Rich people's failures make great photography.
The bold architecture of these houses was meant to lure residents and tourists to Taiwan's north coast, an area that seemed perfect for resorts and family trips. But problems such as weather and economic slumps plagued this area and its development. So like many projects and dreams on Taiwan's north coast, these houses rot in the sun and humidity.
The WanLi UFO houses have been popular among photographers for quite some time. This is precisely why I didn't really bother visiting. What value could I possibly add with my shots and commentary?
But on the invite of Twitch streamer Tinteex, I finally decided to head out and see the village for myself.
The houses were pretty much what I expected. My main goal here was to not take boring shots that simply documented the place, but to also not take cliche shots that I've seen on Instagram a million times.
The lightning was less than ideal given that we were on the beach at noon, but I still managed to find some soft light draping some of the houses over by the trees. The weather we experienced that day made it quite clear why nobody wanted to live here though.
If you don't know who Tinteex is, he's a Twitch streamer from Germany who does a lot of exploration and travel in Taiwan. He basically goes live for 6-8 hours per day taking his audience all sort of places in Taiwan. His content is family friendly and he's one of the only people in the world doing this type of content in German.
This is pretty much the only bit we got to explore inside of the houses. Shortly after we arrived some random guy started patrolling the street telling us we have to stay outside, which was fine.
I was more interested in capturing the houses from the outside anyway.
Taiwan is full of interesting abandoned places like this, but more and more I see businesses and the government trying to block off these places. Obviously it's the legally responsible thing to do, but it's also unfortunate that so many stories will be lost in the process, not to mention the reason many photographers visit in the first place.
But with rumors that these buildings could be demolished at anytime, I was just grateful that I finally saw them in person.
If you're in Taiwan I recommend visiting here before the rules here get more strict or it's demolished forever.
For the best photos I recommend visiting early in the morning to catch the sunlight on the houses. You may notices from my photos here I had to do a lot of compensation for bad natural lighting. However it also rains a lot here so you could get lucky with diffused lighting in the later afternoon.
📍 Find this place on Google Maps.
👍 Thanks to Tinteex for finally getting me out here.