Wars, natural disasters, sudden deaths and ancient mysteries are commonly believed to create haunted places. Places were tragedy often struck, and saw human nature at its worse. There are thousands of places throughout South-East Asia, which could be classed as haunted, but these are just a few of them.
1. Phnom Pehn, (City of Ghosts) Cambodia
Phnom Penh fell to the Khmer Rouge in the mid 1970’s, signaling the first ending of the Indochina war in Cambodia. The city was ‚evacuated,“ after the Khmer Rouge took control, and became a killing ground, where thousands were executed or left to die as the city emptied,. Many of those who were „evacuated“ died in the four year genocide, and many Asians name Phnom Penh as the tragic „City of Ghosts.“
2. Plain of Jars- Laos
A vast, mysterious plain in this little known country has huge ancient jars buried into the earth, and no one knows Why?. On eerie, misty evenings residents and visitors in this area, often hear strange sounds, and rarely dare to venture onto the plain.
The plain itself is the scene of thousands of years of ancient battles, whilst during the Indochina War, the plain of jars was heavily bombed by the US air force, and yet none of the jars were ever damaged, adding further fuel to the mystery of the area. Where many say the lost legends of ghost armies, and fallen pilots frequent the area at night.
3. Gedung Lawang Sewu (The house with a thousand doors)– Semarang, Indonesia
The old port City of Semarang, is split into two parts. The old Dutch quarter, and the new city after Independence. Gedung Lawang Sewu, still dominates the central part of this bustling trading city, and is reputed to be haunted. In English the building is called the „house with a thousand doors,“ and is the most tragic of buildings.
The former headquarters of the Dutch East Indies railway Company was turned into a gruesome interrogation center by the Japanese secret police in 1942. Thousands of Indonesians and Dutch, were tortured to death by the Kempeitai, and today few people dare to venture near the building after dark. Currently the building is being renovated, and is a museum.
4. Tunnels of Vietnam
During the Vietnam war, underground tunnels were constructed by the liberation armies of North Vietnam. These tunnels often were the scene of the most tragic chapters of the war, were US carpet bombings of the areas killed thousands, and savage hand to hand fighting created the grisly legend of the tunnels. The spirits of the fallen are said to frequent these tunnels and the surrounding areas- and many were not even soldiers.
5. Old Kota,(Old City) Jakarta- Indonesia
Old Kota, is the former colonial area of the vast mega city of Jakarta, with crumbling usually abandoned Dutch style buildings, and eerily empty streets late at night. Some say the spirits of the former Dutch colonials return at night, others the ghosts of those who died during the Japanese occupation during World War Two. Newer Ghosts could be the returning victims of the areas riots of 1998. Few people still choose to live in old kota, despite the recent beautification of the area.
Many places which are reputed to be haunted can be easily visited, if you are in South-East Asia. The most inaccessible is the Plain of Jars in Laos, because of the plains remote location, but the other locations are much easier to visit. Old Kota is in the center of the city, so is Gedung Lawang Sewu. Phnom Penh is a growing popular tourist destination, whilst the tunnels of Vietnam are a popular place to visit for both local Vietnamese, and visitors.