When I was living in Kathmadu 20 years ago (yow!) this summer, I found this awesomely makeshift ferris wheel in a nearby theme park. A teenager would stand in the middle, and walk from one bar to the next, giving passengers a slow, staggered ride.
Much more recently in southern Laos, down on the island Don Khon, I stumbled across a close cousin: the makeshift merry-go-round or carousel. I think there was a generator giving it a little power, but the operator had to push it around for it to keep any momentum. For context, this is an island where rooms cost one dollar a night, there’s electricity for only a few hours a day, and the closest email terminal was an hour away.
While we were busy on our own adventures, Chinese tourists flocked to Beijing’s glorious World Park of their own accord. Some of them with entire camera crews in tow. Wedding photos, engagement photos, bff shots, they were costumed, posed, and so immaculately arranged. Here’s a couple of our favorites!
Rickety rollercoasters, useless tour guides, and rather offputting cross dressers. Everything you could want in a Chinese theme park! What an absolutely glorious & outlandish day! Thanks to everyone who made it to AsiaObscura’s inaugural event, A Trip to Beijing World Park!
When the summer hits Beijing, there’s nothing like the feel of the sand, waves lapping at your feet, sweet dolphins hopping at the horizon. Yep — this summer, it’s time once again to visit Crab Island, the best beach in Beijing!
“But Beijing’s in the middle of the desert,” I hear you cry. “There are no beaches here!”
Why go all the way to Badaling when the Great Wall is right here in Beijing? Join AsiaObscura.com, as we spend a day exploring the eccentricities of Beijing World Park (北京世界公园), the city’s quirkiest amusement park. Experience the skyscrapers of Manhattan, the pyramids of Cairo, and even the Taj Mahal of Agra, just outside the 4th Ring Road! Plus, take photos in bizarrely-selected international costumes, ride the terrors of the North Pole, and even experience the thrill of a full-size Russian passenger plane!
We’re not experts, we’re not officials, and we’re certainly not tour guides, but we are going to have fun.
Cost: Park Admission (currently 65 RMB, possible 100 RMB) + taxi fare from Wukesong.
Meet Saturday, May 7th at 1pm at Wukesong subway station, Exit A.
Beijing’s filled with hidden secrets. Behind all those highrise tower blocks and overpasses, there is awesomeness to be found. And so it was that we heard rumors of a decrepit half-built theme park, somewhere way out west. The rumors came from a Chinese film student, who’d heard them from a friend, who’d heard them from another friend. No-one knew where on a map they were. “Just go to the Yuquanlu subway stop,” said Bing, “and walk south. That’s where it is! Ask a passerby.”
We did just that. And two hours later, we were still walking and asking passerby. The problem wasn’t that no-one had heard of it… everyone local seemed to know what we were talking about, but everyone local pointed us in a different direction. Two blocks in one direction. Twenty minutes in another. Half an hour walking along a highway. Finally we got wise, and paid a stranger to drive us around the neighborhood. And, in a moment of enlightenment, through a gap in the buildings, we saw what we were looking for: The Romance Park of the Heart.
This is what it looks like from the roadside (at least last year, it did. The last time we happened by, it was all being torn down.)