(Thank you to a couple of comment writers below! The site has changed a lot from my visit in 2015. The main building is bare shell now with no furniture inside. Thank you Stephen for the extra info about its use as a production house. I have added details.)
I get a ton of questions about this place so I thought I should write about it fairly early on. Just north of Xizhi are a pair of large buildings that at first glance look like an office building or some industrial facility.
When I first wrote this entry I had no idea but recently I learned of at least one use of this building. It was used as a filming location for the popular drama series Meteor Garden, which was released between 2000 - 2002. Thanks to Wes, who pointed out where it appears in the series, I've been able to correlate some photos.
It looks as though the building was built in the late 90's. I now know why the faux-luxury furnishings were left there, and why they seemed so cheap and tacky. They're all movie props! It still feels like a hotel with many individual rooms and suites, so it's possible this was an intended use at some-point. However these could just have been for cast members. I only know that it was used for Meteor Garden. It would be strange to build it for just one show, and it doesn't feature that heavily, so there must have been some other uses planned. At the southern end is a huge two level apartment which seems more complete than the others. This was the main characters' home in the series and it appears in a lot of shots.
One of the things I like about exploring these places is trying to piece together the stories of what happened there and who was involved. It's been great to finally know some answers. The fifth and sixth levels are unfinished with some building materials still in place. There are some large rooms that are several floors tall. I now realize these were studios and the materials were used for constructing sets. It's still a mystery to me why it was abandoned though. The building is in the middle of the mountains and seems totally out of place, so I wouldn't be surprised if it was a no go on environmental grounds. I heard after we visited that a murder had taken place here. A friend's wedding photographer wouldn't enter because of this. So that could possibly be why nothing has happened here as Taiwanese are generally fearful of ghosts.
It was very interesting to explore and in 2015 many of the furnishings were still in place giving it a recently deserted feel. There was a lot weathered and broken furniture and nature was taking over parts, but the damage was not extensive. There were even a couple of chandeliers hanging. The floor of the ballroom had been damaged by water and had a strange undulating effect. Where mirrors had fallen there were beautiful rivulet patterns on the walls behind. It's not often you find a place that so perfectly looks like humanity vanished in the late 90's and I loved wondering around here. The building is huge and I've only posted a fraction of it here.
The building was easy to access and no attempt had been made to guard or secure it. There were a couple of other people checking it out on the same day. The second smaller building was totally empty and not interesting.
Meteor Garden itself was a hugely popular show. The house was used by the main character who is young and very rich. He's also arrogant and seems to think he can win over the woman of his dreams with his money. They fall in love, out again, in again... It's been a bizarre feeling seeing the place on a TV show: Happiness at seeing places the I'd been in another existence, tempered with a sadness that it all went to ruin. The more clips I've watched the more the people in it feel a little real, even though it looks a little corny through modern eyes. I get a lot of people from the Philippines viewing this entry (hi guys :-) I love Cebu) so I’m guessing the show is quite popular there.
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