Tales of troubled pasts continue to haunt these places in the most literal sense of the word. If you’re into spooking yourself silly, read on about some of the most haunted places in Asia. We’re not saying that we believe in ghosts (we’re not saying we don’t either), but you know what they say — where there is smoke, there is fire.
#1 Old Changi Hospital, Singapore
Built in 1935 when Changi was a military base focused on defending the Johor Strait, the hospital (then named the Royal Air Force Hospital) fell into the hands of Japanese soldiers during the Japanese occupation that began in 1942. The notoriously cruel Kempeitai (Japanese Secret Police) made it their prison camp where they would torture and execute prisoners which were largely made up of local civilians and military personnel. When the war ended, many Japanese soldiers were executed on the grounds, and eventually it was reinstated as working hospital, finally closing in 1997.
Beware: The hospital was deemed haunted long before it closed, with stories of haunting cries and shadows of previously tortured souls. Now that the building is abandoned, locals warn not wander within the grounds of the hospital after dark. Film makers have even used the old hospital as their main inspiration in the movie Haunted Changi.
#2 Bhangarh Fort, India
Surrounded by lush greenery, Bhangarh Fort is famous for being one of the most haunted places in India, though you might not guess that just by looking at the beautiful ruins. Built in 1613 by King Madho Singh, legend has it that the fort garnered a dark reputation when a holy man cursed the town if ever anyone were to build a house taller than his — which we’re guessing happened. Another famous legend tells the story of a wizard (not of the pointy hat kind) who fell in love with Ratnavati, the Princess of Bhangarh and tried to cast a spell on her but she didn’t feel the same about him, which led to his death — but not before he cursed her and the entire town.
Beware: Take heed of the sign put up by The Archeological Survey of India prohibiting tourists to stay inside the fort area after sunset and before sunrise. Locals say those who have tried to stay inside after sunset were never found.
#3 Lawang Sewu, Indonesia
Built in 1904 as the headquarters for the Dutch East Indies Railway Company, its name means “Thousand Doors” for the numerous doors and arcs in used in designing the building. The colonial building was completed in 1919, made up of four structures on a large plot of land. World War II saw Lawang Sewu fall into the hands of Japanese soldiers who used the basement of one of the buildings as a detention center. There are endless stories of brutal torture and mass executions that haunt the old dilapidated building till today.
Beware: Among the ghosts reported to inhabit the establishment are a Dutchwoman who committed suicide inside and a kuntilanak; a vampire.
#4 Karak Highway, Malaysia
After several years of construction, the highway was launched in 1977, its 60-kilometer stretch connecting Malaysia’s capital city Kuala Lumpur to the country’s third largest state of Pahang. The highway is infamous for being long and windy — treacherous especially at night, which has led to numerous fatal accidents that in turn, over the years, have attracted a host of superstition and spooky stories. Whether these stories are true or otherwise, motorists diving along the highway tend to speed along with caution once the sun goes down (we all know that’s when ominous spirits come out to play).
Beware: There are many stories, including one of a yellow Volkswagen that appears only at night. It’s said that the car will move slowly, prompting the other car to over take it and once that happens, the same Volkswagen keeps reappearing. Another famous story is of the school boy that can be seen wandering along the highway at night, looking for his mother. Legend has it that an accident caused the mother and child to be killed, but the mother was flung out of the car and away from her son on impact.
#5 Tat Tak School, Hong Kong
Dubbed as one of Hong Kong’s most haunted places, the Tat Tak school in Ping Shan Village is said to house many spirits. One documentary interviewed an eyewitness who claimed to have seen a ghost squatting in one of the rooms. Another story that keeps surfacing is the ghost of a teacher who supposedly hung herself in the girl’s toilets, apparently wearing a red dress (we hear that in Chinese lore, taking one’s life in a red dress means that one plans to come back as a ghost in 7 days).
Beware: A few years ago, there was a story of a group of students visiting the school and one of the female students became possessed (apparently by the teacher’s spirit), attacking and biting her classmates in a sudden rage and even tried to hang herself.