Exploring an Abandoned Amusement Park in Yangon
Right in the middle of Yangon, hidden in plain sight, is an abandoned amusement park.
I first heard about it at a hostel where I stayed my first night in Yangon, but they were a little bit unclear about how exactly you get into the site, and I only had a couple of days in Yangon.
Nonetheless, ‘abandoned theme park’ just screams ADVENTURE (and cool photos) so I had to find it and check it out.
I knew it’s by Yangon Zoo, but that was it. In a slightly hungover state (thanks to many beers the previous night after a street food tour), I thought I had to get in through the zoo itself and ended up buying a ticket.
Anyway, it turns out that while you can actually see some of the amusement park from the zoo, there is sturdy fencing between the park and the zoo (and way too many people around to climb it). D’oh!
Back outside the zoo (and with some funny looks from the ticket ladies), I eventually found a break in the fence round the corner and made my way in.
I’d heard that there are squatters living in the perimeter and wild dogs, so I was a little nervous going in, but just gathered up confidence and walked in like I was meant to be there.
Right away, 3 dogs came up and started barking at me.
Pay no heed.
Luckily that tactic seemed to work (I hadn’t gotten any rabies shots) and the dogs pretty much lost interest once I’d walked to where the rides started. Come to think of it, the dogs didn’t seem all that wild (or rabid) and I think the locals living around the site feed them.
The rides were all still there.
There were classics like the Merry-Go-Round (Carousel if you’re American)…
And a Viking Ship that swings. Well, actually it seems to be a Viking ship with a Pirate on it (I suppose if you can’t decide which to go for then mix them both up).
Apparently the ship still swings if you have the manpower to push, but I was alone (and still a little hungover) for the effort.
Then there are some self-powered ones like the ‘UFO Cycle’. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen a theme park ride you have to cycle yourself in. Sadly, the mechanisms were broken, but you can still push them around the track if that’s your thing.
And they had not one, but TWO bumper car halls.
Or maybe that’s just where people learned how to drive during the military junta’s time?
30 minutes in, I still hadn’t encountered anyone else yet. By this point, all my nervousness about whether I was meant to be there had gone.
My imagination had taken over and I imagined the rides were all still working and I was a kid again with this whole playground to myself.
I was having a blast.
It’s a rather strange feeling because everything is faded and overgrown, but at points you can hear music and the sounds of people from the zoo next door.
Yet in the amusement park, everything is lost in time.
Like you’re in another world.
“This amusement park held lots of memories of us, the people of Yangon. And especially for the kids who grew up in Yangon in late 90s and early 2000s.
I still remember that I (like most people in Yangon) used to take my kids to there on weekends because it was the first amusement park with a roller coaster in Myanmar. And it was also situated next door to only zoo in the country at that time, where we used to happily eat ice cream.
There was one event in 2004/5 when my workmates and I created a drawing contest in the park for kids over several weekends. We were working for the BIC brand colour pencils and even our boss came and sneaked our performance in there.
Thank you so much for bringing this place back to life through your blog/Instagram.”
Eventually (the place really is huge), I got to the side nearer the road, where you can see that there actually are people living on that side of the grounds. They seemed used to seeing the odd curious visitor and didn’t really pay me much attention.
The mosquitoes, on the other hand, would not leave me alone!
Tip: Bring plenty of insect repellent, as I found some were Aedes mosquitoes, which can spread dengue fever and other nasties. I didn’t encounter any snakes, but it’s likely that there are some so just tread carefully (and/or heavily since they’re almost certainly equally keen to avoid you).
I made a video of the abandoned amusement park. Have a watch and see for yourself:
In all, I spent nearly 2 hours at the park, and had an amazing adventure as well as taking some super cool photos.
It’s one of the most fascinating places I’ve ever been to, and definitely a must-do if you’re in Yangon.
With the rapid pace of Yangon’s development, who knows how much longer the park will be accessible?
So if you’re up for a unique adventure, then definitely go and check out the park. Everyone I know who’s been had a blast.
Ready to go on your own adventure of the Abandoned Theme Park?
Have you been to an abandoned amusement park too?
I would love to know your experience so leave a comment below, and feel free to ask me any questions. 😊