• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.
  • Hey Guest. Check out the NeoGAF 2.2 Update Thread for details on our new Giphy integration and other new features.

|OT| Social Community Urban Exploring Urbex GAF |OT| Boldly going where few men have gone before

nush

Member
Oct 16, 2017
10,052
25,841
845
A long haul flight from wherever you are.
Urban Exploring, often referred to as Urbex or UE is a hobby where you explore various man made buildings and sites, both abandoned and derelict or "Active" sites where you get in to areas not open to the public in order to document what can be seen there with photos or video to share with various other Urbexers. Ground rules are 1)No breaking or entering to gain access, if a door is locked don't break it down. If there's a gap in the fence then it's fair game. 2) Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints. No looting, graffiti, no smashing things up even if things are already smashed by someone else. Trespass laws vary by region and location, so take care and read up. But honestly, quite often if you're caught and not making trouble just telling the security that your a photographer (As you'll have a camera with you anyway) will just get you escorted off the site and a warning not to come back. Security is a low paid job, they don't want to do any more work then they have to and they only really care about squatters setting up, drug addicts or scrap metal merchants stripping places.

Safety

You should go prepared and do whatever research you can before visiting a site. It's best to make visits with an exploring partner who can help out if one of you gets in trouble, I'm experienced enough to do solo visits but DON'T if you are just learning. Basic safety equipment is a must, Fully charged phone, with an additional Powerbank if you're using that same phone for photos/video. Protective gloves, Strong footwear (Even then I've had broken glass or nails get jammed in the soles of my shoes), facemask (Abandoned places can be dusty or have Asbestos). Head mounted LED torch.


Where to go for Urban exploring?

There are two basic classifications of sites, active and abandoned. But you can also go up to rooftops, clocktowers or down to large drainage systems, mines or bomb shelters for urbex, these can also be active or abandoned.

Examples of Abandoned sites
This literally could be anything, from homes large and small, office buildings, malls, factories, theme parks, hotels to nightclubs. The site is no longer in use, waiting for renovation or demolition. You see them and just know they have been empty for a long time and are in a state of disrepair.

Examples of Active sites
This is any site that is still in use, possibly with active security and staff there. You'll encounter this with rooftopping (Getting on the top floor of high buildings), construction sites, Sports stadiums when there are no events being played, staff areas of commercial buildings like hotels and malls. High risk NOT recommended.

A sample of some of my explores


Mojave Desert Diner


Abandoned Theme Park


Abandoned Premium Lounge Hong Kong Airport


Abandoned Nightclub


Office building I used to work in (Active Renovation)


Rooftopping


Sports Stadium (Active)


Creepy as fuck building full of weird stuff

And many many more.



Resources





Recommended Youtube Channels

Broken Window Theory

The Proper People

This Is Dan Bell

I've been urban exploring since I was a kid, back then it was just "Going into empty buildings and messing around", once the internet became a thing I discovered there were adults that still liked to do this. Just take a camera and you're now an Urban Explorer! Which years too late I learned that I'd found the British Royal train in an engine shed (Wolverton Works Milton Keynes UK) and didn't know what it was, "Some murder on the Orient Express train" I called it. Had I known I would have 100% taken a shit on the queens toilet! The doors were old style metal handles with no locks as well. Digital cameras were not a thing then anyway.

Any other Urban explorers here on GAF or would you like to see and hear more?
 

VHSamurai

Member
Jan 10, 2021
155
295
395
This has always interested me but I’m too worried I’ll get stabbed by some random homeless dude (which is a distinct possibility given that I live in Los Angeles)

neat thread through, feel free to share more pics
 
Last edited:

nush

Member
Oct 16, 2017
10,052
25,841
845
A long haul flight from wherever you are.
This has always interested me but I’m too worried I’ll get stabbed by some random homeless dude

This is something that is a bigger worry than the actual reality. It comes down to selecting the location to explore, if it's easy access and in a commercial area then it's also easy and convenient for homeless people to get inside. To be honest they are possibly as afraid of you as you are of them, they just want to be left alone. If you think somebody may be in a building you are exploring just call out "Hello hello" so they know you are there and if they want to avoid you they have the chance and you won't surprise them if you walk into an area where they are staying. For me guard dogs are much more of a concern and a more common encounter.

I've only been to two sites that have had evidence of homeless people being there, I just move along and avoid where they are to leave them in peace. Again, exploring with at least two people is safer.
 

VHSamurai

Member
Jan 10, 2021
155
295
395
This is something that is a bigger worry than the actual reality. It comes down to selecting the location to explore, if it's easy access and in a commercial area then it's also easy and convenient for homeless people to get inside. To be honest they are possibly as afraid of you as you are of them, they just want to be left alone. If you think somebody may be in a building you are exploring just call out "Hello hello" so they know you are there and if they want to avoid you they have the chance and you won't surprise them if you walk into an area where they are staying. For me guard dogs are much more of a concern and a more common encounter.

I've only been to two sites that have had evidence of homeless people being there, I just move along and avoid where they are to leave them in peace. Again, exploring with at least two people is safer.
Violence committed by homeless people is pretty rampant in LA due to larger substance abuse and untreated mental health issues.

quick google search shows this article from 2019 which talks about the trend over the last few years: https://www.foxnews.com/us/homeless-attacks-california-local-leaders-blame

it’s only getting worse too. It’s covered fairly regularly on local radio and news stations. That and my nextdoor app’s feed is pretty crazy with reports from neighbors. I’ve witnessed it plenty firsthand, although I live right near downtown where the problem is especially bad.
 
Last edited:

nush

Member
Oct 16, 2017
10,052
25,841
845
A long haul flight from wherever you are.
Here's an exploration report of the Minghua Ship in Seaworld Shenzhen China. The ship has been a tourist attraction for many years and it's a landlocked ship that has been changed into a hotel bar and restaurant complex. It's one of the first places I visited in Shenzhen and the whole surrounding area has been renovated to include trendy bars and restaurants.

How the site looked in the mid 80's


How the site looks today (the ship hasn't been moved)


Detailed history of the ship

Short home movie (Silent) from 1966 when she was still a seafaring vessel

I'd say 90% of the ship is publicly accessible because of the bars and hotel. I wanted to know if there was more there of the history of the ship remaining. So I booked a room in the hotel there for the night as I'd never stayed there (Expensive tourist trap) and then in the evening I started to look around. Found an unlocked door marked "Not entry Staff only", and went through it. This is what I found.


Original corridors with cabin signage, handrails and wood paneling.


Original elevator (Non functioning)



Original marquetry artwork


Then I found access to the forecastle deck at the bow of the ship







This was my favorite find, this gold Eagle on the bow of the ship, you can't see it from anywhere else. I'm pretty confident that these pictures in the post are the only ones you'll find on the internet.

This is one of the great things for urban exploring, documenting history and sites that nobody else has or documenting them before they are destroyed forever. Also it's kind of exciting getting to places you're not supposed to be in without getting caught.
 
Last edited:

Peggies

Member
Jan 7, 2011
899
1,508
1,110
36
Vienna, Austria
Very very cool pictures and thread! Please keep posting.
I'm a bit of a scaredy cat myself (might be because of years of consuming horror movies lol) but maybe you can be my eyes 👀!
 
Last edited:

nush

Member
Oct 16, 2017
10,052
25,841
845
A long haul flight from wherever you are.
Very very cool pictures and thread! Please keep posting.
I'm a bit of a scaredy cat myself (might be because of years of consuming horror movies lol) but maybe you can be my eyes 👀!

You know in horror movies when the protagonist is walking around an empty house and a cat jumps out and screeches? Or they open a cupboard to find rats inside?

Both of those things have happened to me for real, and it shit the fuck out of me.
 
  • LOL
Reactions: Peggies

Peggies

Member
Jan 7, 2011
899
1,508
1,110
36
Vienna, Austria
You know in horror movies when the protagonist is walking around an empty house and a cat jumps out and screeches? Or they open a cupboard to find rats inside?

Both of those things have happened to me for real, and it shit the fuck out of me.
Animated GIF
 
  • LOL
Reactions: nush

nush

Member
Oct 16, 2017
10,052
25,841
845
A long haul flight from wherever you are.
This ones for you Peggies Peggies

The real house of horrors. These places don't only exist in movies as I found out when I discovered this disturbing place. It was weird on the outside and got even more scary the further I looked into it.







You walk up a set of steps to the entrance only to be met with the blind "Guard" dog. wooden floor soaked with oils from bones and and awful stale piss smell. As it was blind you could see it listening and smelling for you. So it was moving in a really weird way.



Oh look, it's the doorway to the Resident Evil mansion. Is it locked? No. Shall I go inside?



It was packed with weird pictures, light fittings and furniture. Very dark, very dusty.


Pants were shat when I saw this!




That darkness at the end. I'm NOT going down there, I could hear small things moving, maybe rats, maybe something not of this world.



This kitchen stank of rot, I didn't open the refrigerators. I've seen horror movies it's going to be full of human body parts wrapped in plastic. There was a bad smell already.

That's all there is, didn't want to stay too long or go too deep into the building. I think it was a former bar/nightclub and whoever owned it was using it to store fixtures and fittings brought from restaurants or hotels that were closed down. A very unusual explore for a random find as I was just walking around the town one afternoon.
 

Peggies

Member
Jan 7, 2011
899
1,508
1,110
36
Vienna, Austria
This ones for you Peggies Peggies

The real house of horrors. These places don't only exist in movies as I found out when I discovered this disturbing place. It was weird on the outside and got even more scary the further I looked into it.







You walk up a set of steps to the entrance only to be met with the blind "Guard" dog. wooden floor soaked with oils from bones and and awful stale piss smell. As it was blind you could see it listening and smelling for you. So it was moving in a really weird way.



Oh look, it's the doorway to the Resident Evil mansion. Is it locked? No. Shall I go inside?



It was packed with weird pictures, light fittings and furniture. Very dark, very dusty.


Pants were shat when I saw this!




That darkness at the end. I'm NOT going down there, I could hear small things moving, maybe rats, maybe something not of this world.



This kitchen stank of rot, I didn't open the refrigerators. I've seen horror movies it's going to be full of human body parts wrapped in plastic. There was a bad smell already.

That's all there is, didn't want to stay too long or go too deep into the building. I think it was a former bar/nightclub and whoever owned it was using it to store fixtures and fittings brought from restaurants or hotels that were closed down. A very unusual explore for a random find as I was just walking around the town one afternoon.
Bill Murray Applause GIF by MOODMAN

Man, that was great! Thank you so much!

The dog was really blind? Why does it say "Super Domain" over the entrance?
What's up with the scary creature of picture 6? Who do you think has been living there? Maybe some old silent movie actress who's gone mad.

So exciting!
 
  • Like
Reactions: nush

Peggies

Member
Jan 7, 2011
899
1,508
1,110
36
Vienna, Austria
Yes, it really was. I assume "Super Domain" was the name of the place when it was a bar. Scary wolf face is right up there with finding mannequins or clothes in a bundle that look like somebody is there, sleeping or dead.
Poor doggo but I appreciate his effort to make this even eerier.
I bet it was some kind of orgy place for mad rich people. So exciting.
Happy Jonah Hill GIF
 
  • LOL
Reactions: nush

nush

Member
Oct 16, 2017
10,052
25,841
845
A long haul flight from wherever you are.
Shenzhen International Airport - China

This original terminal building was closed in 2013 and sits empty while plans are being made on how to repurpose it. Ideas like an exhibition center have been suggested but nothing has been confirmed. I explored this in 2015 and the decay had already set in in some places. Although I think I could have gained access the risk was too great as airside was still active becuse they built a new terminal building and I didn't want to chance having guns pulled on me as a potential terrorist. So only externals and through-window shots were possible safely.

History

















This was a really busy airport and I'd flown from here many times, so surreal to see it completely empty now.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Peggies

Peggies

Member
Jan 7, 2011
899
1,508
1,110
36
Vienna, Austria
Shenzhen International Airport - China

This original terminal building was closed in 2013 and sits empty while plans are being made on how to repurpose it. Ideas like an exhibition center have been suggested but nothing has been confirmed. I explored this in 2015 and the decay had already set in in some places. Although I think I could have gained access the risk was too great as airside was still active becuse they built a new terminal building and I didn't want to chance having guns pulled on me as a potential terrorist. So only externals and through-window shots were possible safely.

History

















This was a really busy airport and I'd flown from here many times, so surreal to see it completely empty now.

Very nice again!
How do you get access to these places? Aren't there any kinds of cordons?
 

nush

Member
Oct 16, 2017
10,052
25,841
845
A long haul flight from wherever you are.
Farmers House on the Hill Guangdong

I could see this small house on the top of a hill but had no way to know if it was possible to get there. There was a footpath that went about 1/3 of the way up and follwed the hill horizontally from there. So I had to guess where I had to climb through the bushes to get there. I guessed right and after and exhausing walk I made it to the top. This is a temporary use farmers house, no electric or water and would have just been used during harvest and planting seasons. I'm guessing it was for Lychee fruit trees as they are commonly grown on hillsides in that part of China.



I can see it when zooming in with the camera, but can I get there?




Grave in front of the house.



Looks locked up, not much to see.



Looking through a hole in the door I see a way in!



Surprised to see someones English lesson scratched on the wall!



Way up to the 2nd floor



Not much up here either.



View from the top.
 

nush

Member
Oct 16, 2017
10,052
25,841
845
A long haul flight from wherever you are.
Here's an urban exploring report (Not mine) of how this hobby can take a wild unexpected turn.

Strap in GAF! It starts as a normal report and goes fucking places!

 

Fox Mulder

Member
Jul 1, 2009
18,693
2,274
1,100
Greensboro, NC
This has always interested me but I’m too worried I’ll get stabbed by some random homeless dude (which is a distinct possibility given that I live in Los Angeles)

neat thread through, feel free to share more pics

People that do this should be aware of risks and be safe. I remember laughing my ass off when Dan Bell got attacked by killer bees while going through an old restaurant. I believe he said he was completely unaware of risks like snakes and bees while walking around filming cool shit.
 

nush

Member
Oct 16, 2017
10,052
25,841
845
A long haul flight from wherever you are.
Rooftopping, Hotel Zhuhai China

I love the look and design of neon signs and the way they illuminate the area round them. It's a very different light compared to the LED signs that have all but replaced them which have a very sharp bright with no illumination. I was staying in the hotel so I took a chance to see if the roof was acessable by walking up the fire exit stairs. The door was unlocked so I got some great shots from behind the big neon sign they had on the top of the building and how it illuminated the rest of the roof.









Sadly neon signs have all but been replaced with newer cheaper, more reliable LED signs. I do have a collection of different neon signs photographed from street level if anyone wants to see those, even though technically they are not urban exploring photos. I tried to document as many as I could once I could see they were getting phased out.

Great website here covering Hong Kong's famous neon signs and a lot more information about neon sign history.