Out And About In Korea – Guemgangland, photographing a defunct amusement park.
On one of my trips back to Seoul (before it became a Covid-19 hotspot), I visited and blogged a photography trip I made to Yongmaland, a closed amusement park turned photostudio , which has its outdoor rides open to amateur photographers for cosplay, or urban exploration. I stumbled upon a similar closed park in Gunsan near the Migratory Bird Observatory and Gumegang River Park, and have gone back several times over the past year and half to experiment with different photo ideas.
Ghost stories and legends always surround these parks, tails of poor management and maintenance resulting in the untimely demise of their guests, but usually it is due to the parks falling out of favor with the more popular commercial attractions such as Lotte World and Everland. Seoul is only 2 hours and 15 minutes away by KTX, so families are more apt to take their children to the larger parks vs the local community parks.
A look at Guemgangland from the bike trail.
Walking into the park, a look at the ticket booths.
Our first view of the park. One of the Viking rides, and a children’s play area, which I nicknamed, “Measurement land.” A large compass, protractor (Which if it had started from 0 would have made a great inclinometer.), and a sundial.
We also have our obligatory climbing statues, some of them pretty bizarre looking.
And at night lit by small flashlight
At times you would might be mistaken into thinking that with a little work the park might have a chance to be reopened, until you take a closer look and realize just how much the rides and equipment have been neglected.
The park definitely had a hodgepodge of rides, with no central theme. Here is spinning spaceship type ride.
Which looks really cool at night!
More equipment that was just left to the elements.
The park also featured 2 Viking ship rides.
The Dragon Viking, seen here.
The larger, classic swinging ship ride, also called Viking.
The artwork of the Viking is really cool, and I had to go back at night and try and get a light painting picture of it. Which turned out so well, it distracted me from actually taking in the full picture, which I think is even more cool.
Other Rides include the Tagada Disco.
This is the only ride I decided to put myself in. It was not chained, and I did not feel I could do any damage by sitting in one of the cars.. Be sure to check for things like spiders!
The ride attendants chair was cool! It was an actual seat from a car affixed to the base of an office chair.
The other rides include The Swinger, Lower Right. The Space Station, and Disneyland knockoffs such as the Tea Cups, a ride that included Disney characters, and a winter sledding hill.
I have really enjoyed photographing Geumgangland, It has given me the opportunity to get more experience using lenses I do not use that often, such as the Rokinon 14mm, and experiment with new photographic techniques such like long exposure and light painting. This blog was the combination of 4 different trips to the park, and I imagine I will be back with new ideas.
I have never had any issues with being in the park, if you go to Geumgangland for photography, please be respectful by not climbing on the rides, entering building, etc.
How to get there.
If you are coming from outside Gunsan, The best way is by train, it is about a 35 min walk from Gunsan Station.
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