Killing Fields
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10 famous haunted sites in Southeast Asia that will scare your socks off

If you’re fascinated with ghoulish tales of terror and find yourself drawn to places with a macabre past, then you’ll want to pack your flashlight, camera, and a good dose of courage when you visit these spooky sites:

Penang War Museum, Malaysia

Penang War Museum
Where the prisoners of war were incarcerated during World War II. Source: Allen Warren / Flickr.com

National Geographic Channel once named the museum as one of Asia’s most haunted sites in its show “I Wouldn’t Go In There”, so there must be something lurking there.

A former British fortress, the museum chronicles the atrocities carried out by the Japanese military during its occupation of Malaya in World War II, along with displays of various wartime paraphernalia.

If its past wasn’t dark enough, the museum is spread out atop a hill that’s been dubbed as Bukit Hantu (Ghost Hill) due to the ghostly activity that’s been reported in the area. It’s said that the ghost of a particularly bloodthirsty Japanese officer who tortured civilians and prisoners of war still lingers there.

 

Teacher’s Camp, Philippines

Teacher's Camp
The sleeping quarters at Teacher’s Camp. Source: Jam A / Flickr.com

You wouldn’t be able to tell from looking at it, as it appears to be quaint, but Teacher’s Camp in Baguio is one of the most haunted places in the Philippines.

The former training center for teachers is over a century old, and spirits have apparently taken a liking to it. Visitors and caretakers claim to have seen apparitions such as a headless priest and a lady dressed in white.

 

Lawang Sewu, Indonesia

Lawang Sewu
Don’t wander down the corridors of Lawang Sewu at night, unless you want to bump into the kuntilanak. Source: Andreas H / Shutterstock.com

Lawang Sewu (meaning “Thousand Doors” in Javanese) is an iconic colonial building in Semarang, Central Java. It was built as the headquarters of the Dutch East Indies Railway Company.

The building’s reputation is so notorious that a horror film inspired by its ghostly tales was released in 2007, featuring a local specter known as a kuntilanak.  

When the city was occupied by Japanese forces during World War II, the basement of B building was used as a prison, and the headless spirits of those executed are thought to haunt the building’s labyrinthine halls.

 

Old Changi Hospital, Singapore

Old Changi Hospital
A graffiti-filled corridor of the abandoned hospital. Source: Kevin Lee / Flickr.com

Built in the 1930s as a military hospital, Old Changi Hospital is probably Singapore’s most well-known haunted site. During World War II (hmm, we’re starting to see a trend here…), the hospital was used as a medical facility for the prisoners of war imprisoned at the nearby detention center.

Abandoned since 1997, the hospital has become a proclaimed hotbed of paranormal activity and is a popular spot for aspiring Ghostbusters to explore in hopes of capturing evidence of ghostly entities.

There’s even a Singaporean movie released in 2010 telling the fictional and horrifying experiences of a group of local filmmakers as they spend a night in the hospital.

 

Thuan Kieu Plaza, Vietnam

Thuan Kieu Plaza
Source: Saigonese Photographer / Shutterstock.com

In District 5 of the buzzing Ho Chi Minh City stands a towering, eerie complex known as Thuan Kieu Plaza. Completed in 1998, the complex comprises three towers that each reach up to 33 stories – however, two of them remain empty while the third only has a few occupied units.

According to local lore, during the plaza’s construction, several construction workers were killed in on-site accidents, but their families were not given proper compensation. Due to this, a curse was put on the building.

Another popular tale features a spooked taxi driver who received a call for a pick-up at the plaza. When he arrived, no one was there, and when he called the number, he only heard heavy breathing, so he hung up and drove off. When sharing his story with others, he was told that it was likely the ghost of a girl who was murdered there in a fight with her boyfriend in 2005.

 

Genting Highlands, Malaysia

Genting Highlands
An overhead view of Genting Highlands.

While it’s a popular weekend destination for locals, Genting Highlands is also known for its many haunted hotels and condominiums.

Many visitors who stay overnight claim to hear footsteps in empty hallways and knocking sounds on their bathroom door as they’re taking a shower, as well as having the uneasy feeling of someone (or something) watching them.

Genting Highlands is also home to Malaysia’s only casino, which is why it’s believed that the ghosts of those who gambled themselves into debt and committed suicide reside in the buildings.

 

Laperal White House, Philippines

Laperal White House
Sometimes a child can be seen standing on the front steps, before suddenly disappearing.

Laperal White House is Baguio’s version of the Amityville haunted house, built in Victorian style with wooden planks and steep roofs, complete with its own phantoms.

Nowadays, however, the former vacation home of the Laperal clan functions as an art museum featuring works by Filipino artists that use bamboo and wood.

Mysterious dark figures have been seen standing at the windows by passersby, and many locals refuse to drive past the house in fear of coming across an apparition. The most common sighting is of a white lady standing near a mango tree that stands next to the house.

 

Haw Par Villa, Singapore

Haw Par Villa
One of the displays in Haw Par Villa’s “10 Courts of Hell”. Source: Cory Doctorow / Flickr.com

Haw Par Villa could be likened to a twisted, sinister Wonderland filled with disturbing and graphic displays. It was built by the Burma-born Aw brothers, who invented the medical ointment Tiger Balm, which is popular in the region.

Scattered across the grounds are statues and figures from Chinese mythology, but its crowning glory is the “10 Courts of Hell” display, often used as a cautionary tale by parents to scare their youngsters straight and keep them from going astray.

It’s rumored than an actual Gate to Hell is hidden somewhere on the grounds, and that the statues come to life when night falls. Security guards making their rounds at night have also reportedly said that they heard screams coming from the “10 Courts of Hell” display.

 

The Killing Fields, Cambodia

Killing Fields
A Killing Tree, which stands next to the Killing Fields.

Located in Choeung Ek nearly 15 kilometers away from Phnom Penh, the Khmer Rouge Killing Fields are a stark reminder of the genocide carried out by the brutal Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s.

The fields are not that large in size, perhaps the size of a football field, but they contain the mass graves of around 20,000 Cambodians, many of whom were tortured before being killed. Around 8,00 skulls are on display in a glass shrine at the memorial building that stands in the center of the killing fields.

The tormented souls of the men, women and children killed at the fields are said to haunt them to this day.

 

Sathorn Unique Tower, Thailand

Sathorn Unique Tower
The remains of the unfinished Sathorn Unique Tower.

The unfinished 49-storey skyscraper stands forlornly in Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, dubbed by locals as the “Ghost Tower” and occupied only by vagrants and drug addicts.

Thanks to its ghostly reputation, however, Sathorn Unique Tower has become a magnet for urban explorers looking for an adrenaline rush and an Instagram-worthy panoramic view of the city.

Some locals believe that the building is haunted because it was built on a former graveyard, while others claim that the building’s shadow covers the nearby Wat Yan Nawa, which is considered inauspicious. In 2014, the body of a Swedish backpacker was found hanged on the 43rd floor.
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If you’re in the ~spirit~ to visit these creepy sites and see for yourself whether they’re truly haunted, don’t forget to check out Traveloka for some scary good hotel and flight deals!

A storyteller with an insatiable sense of curiosity. Travel junkie. Card-carrying member of many fandoms. Heavily dependent on caffeine. Loyal cat servant. Former journalist at the New Straits Times and Hybrid News.

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