Attention please, I have a request. I need all your spare change – and the name of someone who knows how to dispel evil spirits.
Because the top of my list of things to do in Taipei on my recent trip was visiting what’s known as the Wanli UFO village, a group of 15+ abandoned 1960s homes, some of which look like UFOs, and now I’ve seen them, I’d rather like to live in one.
But to do that I need big bucks – and maybe a small exorcism.
Let me explain…
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UFOs, UFOs E
Frankly, exploring things that look like UFO’s isn’t always on my holiday list (well, except that time I went to Roswell and that small trip I took to a bar the middle of Nevada) but when I heard about an abandoned village of spaceship houses just a short drive from Taipei City I was intrigued.
I mean come on, why wouldn’t you want to see these things – look at them.
They look like they could take off and whisk you to another galaxy any second. And, if they don’t, no matter, as these particular homes also have a prime beachfront position and a sea view. I’d happily kick back on my space porch and chill if I had to stay in the same spot.
Well, if paradise had a spooky, abandoned, ‘honey. let’s just grab the kids and get out of here NOW’ kind of vibe.
Yep, that’s right – I mentioned that the houses were abandoned. UNDERSTATEMENT.
This place literally looks like one day, the whole village upped and left in seconds. There’s still furniture in some of the houses, curtains on the windows – some even still have TVs, video recorders, bedding and clothes.
It’s like whoever was living there ran screaming for the hills.
Why is There a Village of Abandoned UFO Houses in Taiwan?
Now, there is a mystery. The homes are officially known as Futuro Houses and, a
There are however a couple of theories. One is that the ground the houses are built on was the burial ground of a few thousand Dutch soldiers leading superstitious locals to fear their spirits, another that a large dragon at the front of the site was damaged during construction which doomed the site to bad luck.
Add to this a few unexplained deaths in and around the site and it was enough for people to up and leave.
The little I know about Taiwanese culture means that sounds totally feasible – but, the same story is also told about another group of futuristic houses that were also built close to Taipei in Tamsui.
Known as the Sanzhi UFO Houses or the Sanzhi Pod Village, these two-storey pod-like houses were built as potential holiday homes aiming at American serviceman in the region, but after a series of spooky car accidents in the area, just like at Wanli everyone up and left and in 2008 the village was knocked down and redeveloped into a theme park (slightly weird choice for somewhere with potential ghost issues but we’ll go with it).
Check out this post if you want to see pictures of the Sanzhi UFO Houses – they looked amazing.
Which development had the curse I don’t know, but the upshot is – the Wanli houses were abandoned
What Type of Cool Houses Are at Wanli?
The most eye-catching are the Futuro homes, the ones that look like UFOs.
Designed by Finnish architect Matti Suuronen, around 100 of these homes were made in the 1960s and 70s.
Originally designed as ski chalets, the fact that they were easy to transport and just as easy to put together means they were soon springing up outside of the Finnish ski fields – Australia, USA and other parts of Europe all saw their own Futuro homes appear.
However, people often didn’t like how modern they looked and some places even banned them as eyesores. That, combined with the sudden rise in the price of plastic caused by the oil crisis mean production of the homes stopped in the 1970s and they’re now incredibly rare.
Which is what makes the UFO houses in Taiwan so amazing. There’s so many, in one place, with no-one officially living in them. I literally walked round muttering ‘How? Why? And will the bank give me a mortgage if I don’t mention the possible curse thing?’
Nestled alongside the UFO houses are around 5-6 slightly less iconic, but still amazingly cool homes in a second design by the same architect known as the Venturo House.
Again, there are very few of these left in the world – and yet, there’s a group of them here just sitting there. Empty.
The whole place completely blew my mind.
For a group of abandoned homes, they are remarkably well preserved – probably because they are made of plastic which stands up to the sea air better
There’s also minimal signs of human damage – a couple of the doors have been wrenched off and some of the windows have gone but there’s no obvious graffiti or wilful damage that you might find in another country.
Whether that’s just because it’s not in the Taiwanese culture to treat things without respect, or is to do with fear of spooky repercussions I don’t know but it does make for an incredible hour or two exploring.
Is it Safe to Explore the UFO Village?
It seemed pretty safe to me.
I’m scared of way more things
None of those things applied at the UFO Village – at least the day we went.
The road is completely open and unfenced so you aren’t trespassing walking around the site.
The houses seem structurally sound although you should wear closed-toed shoes as there
It’s pretty clear which are which – the occupied ones have clean curtains, closed doors (well, actually often just doors) and even toys on the balconies – not to mention cars or boats parked outside.
When we were there, about
How to Get to the Wanli UFO Village
For an abandoned destination it’s actually pretty easy to reach! You just jump on a bus.
Specifically, the 1815 bus from the Kuo-Kuang bus station next to Taipei Main Station.
This is also the bus that goes to Yehliu Geopark (where you’ll find heaps of cool rock formations) and there’s a large sign saying this at the stop so it’s easy to spot if you’re in the right place.
The bus takes about an hour to get to the stop you need. On Google maps, it’s called Green Bay, but on the bus it will actually say it’s stopping at Feicui Beach which confused us slightly.
The journey costs NTD$88 and you can use your Easycard.
Once you get off the bus head towards the large hotel complex, that looks a bit like a castle, on your left (see below).
Follow the road that leads to this round around and you’ll soon see your first house on your right. Don’t climb up into the bushes, if you keep walking you’ll find a path that winds through the whole place.
It’s all clearly marked on google maps. The easiest reference point is the Howard Green Bay Resort Hotel.
Is There Anything Else Nearby?
There’s a small temple but it’s not that exciting. The beach is pretty but in the direct vicinity frankly, the big draw is the houses.
Yehliu Geopark is, however, only about 40 minutes away by bus, so you can combine the two.
This was our original plan but be warned; because we went to the UFO village on a Saturday, by the time we’d finished exploring it was close to lunchtime and all the buses to Yehliu were coming past full and wouldn’t stop for us.
This might not be the case in the week, but if you do want to visit both, you might find it easier to grab an Uber to take you up to the Geopark – it’s only a 10-minute drive by car.
There were a couple around the day of our visit but by the time we realised what was happening with the buses, we were hot and fed up and just headed back to town.
To get back to Taipei, simply go back the way you came and the bus stop to town is on the other side of the road.
So, while a village of abandoned houses that look like UFO’s might not have been on your ‘Taipei must see’ list – if you’ve got time to spend a morning out of the city I’d suggest adding it. It’s one of the most unique places I have ever been. See it soon before someone buys the land – or the homes. Or send me the cash, so I can buy them and I’ll let you come visit.
Once the exorcist has been anyway.
What to Read Next
If abandoned places are your happy place, then you might also want to look at visiting Taichung where there’s an abandoned building that’s now full of street art. Find details in our Taichung itinerary.
There’s also a few abandoned sights on the other side of the Houtong Cat village near Taipei. This used to be a mining village and the old coal side of town is very Hunger Games. See more in our guide to visiting Houtong.
If you’re just here for the Futuro Houses, then you might also want to look at our story on the Futuro House in Canberra – it also has a pretty cool tale behind it.
Who Writes Differentville?
My name is Helen Foster and I’m a journalist and author living in Sydney.
My travel articles have been published in titles including The Australian, Body & Soul at the Sunday Telegraph, RAC Horizons, Jetstar magazine and more.
I like the weird, the wonderful and anything that makes me jump and down with glee like I’m about three. That’s what you’ll find here.
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