Report - Qiáoyǒu Building, Changhua City Taiwan, July 2017

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28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Jan 16, 2009
Visited with my girlfriend.

A long, long dry spell of exploring. 9 months. Ever since I arrived in Taiwan in November 2016 I had plans for this. In fact, I still have plans to do a handful of places, but have never been motivated enough to go and do even a local site. Maybe it's because I'm busy at work, learning Mandarin or for the simple reason that the overwhelming majority of buildings, except for new builds and temples are poorly constructed, ugly concrete and tin boxes with no allure whatsoever. It doesn't help that I left my tripod at home, so the prospect of getting decent photos is limited. But I miss exploring more than you can imagine, so I had to do something.



To give you a brief introduction, 喬友大廈 (Qiáoyǒu Building), the tallest building in Changhua, was one of many multi-purpose high rises built in Taiwan during the economic boom in the 1970s-80s, hosting entertainment and shopping venues such as KTV bars, hotel rooms, nightclubs and in its darker corners, seedy brothels. Many of these buildings, such as Yuanlin's Golden Empire building (part derelict, yet to be cracked) are now disused due to different factors such as economic decline and mismanagement. Reports suggest this building closed around 1999, now standing tall as a ruinous reminder of a long-past economic boom.


Despite the vandalism and ruinous exterior, the ground floor is actually still in use as a dark, dusty, seedy gambling den occupied by unsavoury types. Although few people batted an eyelid as I walked through on recce missions, I made it too obvious that I wanted to go upstairs, which prompted one man to point upstairs and wave his finger at me to say no and another to ask me what I wanted here. I left.

By July 2017 it was a now or never. We walked in, and the man at the desk looks up. The attention is nowhere near as annoying as China, but in Taiwan foreigners look out of place wherever they go, none more so than a possibly-illegal gambling den. He looks away, and within seconds we run straight up the stairs into the darkness. One staircase was padlocked, but here the door through the barred stairwell was removed. Up we went. We kept powering up the stairs until the 6th floor, assuming we were in relative safety.


We weren't. We stopped, and heard banging and the voices of workers. Although confined to one stairwell, it was clear even on a Sunday some kind of work was being done inside; I tried walking down a corridor in the hotel area, but had to retreat after seeing shadows moving at the end. Signs suggest it's some kind of renovation work, stripping out the rotting interior. We had to be careful not to be seen.


Getting to the roof, however was no problem, and we were rewarded with views out to the west coast, the railway roundhose and the Changhua buddha. We could roam without interruption, even if we were never far from workers. From here you can really see and appreciate the typically schizophrenic, haphazard urban design of this low-prefecture city.


In May 2005 the building was badly fire damaged after a mentally ill man set fire to the disused 7th floor, taking 3 hours to extinguish and destroying many floors as a result. For inexplicable reasons thought it would be a good idea to run to the roof and hide from police. Ever cautious, we re-entered the building and tried to look around the derelict floors, by which now the builders left.

Rooms were still fully furnished, but covered in thick dust and endless junk. Not having a tripod, taking photos inside was a pointless exercise, but let's be honest we didn't miss much. It's pretty repetitive inside.


We had a brief look at the KTV levels of the building, which were shrouded in darkness so no photos. Eventually we called it a day, and made our way out; again, nobody seemed to notice us!



So there we have it. I finally got out again. I've got plans to do a handful of places, but don't expect it to be epic just because it's Asia. You'll probably never see anything that comes close to rivalling anything out of Europe or America. But it's OK for what it's worth, right?

Lots of love,