An amusement park was opened by the Burmese dictatorship in the former capital of Myanmar, Yangon, around 1997. Today, nature is reclaiming the site, but its unspoiled beauty draws many people interested in urban decay.
The country of Myanmar has often faced violent civil wars and military dictatorships. It seems that the military government hoped building a park in Yangon would help the country’s citizens forget the woes of life under tyranny.
Many things surrounding the amusement park are shrouded in mystery. Even its name is unknown and internet sources mostly refer to it as “Yangon Amusement Park.”
Prior to the official opening, state media described the attraction as a world-class amusement park with state-of-the-art rides and “a recreation center for the people.” It is known that several famous people from the Burmese government, as well as the Japanese ambassador, were present at the opening ceremony.
The amusement park is located just to the southwest of Yangon Zoo. Some considered it an extension of the zoo, but the two attractions were run separately. The attraction covered an area of ten acres and consisted of many different rides and entertainment venues.
Its claim to fame was that it had the first roller coaster in the whole country. Other rides included The Rocket, a Viking pirate ship, the UFO Cycle, a carousel, and bumper cars. There was even an arcade called “Happy Child World.”
In 2006, the government decided to change the capital of Myanmar from Yangon to Naypyidaw. In the same year, most of Yangon Zoo’s animals were transported to the new capital, 200 miles north of the city. Yangon Zoo remained operational, albeit with distinctly fewer animals.
However, although the zoo kept running, the park was closed in 2012 or 2013. The specific reason for the closure remains a mystery, with theories ranging from the owner allegedly being unable to renew the land lease agreement to fatalities in the park or that it was haunted.
So, despite its popularity, the amusement park was closed. There was no demolition and all the rides remained in their places.
Because residential properties are close by, the park is still used by children as an abandoned playground where their imaginations can run wild. Squatters can also be found in the surrounding buildings.
Despite years of abandonment, there are practically traces of vandalism in the park and it is free from graffiti. Everyone who explores this place does so purely to appreciate the visuals of urban decay.
Yangon Amusement Park swiftly became a popular destination for those new to urban exploration because it’s easy to enter, there’s little security, and most of the remaining infrastructure is made of steel so less chance of accidents caused by derelict buildings and rotten floorboards.
The company that founded and built the amusement park back in 1997 was liquidated four years after the park was closed. Their office building, near the entrance to the park, has also been closed permanently since 2016.
The property, including all the rides, came into the possession of the Yangon authorities. During its time of abandonment, the park has become covered with vines, grass, plants, and trees. Today, artificial structures are partially hidden by nature.
In 2017, there was talk that the government wanted to put up the land for sale at an auction, or possibly run a competition to choose the best project to restore or redevelop this attraction.
In November 2018, the park was put up for redevelopment, and there are suggestions that it might be razed and rebuilt. But nothing is certain yet, and the future of this forgotten attraction remains unknown.
These amazing images of the amusement park belong to Sean, who has kindly given us his permission to share them with our readers. Check out his beautiful Instagram page for more of his work. Prints of his photos are available, so feel free to get in touch with Sean if you’d like to purchase any of his photographs.