When three female solo travel bloggers planned a visit to the spooky abandoned theme park – Taman Festival in Bali, Indonesia, they had no idea what awaited them.
The prospect of photographing dark building walls covered in bold colored graffiti was all too tempting for these three young, innocent women to ignore. All they cared about was – taking pictures for their Instagram , making stories and creating videos and content for their blogs. Little did they know what lurked there….
During their few hours taking pictures and exploring the vast park, they had many unexplained experiences in broad daylight. One creepy event after another, Taman showed these girls that some urban legends are not to be ignored..
These three women lived to tell the tale. Here’s mine –
One fine day while chilling at the beach sipping cocktails and watching the sunset, Janet , Annemarie and I decided to check out some spooky places in Bali. My Indonesian friend Ina, was very much against this idea and told us about all the urban legends and why it’s not wise to mess with the spirits in Bali (or anywhere else for that matter).
Needless to say, this made us want to go even more and we picked the mysteriously abandoned theme park of Taman Festival in Sanur as our very first adventure stop.
Table of Content
- Taman Festival Bali – History and Myths
- What to Expect at the Taman Festival Abandoned Theme Park
- Tips for Visiting Taman Festival Theme Park
- Taman Festival Bali Photo Gallery to Inspire a Visit
- Taman Festival Bali Entry Fee
- How to Reach Taman Festival Sanur
Taman Festival Bali – History and Myths
Taman Festival in Sanur, Bali was created with the vision of giving Disneyland a run for it’s money. So, you can only imagine the grand scale of things planned for this amusement park. Taman Festival was briefly opened in 1997 featuring the biggest inverted coaster in the world, 3D cinema, biggest swimming pool in Bali, majestic laser shows and heck even a huge volcano and crocodile pit!!!!
As destiny would have it though, in less than a year on Friday the 13th (no less), Taman Festival’s million-dollar laser equipment, was struck by lightning.
In the time of economic recession, no one could really afford to rebuild, take ownership or bear the losses. Since then, it has just remained a vast, vacant, piece of land.
As for the crocodiles, it is said that they were simply left to roam free. Some villagers fed them chickens regularly but slowly they turned into cannibals. No one really knows what happened in this huge abandoned space in the last two decades, but I would say there is something off-putting here, for sure.
I mean when things start going south on Friday the 13th, you can never be too sure!
What to Expect at the Taman Festival Abandoned Theme Park
View this post on Instagram
As soon as you enter from the ticket counter with no one manning it, there is a weird sense of eeriness, even in broad daylight. Somehow, I was a bit reluctant to take a peek behind the shattered glass, as if I were expecting a skeleton to hand me a ticket.
Shrugging off this feeling, we all entered Taman Festival, not knowing what awaited us. For one, I certainly did not expect it to be so massive. We explored for several hours and I still believe there are spots we missed. It’s simply gigantic.
Next, I definitely did not expect it to be so eerie. Since all three of us were keen on creating our own content, without even realizing, we drifted in different directions – whilst excitedly taking pictures and videos.
Suddenly, I looked away from my phone and GoPro and noticed I was all alone. Standing in the middle of nowhere, with creepers all around and creepy crawlies lurking underneath. As if it wasn’t spooky enough, to give you goosebumps, the ominous cracking sounds breaking the jungle silence, certainly made me wish I had listened to my friend Ina’s warnings.
I kept exploring alone hoping I would find my friends soon, bright daylight partially boosting my confidence.
Two huge dragon statues which reminded me of Game of Thrones, loomed over the grounds. On closer inspection, they seemed like guardians of the park, and I felt certain should they come alive, they’d likely be foes rather than friends.
Each path connected to a new one amidst bushes, and holes in the walls of decrepit concrete buildings led to sinister rooms that sucked you further into that labyrinth and away from the exit.
I felt that, without much human presence and maintenance, the place had decayed over the years and taken over by bizarre creatures and intangible presences I could not quite ignore despite my typical skepticism.
Telling myself to toughen up and be reasonable, I forced myself to crawl through a wall opening, hoping to find my friends inside. As I stepped in a snake fell off the ceiling right in front of me, startling me. Still shaking as it slithered away under the dry leaves, I made a mental note to watch where I stepped and check ceilings before walking underneath.
After the reptilian incident I finally found Annemarie. We agreed the place was inexplicably sinister and that we should stick together.
We suddenly felt we were being observed, and the fine hair on my arms stood up. Shaken and concerned we scouted our surroundings for movement. Several hundred meters away a young kid followed us surreptitiously, his shaven head peeking from behind a dilapidated wall. At first we assumed he was a curious kid from the nearby village.
However, we slowly realized he was watching us, stopping and hiding behind corners and trees whenever we would stop, patiently waiting for us to proceed. If we changed paths he would quietly follow us, always keeping a safe distance, until he suddenly vanished as suddenly as he had appeared.
We couldn’t help but wonder whether the mysterious boy was looking out for us or for the park…
If that wasn’t reason for concern, when we got back home both of us felt extremely sick and ended up throwing up. We were bedridden for over a day, with no idea as to what could’ve caused us both to fall ill at the same time.
Our friend Janet, who hadn’t spent much time inside the park or been followed by the kid, remained healthy. Could it be that she had avoided the warning curse that might have befallen us for intruding the park? We ultimately elected not to return to test out this theory!
When you go looking for spooky places in Bali – be very careful what you wish for. Balinese people never really visit Taman Festival and other abandoned spots as they truly believe these places have no living visitors! Enter at your own risk.
Taman Festival Bali Video Walk Through
My friend Annemarie from Travel On the Brain, created this fabulous video walk through (Lara Croft style), which will give you a fair idea of how sinister this place was –
Tips for Visiting Taman Festival Theme Park
Apart from being mentally prepared to shit your pants, here are few tips to keep in mind if you plan to visit the ghostly town of Taman Festival.
Carry mosquito repellent
Taman Festival is infested with overgrown shrubs and tree creepers, which means, it is a breeding ground for all sorts of insects and big fat mosquitoes. Carry adequate bug spray and keep reapplying if you intend to survive, bite free.
Wear closed comfy shoes and long pants
The park is vast so wearing comfortable clothing and footwear is an absolute must.
I would highly recommend wearing closed shoes and long pants to avoid red ant attacks or prehistoric looking roaches and spiders from getting close to skin.
Bali is hot and humid. If you plan to spend a few hours in Taman Festival, you should know the place is completely abandoned so don’t expect stalls selling water or food. Bring enough water to last few hours.
Don’t park inside
If you want to save on the small, but illicit parking fee, just park anywhere outside or by the beach.
Watch where you step
After seeing snakes, roaches, spiders, red ants, I would surely say there’s more where these came from. The grounds are full of dry leaves and you can never be too sure of whats underneath. Be very careful and watch your step to avoid unwanted misadventures.
Taman Festival Bali Photo Gallery to Inspire a Visit
No matter how bizarre this place was, it piqued my interest like no other attraction in Bali. As soon as I entered, I was smitten and kept wondering “How does this place even exist!?” It’s not a hidden spot either and right in the madness of Sanur, though isolated and visitor free.
Such cool wall murals and graffiti all around, made for some great pictures and needless to say, I could not stop clicking.
Taman Festival Bali Entry Fee
Since this land is pretty much neglected and has no owners, all you need to pay is a few cents for parking. There are people pretending to be guards / parking attendants and they will try to get some small change,(less than 1 USD) from you. It’s totally up to you as these are not officials but we paid in any case.
How to Reach Taman Festival Sanur
Reaching Taman Festival is pretty easy. We drove our bikes for around an hour from Canguu towards Sanur. Once you reach Padang Galak, within 5 mins, you will see a towering building – this is Taman Festival.
Taman Festival Map
If spooky places intrigue you, a visit to Taman Festival Bali should definitely be on your itinerary. Whether it’s haunted or not, I can’t really say for sure, but if you are in the mood for some chills, this is the place to go!