A while ago my Google Maps expert wife found a place called Giant’s Hand which she though I would be interested in. Last weekend we decided to go check it out. The place is an abandoned amusement park, or rather, what little remains of it, which lies in the very north end of Taizhong, not far from Zhuolan township in Miaoli county. It’s not very well know, and kind of hard to get to but worth the trip in my opinion. You can actually find it on Google maps but don’t count on the navigation to get you there because we tried that at first and failed. You can however use Google Maps to get reasonably close before resorting to blog based navigation, the map marker is here:
The reason navigation won’t get you there is because, while there is a road there, it’s no longer drivable, at least not with a normal car, so the map program designates it as a walking trail. Instead the GPS takes you as close as possible by an actual road and then leaves you at a spot about a kilometer south of the actual site, you’d then have to bushwhack your way through the jungle and across a river to get there. A far better option is to follow the “walking trail”. You could definitely reach the spot with an off-road car but turning around, especially if you take a wrong turn somewhere, will be tricky. We went there by motorcycle which wasn’t very comfortable, but doable. So unless you have a small off-road car I would recommend a two-wheeler of some kind.
Left: the car map gives the wrong route.
Right: the walking map is correct.
So, the way to go there is to follow Google Maps towards the 森杉露營區 campground and when you are getting closer you switch navigation mode to walking and set Giant’s Hand as your destination. That way the map will show you the correct route:
There are a couple of tricky turns so Renegade Wife and I compiled a few helpful instructions. The map below shows the last part of the route in closeup with a few important points marked out. The numbered images below shows where to go at these turning points.
The hard part of the route
Make sure to take the small side road on the north side of the small river
Avoid the side road on the south side of the bridge
The road splits with a small bridge crossing the river, take the left path (don’t cross the bridge).
At point 3, there is a split in the road with the left going to the campsite. Take the right side. It doesn’t look much like a road but it is possible to use. If you reach the campsite you have gone too far.
When you reach the parking lot with the big sheds you know you are on the right track; keep going through the rusty gate.
This is the last fork in the road, go straight and down the hill. The Giant’s Hand will be on your right close to a widening in the road where you can park.
The place itself is much smaller than you would expect for an abandoned amusement park. In fact, I don’t think it was ever an amusement park in the way that we tend to think about it, it was probably more like a botanical garden of sorts. Anyway, it seems most of the buildings are gone so there’s not much to see except for the Giant’s Hand itself. There are some newer looking buildings in the area as well, that look like they could be used as storage or covered parking spaces. Moreover, the roads are cleared (normally they would be at least partially overgrown) and this makes it seem like the place gets used from time to time by people other than tourists. The thing we came here to see is a big installation called The Giant’s Hand. It consists of several fiberglass sculptures that look like various body parts that have been placed in such a way that it looks like a partially buried giant who is about to get up. Anywhere else, such a thing would already be pretty cool but out here, at the end of defunct road, it feels even more special.
The left hand
The left hand from another angle
Yini getting eaten by the head
Finally, the right hand about to come crashing down on me.
Except for the Giant’s Hand we found a row of greenhouses that have been abandoned for several years, a nearly collapsed old house and an overgrown public bathroom down at the parking lot. As far abandoned buildings go they are not all that special but the Giant’s hand lends its weight to them, imbuing them with a feeling that wouldn’t be there otherwise. A quick word of warning: there are some kind of stinging nettles growing in the area, I even got stung through my trousers.
The parking lot with the newer structures, and the old bathroom in the distance
The overgrown bathroom
Inside the bathroom.
Entering the first greenhouse
An old water tank
Further in to the greenhouse
The trees have grown a lot since it was abandoned
The shelves of plants are a mess
This is what the roof looks like
The rear end of the last greenhouse
Another one of the newer buildings
The front of the collapsed house
Inside you can see the rear wall has broken in half with a large section of the roof on the ground
A gaping hole in one of the side wall
I think this is a pretty good site for urban exploration, good but not great. I do really like the Giant’s Hand sculptures but the other buildings are not that special as far as modern ruins go. However, the way to get here, while not comfortable, is a bit of an adventure which makes it a lot more fun than just a normal road. Overall, I think it’s a great destination for a single day adventure, so grab your bike and get going.
This time I end the post with an old sign from the remains of the amusement park.