Goosebumps guaranteed: Five horror film locations across Asia

Whether you are a die-hard horror enthusiast or just looking for a unique and thrilling way to celebrate Halloween 2023, there's a hair-raising journey in store for you in Thailand and three other destinations

The Nation

The Nation



File photo of Phra That Bo Ong Pagoda in Kanchanaburi, Thailand. PHOTO: WANDERLUST THAILAND/ THE NATION

October 27, 2023

BANGKOK – Whether you are a die-hard horror enthusiast or just looking for a unique and thrilling way to celebrate Halloween 2023, Agoda has got a hair-raising journey in store for you domestically and in the top three of Thailand’s most popular international destinations.

From an abandoned island in Japan (#1) to an eerie pagoda in Thailand, get ready to scream! South Korea (#2) and Hong Kong (#3), also offer their own chilling destinations that will send shivers down your spine.

Phra That Bo Ong Pagoda – Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Hoon Payon – Five Star Production, 2023

In the movie Hoon Payon, the plot centres around a young guy named Tham, who journeys to a remote village in Thailand where his brother, a young Buddhist monk, was killed after being accused of murder and theft. As Tham investigates his brother’s death, tragedies befall the village, and he begins to doubt the villagers’ blind faith in a supposedly protective statue called ‘Pho Pu Sing Tham’

Apart from its intriguing plot, one of the movie’s filming locations, Phra That Bo Ong Pagoda, comes with a peculiar story. The pagoda is situated in a small floating village in the middle of Vajiralongkorn Dam – accessible only by boat. Built on a small mountain surrounded by a vast pond, there is a wooden bridge connecting the mountain and the land. According to local beliefs, women are forbidden from crossing the bridge to the pagoda because, once upon a time, someone violated this prohibition, causing the pond to dry up shortly thereafter. It is believed that anyone disregarding this prohibition would face terrible consequences.

Phothisat Cave – Loei, Thailand

The Medium – GDH and Showbox, 2021

‘The Medium’ narrates the tale of a family in Thailand’s northeastern region, tracing their lineage to the spirit medium “Ba Yan” for generations. Nim, the current shaman, suspects that something is amiss with Mink, the family’s sole niece, and believed to be the next medium. Later, Mink exhibits disturbing behavior, and the family must deal with menacing spirits terrorising them.

The Medium’ offers a whirlwind tour of some of Thailand’s natural wonders, including Phothisat Cave in Loei province. The cave is part of Tham Phra Phothisat Temple, and the film crew received permission to use the area for filming. A 900-meter natural trail winds through the area, featuring both larger and smaller caves to explore. However, exercise caution, as there are numerous narrow, intricate paths and imposing tree roots. Also, there’s no electricity, adding to the eerie ambience. Despite these challenges, the caves showcase stunning stalagmites and stalactites that entice visitors to get up close for photographs.

Hashima Island – Nagasaki, Japan

Hashima Project – M39, 2013

Set on an abandoned island, the Hashima Project follows a group of five students who accepted an offer from a producer to go to Hashima Island and capture paranormal encounters on film. Despite being warned by locals about terrifying curses and spirits that haunted the place, the group decided to proceed with their mission. Later, they all encounter what the locals had warned them about and struggle to find a way to stay alive.

Widely known as one of the most haunted places in the world, the filming crew was granted permission by the governor of Nagasaki to access the island, including the eerie abandoned buildings, for filming. From 1930 until shortly after World War II, prisoners and immigrants were transported to the island and forced into labor. They endured dreadful conditions while painfully working on Japan’s ambitious coal mining projects. Nicknamed ‘Hell Island,’ it is believed that approximately 1,000 workers perished on Gunkanjima due to hazardous working conditions, malnutrition and extreme exhaustion.

Han River – Seoul, South Korea

The Host – Chungeorahm Films, 2006

This Korean horror film The Host revolves around an ominous creature that emerges from Seoul’s Han River, preying on unsuspecting people. The creature’s origins trace back to several years prior when American military personnel carelessly disposed of chemicals into the river, unintentionally giving birth to this monster, which now haunts and feeds on the terrified locals. When the creature kidnaps a vendor’s daughter, the family realises that they are the only hope for her rescue.

Although the area surrounding the Han River with its beautiful parks and artistic sculptures is far from spooky, it does include a sculpture of the monster from the movie situated between Mapo and Wonhyo Bridges. When you are there, it is easy to imagine the monster springing out from the river. The movie producer once claimed that he witnessed a strange creature swimming in the river near a bridge. This intriguing experience inspired him to produce the movie. Additionally, there are several activities for both locals and tourists to enjoy throughout the year, such as skateboarding, biking, and water skiing.

Tat Tak School – Ping Shan, Hong Kong

The Haunted School – Star TV Filmed Entertainment Limited, 2007

Based on the decrepit Tat Tak School, the movie’s plot involves four male students who gain admission to a strict girls’ boarding school. Local legends claim that the school is haunted, and students who violate its rules are summoned to the principal’s office, only to mysteriously vanish or be discovered dead. When new students fell in love with a group of friends at a secret party, their romance reawakens the curse, subjecting them to deadly punishment by the vengeful spirit of a former dean who was burned to death.

Tat Tak School, nestled in the residential area of Ping Shan, Hong Kong, boasts a rich history. It operated smoothly since 1974, but in 1998, it abruptly closed its doors. Rumours circulated that the schoolmistress had taken her own life, leaving behind a lingering red-clothed spirit. This spirit has been linked to numerous paranormal sightings in the area over the years. The village where the school is situated carries a tragic history as well, with many villagers meeting a gruesome end during the Japanese occupation in 1941, their graves adorning the hillside next to the school. Today, the school remains locked and off-limits to the public, yet some horror enthusiasts still go into the surrounding areas to explore.

Whether you are yearning for a thrilling group vacation, a ‘soul-searching’ journey or a ‘soul awakening’ adventure, Agoda is your one-stop destination for all things travel. With over 3.9 million holiday properties, over 130,000 flight routes and a wide range of enticing activities globally – all at a great deal – Agoda is dedicated to enabling travellers worldwide to see the world for less.

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