May 22 2011

Taman Festival: Bali’s ghost town

Published by at 7:58 am under Sanur

Taman Festival is a vast yet never completed entertainment complex a 20-minute bicycle ride north from Sanur beach. While the park had a soft opening in 1997, it closed its doors in 2000 and has been abandoned ever since.

Special price just for forever

Special price just for forever.

According to Bali news site BaliDiscovery, the park was a joint venture between the local government of Bali and Indonesian businessman Bambang Pengestu, but after shutting its doors the project became mired in legal disputes and I’m not even going to pretend to know the legal status of the place now.

Roofing expert needed. Immediate start.

Roofing expert needed. Immediate start.

When Pengestu walked away a number of animals were abandoned alongside the park, including a crocodile pit full of, well, crocodiles, and turtles. You can see some photos from 2008 here. When we first moved to Sanur a few years ago, we heard stories of the crocodiles and that locals would feed them chickens.

Fishmerman, beastie filled pond, non-erupting volcano

Fishmerman, beastie-filled pond, non-erupting volcano.

The story goes the crocs resorted to cannibalism and while I didn’t see any, I’m not going to say I wasn’t more than a little bit concerned and did keep my distance from the more swampy sections. I asked a bunch of security guards hanging about out the front about them, but as I didn’t know the Indonesian word for crocodile, I resorted to making snapping gestures with my arms — they thought I was a bit mad.

Useful for weather predictions

Useful for weather predictions.

The park really is like the land where time stopped. Ticket offices and pizza signs remain and I found a half-smashed scale model of the whole place, adding to the ghost town feeling of the place.

Pizza Express not so express today

Pizza Express, not so express today.

Many of the wooden roofs are half-collapsed and while the “Mongolian Festival House” looked interesting, I’d have had to jump over a lime green pond that if not home to crocs was I’m sure was the lair of a giant anaconda or some other tourist-eating-beastie, so I gave it a miss.

Insert your preferred quip about best laid plans...

Insert your preferred quip about best laid plans...

The boulevards are still easy to make out, lined by palm trees that have lost their tops and decorative times under foot. Graffiti is everywhere, but save a solitary fisherman walking through I didn’t see another soul in the place.

Entering the third dimension

Entering the third dimension.

Aside from the non-functioning artificial volcano that I think I’d need to have swum the main pond to reach (sorry guys), the most striking part of the complex is a massive lumbung-styled building that has lost much of its roof. You can see it from Sanur proper and it’s a spectacular scene, yet again with its own pond of jet black water hiding who knows what.

Available for rent. Some work required.

Available for rent. Some work required.

The best way to reach here is by bicycle. Ride along Sanur’s beachfront boardwalk and just keep going. The ride should take about 20 minutes. Allow at least an hour to explore the site and don’t forget a stun gun to keep the crocs at bay.

Bye bye Bambang!

Bye bye Bambang!

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4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Taman Festival: Bali’s ghost town”

  1. kathryn-marieon 03 Apr 2012 at 8:36 pm

    i have also explored this abandoned amusement park got some fantastic shots went once in the day light and then at night. came across a bright green vine snake? a web with a massive spider and a bird in it, was definetly a tiny bit creepy but totally awsome place i got to see alot of the park but would definetly go back and see what else there is.

  2. joEricon 15 Jun 2012 at 9:16 am

    many memories when I played there in 1999 I believe.
    I miss when I am out there bali for a long time.
    but now that have new title “a ghost town” wow ..
    the photos look creepy, like Jurassic Park: The lost world
    if I have a chance to get there I’ll get around as well. :)

  3. Garyon 25 Feb 2013 at 4:24 am

    I found this park in May 2012 and spent several hours across 2 days pretending I was Indiana Jones. Fascinating place, and I wish I’d had even more time to poke around there.

    More recently I was in Sri Lanka and drove past an abandoned amusement park (possibly “Dino World”) near Negombo, but never had an opportunity to go back and explore :-(

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