You see, Sagada’s biggest claim to fame lies not in its scenery, but in its fascinating funeral tradition. The dead, after a wake that can last for up to a week, are painstakingly carried up into the mountains and placed into coffins that are either pegged into the cliff walls or stacked in a cave. No one really knows how old this practice dates back, but it’s probable that some of the coffins are more than two thousand years old. Sadly, it’s a dying practice – most of the villagers are now Christians and they prefer to use a normal cemetery.
2. Stumble upon an altar of human skulls at Trinyan Village, Indonesia
Home to yet another unique funeral ritual, Trinyan Village in Indonesia is unlike the other parts of Bali that mostly practice Hinduism. Here, instead of cremating the dead, Trunyanese place deceased bodies in a bamboo cage under a mystical tree to decompose. And yes, if you visit at the right time, you might actually get the chance to see a few corpses lying there, as Mother Nature does her work.
Once the corpses reduce to a skeleton, the villagers are said to come back for the skull and relocate it to the altar, amongst the remains of the other skulls. Don’t worry, the fragrance from this mystical tree is supposed to mask the stench of death.
3. Witness the horrors of the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia
Apart from the capital Siem Reap, Cambodia’s Phnom Penh is just as attractive, especially when it’s home to the country’s biggest attractions – the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. This former high school converted into a detention center when the Pol Pot regime came to power between 1975 to 1978. During this period, so many atrocities took place here that only seven persons survived – out of a shocking seventeen thousand that are estimated to have been imprisoned.
Today, the mug shots of these seventeen thousand gaze down at you as you walk through each room in turn, where the shackles and bloodstains are still evident after all these years.
4. Avoid stepping on ACTUAL human remains in Choeung Ek
A half-hour drive from the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum is Choeung Ek, also known as the Killing Fields. It is the site of a former orchard and mass grave of victims of the Khmer Rouge that took place between 1975 and 1979. Don’t be too quick to judge, its tranquil appearance belies its horrific past.
As you tour the area, which is pockmarked by excavated mass graves, be sure to tread carefully because there were so many executions here that it’s impossible to exhume every last artefact, and once you start paying attention, you’ll be able to even see the teeth, bones, and scraps of clothing that are still scattered underfoot!
5. See preserved bodies on display at Bangkok’s “Museum of Death”
Nicknamed the museum of death, The Siriraj Forensic Medicine Museum is located inside the Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok and houses preserved bodies of murderers, accident victims and babies. For a fee of just 40 Baht, marvel at the exhibits and displays that include two-headed babies, Siamese twins, and so much more.
The place consists of five small medical museums: the Ellis the Pathological Museum, Congdon Anatomical Museum, Sood Sangvichien Prehistoric Museum and Laboratory, Parasitology Museum, and the Songkran Niyomsane Forensic Medicine Museum that are bound to bring on all sorts of heebie jeebies!
6. Marvel at the freaky oddities of the human body in Pattaya
If you don’t have the stomach for the Forensic Medicine Museum, head down to the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum in Pattaya. The museum has over ten themed galleries with an eclectic collection of oddities from around the globe, all of which are bound to shake up what you thought you already knew about the world.
Keep an eye out for the shrunken human head and primitive torture devices, alongside other equally bizarre exhibits. And if you dare, test your bravery at the haunted house!
7. Visit the ghosts of World War II in Coron, Philippines
Coron is possibly one of the most beautiful places in the Philippines – from the surface. However, to access its eerier secrets, you’d have to go deeper – to be precise, twenty-six metres underwater – where the sun quite doesn’t shine. Here, on the seabed, lies the wreck of the Okikawa Maru, a Japanese tanker that was sunk by the American air force in World War II.
Wreck divers can penetrate from the stern and explore its dark interior, where it’s all too easy to imagine the last chaotic scenes of the doomed ship. Some of the rooms are so big that your torch can’t fully illuminate your surroundings, and more than once you will find yourself thankful for even the ghastly green fingers of light that filter in from the world above. That said, dive centres organize trips to around eleven wrecks with varying levels of difficulty, so you can easily find one that suits your level of comfort.
8. Squeeze your way through tunnels from the Vietnam War at Cu Chi
For the non-claustrophobic adventurers, visit The Cu Chi tunnels in Vietnam. They are a part of an immense network of man-made underground tunnels that were used by the Viet Cong guerrillas in combat during the Vietnam War.
After the war, a hundred-and-twenty kilometre section was preserved by the Vietnamese government and turned into a tourist attraction, where visitors are allowed to crawl through the safer bits of the system. Most of it is so narrow that you wouldn’t be able to stand upright or make a u-turn. One can only imagine the horrifying conditions the Vietnamese soldiers had to endure during the war.
9. Visit a museum in Penang where dead soldiers roam free
Featured in National Geographic’s edutainment series: I Wouldn’t Go There, this historical Malaysian site is situated in Bukit Batu Maung and was the defence fort for the British during the World War II. In fact, in the years following the defeat of the Japanese army, villagers were said to have kept away from Bukit Maung in fear of the hauntings by ghosts and dead soldiers.
Today, the museum houses war relics that include the canon firing bay, the Japanese Flag as well as the underground tunnels that were used to get to the submarines.
10. Revisit the site of the 2004 tsunami in Thailand
Situated near the Ban Nam Khem Coast lies the Tsunami Memorial Park, that consists of the bits and pieces of the 2004 tragedy that struck Thailand. The park contains a handful of highlights that include the old fishing boat that was damaged during the tsunami which took so many lives. There is also the brick and ceramic-tiled wall that is carved with over 1,400 names of those who had perished.
However, the main highlight of the park would have to be the curved concrete wall which was built to represent the tsunami waves curling over the beach. The mood here is sombre and even eerie at times when you think about the number of lives lost at this very site.
11. Test your wits at Singapore’s most haunted cemetery
Brown Cemetery lies between Lornie Road and Mount Pleasant Road. The oldest grave in this cemetery is actually from 1833! Bukit Brown is known for being one of Singapore’s most haunted places and is home to many of Singapore’s pioneers and prominent personalities.
Today, apart from being a famous site for nature lovers, several ghost sightings were reported, including that of a lady roaming around in a traditional red Cheongsam. Also, the oldest tomb here covers 600 acres of land and is guarded by a stone Sikh guards.
If these spooky destinations aren’t enough for you, click to discover other scary places Klook has to offer! If you have a place in mind you think should make the list, do let us know in the comments section below!