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Monday, 31 October 2011

Halloween Special: The spookiest places to visit in Asia

Your typical haunted houses? Hardly. We find five creepiest places in Asia to spend your Halloween



It shouldn't surprise you that Asia, with its colorful history, should be teeming with citizens of "another world" - and we're not talking about camera-toting tourists in Bangkok.


Ranging from the mythical to the sad, and to the downright creepy, their stories must be told.


Here are the five spookiest places in Asia to visit this Halloween that will put your local haunted house to shame. (Disclaimer: these are not for the faint of heart.)

1. Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Cambodia




In the late 1970s, the Khmer Rough used Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, known then as Pol Pot's Prison, as a detention and torture centre. Out of the approximately 17,000 people who entered the complex, only a handful of them were known to have emerged alive.


So what exactly about this museum will send shivers down your spine?


The museum has been kept exactly the way it was in the 1970s, though it thankfully lacks the live graphic horror. Here you'll find skulls, pictures of former detainees and some torture paintings. It's rumored (of course) that the spirits of those who died there still haunt the museum.

2. Bhangarh Fort, India




What's better than a haunted house? A haunted city.


The ruins of Bhangarh Fort in Rajasthan, India are known as one of the most haunted places in the country. The warning signs located at the fort's entry points forbidding people from "Entering the borders of Bhangarh before sunrise and after sunset" only re-enforce the rumours.


There are a number of myths as to why the city was abandoned almost overnight, and never re-inhabited, but almost all of them conclude that it's due to a curse (although there are disagreements as to who put it there), and that ghosts now haunt the city.


One popular story goes that a magician, Singha Serva wanted to marry the fort's Princess Ratnavati, and when she foiled his plot to seduce her, he cursed the fort and all its inhabitants.

3. Lipe Island, Thailand

If you're skeptical about the existence of ghosts, trying spending your Halloween at Lipe Island in Thailand's southern Andaman Sea, and you might just become a believer.


Despite of the presence of a thriving modern tourist industry, the locals (known as Chao-le people) still take ghosts very seriously - they are, after all, neighbors.


Ask a resident if he's seen a ha-too recently (the Chao-le word for "ghost"), and he'll tell you he's seen many on the island - sometimes too many. Not only a belief held by the older generation, Chao-le kids are regularly seen tracking ghost prints left in the sand.

4. Himuro Mansion, Japan

Located in a rocky region just beyond Tokyo's bright lights is one of most haunted places in Japan: Himuro Mansion (sometimes referred to as Himikyru Mansion).


The complex is rumoured to be the home to one of the most gruesome murders in modern Japanese history. The members of the Himuro family, who were is said to be involved in their own dark rituals, were killed by their housemaster, who then in turn fell on his own blade.


Although the murders supposedly took place almost eight decades ago, stories still circulate that the family's spirits wander the grounds, and that fresh blood can often be seen on the walls.

5. Liu Mansion of Minsyong, Taiwan




A 90-minute drive north of downtown Chiayi stands Minsyong Haunted House (built in 1929), a mini tourist attraction for souls looking for a scare.


Although there are a number of conflicting tails as to why the now derelict mansion is haunted: all accounts agree that something isn't quite right there.


Some believe a maid who died in the mansion's well still roams the grounds, while others support the theory that the spirits of dead Japanese soldiers who lived near the mansion during World War II have taken up residence there. If you're in the mood to travel this Halloween, find out who's right for yourself.