Wonderland: Beijing’s Abandoned Amusement Park

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(Update 5/21/13: Rumor has it that Wonderland has been torn down. It may be worth verifying before you go. If you have any definitive information, please let me know.)

When travelers come to Beijing, they generally find their way to the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, and many of the other sights around the city. However, very few make it out to what is surely one of the most odd and surreal places to visit in China: Wonderland Amusement Park.

The construction of the amusement park was begun in the mid-90s, but was stopped in 1998 due to disputes between the park and the land owners. Today, what remains is a tower castle and gates set amid tranquil cornfields.

I recently had the chance to walk around the park while visiting Beijing. Approaching the gates of what was supposed to be the largest amusement park in Asia is odd to say the least. The first thing that you notice is the empty parking lot flanked by fairy tale castle gates. Getting closer, though, it becomes obvious that the park is unfinished: glass windows lie shattered on the ground, ticket stalls are missing, and cracks run through some of the buildings’ facades.

Exploring the park is easy because the entrance gate is wide open; there are no fences to jump or signs in English or Chinese telling you to stay out.

The most obvious feature of Wonderland’s ruins is the giant unfinished castle. Sitting in the middle of an active cornfield, the castle is Disney World meets “Field of Dreams”.  However, since they didn’t finish building it, they didn’t come, meaning you are likely to only be joined by local farmers tending their fields.

Unfinished architecture at Beijing's Wonderland Amusement Park.
Unfinished architecture at Beijing’s Wonderland Amusement Park.

Unfortunately, while you can walk through the cornfields to the castle’s base, there is no way into the upper reaches of the castle. You can, however, enter the buildings that flank the park’s entrance. When facing the park, the building to the right of the entrance holds nothing of real note. The left building, however, is a bit more interesting, featuring some decoration for parts of the Park’s entryways. It is also possible to enter the second level of the building by moving some of the rubble that has been placed over the stairs. The second floor seemed sturdy enough, but of course, enter at your own risk, as there is unlikely to be anyone around to help you in the event of an accident.

Overall, I would highly recommend a trip out to Wonderland Amusement Park for anyone looking for something offbeat to do while visiting Beijing.

Getting to Wonderland Amusement Park

The entrance to Wonderland Amusement Park.
The entrance to Wonderland Amusement Park.

If you’ve been to the Badaling Great Wall, you may have noticed the abandoned park just off the side of the highway. Sitting about 20km outside of downtown Beijing, the park is located right off the main highway to Badaling.

To get to the park, you have two options:

If you are already visiting the Badaling Great Wall by taxi, you could simply ask them to stop and wait for you. The castle is located next to exit 36.

If you are coming from downtown Beijing, you can reach the castle by public transportation. First, take the subway to Nanshoa Station on the Changping Line. Then, after exiting from Exit B2, cross the street and take bus 870 to Chenzhuang (陈庄). The bus will pass the park on your right prior to getting off. When you disembark from the bus, simple follow the bus’ path back to the park.

Bus numbers 357, 376, 883, and 919 also stop at the same bus stop, offering you a few other options from the city.

(Update 5/21/13: Rumor has it that Wonderland has been torn down. It may be worth verifying before you go. If you have any definitive information, please let me know.)

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10 thoughts on “Wonderland: Beijing’s Abandoned Amusement Park”

  1. This is truly weird. You seem to have a real bent for finding things like this, but that’s great. My question is who was behind this big project? What role did the Chinese government have in it? Did they underwrite it financially ? Do you know?

    • As best I can tell, the project was being run by a private company, but it was both the government and the farmers that led to the increased price for the land.

  2. I love this – could totally see myself camping out for a week or two in an abandoned never finished castle. I can’t help but wonder how hard it must have been to give up the dream of the park…

    • Camping in it would be fun. I’m pretty sure that a farmer sleeps in there because I would see the top of a mosquito netting hanging inside the back part of the castle. I have no idea how he got up there though.

    • I believe that it’s closed, but since I only have one source, I haven’t said it definitively is.

      The trip up there on public transit doesn’t cost much other than time. So, it might be worth finding out for yourself, Shannon. If you go, please let me know what you find.

  3. Cool find! These are the type of random non-tourist spots that I like finding when I travel. Be a shame if it’s been torn down, albeit not much of a surprise. At least you got the chance to visit it — that’s more than the rest of us will ever be able to say 😉

  4. Sadly, this place was demolished. I just passed by the sight yesterday. There is an outlet mall there now. The last few years have seen a major push to modernize Beijing. Most hidden gems like these are being erased.


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