Yongma Land: The Abandoned Amusement Park in Seoul
Yongma Land (용마랜드) is a small failed amusement park in northeastern Seoul that has become popular with photographers and photo-op seeking teenagers in recent years.
The abandoned amusement area offers some of the standard rides like the iconic carousel and the “Viking” as well as a mini train that is now covered in vines. I headed there recently with a group of awesome women and we had a blast using the park for some super photo fun.
Check out my photos, some tips for getting there yourself and what to bring and some info on the dilapidated site.
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Having visited the Gaya Land abandoned amusement park down south in Gimhae, Korea, my expectations were pretty high for this abandoned lot. That’s not to say that Yongma is a let down. BUT, Gaya Land is a larger complex and offers more in the way of rides from bumper cars to a HUGE iconic Ferris Wheel and that park is actually abandoned with dogs barking at you to go away… doesn’t mean we did though. Head to Yongma for some awesome photos, but keep Gaya Land in the back of your mind for another cool abandoned site to visit if you’re headed down south at all.
Yongma’s hey-day was back in the 80s and it was abandoned for some time to be sure however, with the recent onslaught of interest in nostalgic aesthetic photos and dystopian environments, it is anything but abandoned these days.
Sure, the rides have rusted a bit and some of the plants have been allowed to take over, but there’s a manager collecting a W5,000 fee at the gate and so many people meandering around that it’s clear it’s a lot of cool photo-ops now but not really being left to the environment. What abandoned site do you know of that has a manager? The Yongma Studio in one building is also new and clean and is a sure sign the park will likely not be abandoned again for some time because it’s just too cool for school. The studio isn’t open to just anyone though. It was locked up tight when we visited so if you’re interested in going inside to more a pristine studio while on the site, you’ll have to talk to the manager about that.
This and other parks that were small and set up in more difficult places to get to all went out of business back in the 80s after Lotte World opened in 1989 and the humble neighborhood play areas were left to disarray. When I say more difficult, I mean, Yongma Land is up a hillside and not right outside of a subway station so keep that in mind. There’s a bit if a walk. The dilapidated scenes make perfect backdrops for fun photos with friends but also for video productions and professional photo shoots as well so don’t be surprised if you rock up and see some recognizable faces. Singer IU, and Crayon Pop’s music video for “Bar Bar Bar” both utilized the Yongma for their own videos.
Wouldn’t it be cool to stage a scene straight out of one of their flicks?
Another sign that the park hasn’t gone completely to the wolves is that the lights still work. If you stay into the evening, the manager collecting fees will turn on the lights and the merry-go-round will dazzle as the sun sets. Be sure to ask if you want to see the lights. The manager is known to turn them on for free but might also request a W25,000 electric bill fee. If he asks for the fee, just round up the other photographers and go in on it together. It’d be worth it.
Tips & Tricks:
- While you CAN walk from Mangu Station (10-15 minutes), I’d recommend just hopping in a taxi for W3,000 because it’s easier than trekking up. I probably wouldn’t have minded the walk in autumn or spring though. What with visiting in the humid summer though, we enjoyed that taxi ride. (BE AWARE: Many taxi drivers do NOT know about Yongma Land because it is technically closed. They may try to tell you it is not open, which is true, but be persistent and kind and they’ll get you there.)
- Take a change of clothes if you want to go all out photo-op fun. There are places you can skedaddle behind and into to change it up a bit.
- Take a tripod because it just makes everything that much easier.
- Take friends because it’s way more fun… just look at these pics!
- Take CASH to pay the manager at the gate.
- The manager did have water, balloons with helium and some other props on hand that could be purchased for minimal fees so see what he has.
Hope everyone that heads there has as much fun as we did! Get out, get about and smile along the way.
Know Where To Go!