When I was little, my favorite book was called The Boxcar Children. In it, a group of four orphaned siblings find an old boxcar in a forest and make it their home. The story captivated me in ways I never imagined and it felt like a call to action for seven year old me to leave my golden cage of My Little Pony bedsheets and return to the forest, return to the time when I was a forager, a hunter. To a time when I was wild.

I didn't want to become an orphan, but the idea of independence and discovering a lost structure and making it my own thrilled me. After I finished the book, I looked for any excuse to storm off in to the woods by our house. I even went so far as to have my Teddy Ruxpin and green blanket I had since birth on standby and ready to go in the heat of the moment. I always imagined going out in a blaze of glory and daydreamed about my final speech, "That's it! Me and Teddy are going to go eat cherries off the tree and cool our milk bottles in a waterfall like the Boxcar kids!"  My mom had no idea how close she was to pushing me over the edge as I was one chore too many away from becoming the resourceful, feral child I thought myself to be.

“But especially he loved to run in the dim twilight of the summer midnights, listening to the subdued and sleepy murmurs of the forest, reading signs and sounds as a man may read a book, and seeking for the mysterious something that called -- called, waking or sleeping, at all times, for him to come.” 
― Jack LondonThe Call of the Wild

I never did return to the forest. But this was the beginning of my love affair for everything forgotten and then rediscovered. 

Here in Thailand, I'm able to indulge in my childhood fantasies again as the entire country is continually under construction which means that if something goes belly up, there's no real hurry to tear it down (unless it goes viral like our last abandoned excursion!) as all resources are diverted elsewhere. Plus, the general attitude of Thailand is that if you get hurt because you do something stupid then its your own damn fault so there's no real breaking and entering involved, you just walk right up to it and there it is! No one is going to protect you from yourself, and I love that about this place.

So, with a healthy dose of personal responsibility, we trek in to an abandoned hotel to explore this deserted wonderland.

Massively overgrown. Wonder how long it's been here? What it's name was? What's it's story?

We find a path in the weeds and follow it to get to the main lobby.


First look! We can see empty elevator shafts and evidence of a bonfire. We head towards the back of the building instead of going up right way.

Kitty skull :( Hope he died of old age.

A pool! It was a really hot day, but we didn't bring any swim wear or else we would've jumped right in! /sarcasm

From the back side of the hotel, we can see that there are now two ways to reach each floor. 1. The stairs inside 2. The motorbike ramp! We start to ascend using a combination of both...

These are our friends Josh and Shannon (she's a travel writer extraordinaire at : http://livesabroad.com/ ) and they're a big part of our life here in Chiang Mai. You'll be seeing them a lot as reoccurring characters as the 4 of us have tons in common and it's always a good time when we're together.


The hallways were long and always darkest at the furthest end. Moments after this picture was taken, a big brown bat squeaked by our heads and headed towards the darkness of the elevator shaft. I like to imagine he was our bellhop saying, "Breakfast starts at 6am!" 

This way to the Bat cave!


Each room received the sledge hammer treatment and there was very little furniture. Mostly just drywall and tiles in tiny pieces. It's Josh's theory that this hotel was never opened as there were no signs of toilets being destroyed and the walls looked like they weren't painted yet. Good theory! Use you own CSI/Sherlock skills and tell me what you think.

The Fry is a Lie.


Really great art found here, but this was my favorite. Someone got 3D with it and made this!

Intended view, very clever.

Signs of life. Wonder if they read The Boxcar Children too? Oh, and notice the spoon and baggie? In the states those are tell-tale signs of a junkie hang-out, but in this case, the baggie was full of chip crumbs and that's a soup spoon. The only signs of cooking we found here was the cooking of food.


Watch your step! Each floor had open pits of doom - but we had fun with it. 


Some artists are more talented then others.

Josh has been in to Urban Exploration forever and leads the pack.

The higher we go, the bigger the room and the better the view of the city. It was beautiful! Wonder what this would've cost each night? 

We follow the sun and head towards the fire escape...


Welcome to the top! The views were incredible and the artwork was funky. My favorite combination!

"Charlie, Charlie, are you there?"

Thai's believe in ghosts (lots of different ghosts!) and it's a big part of their everyday lives as they make daily offerings for spirits and you can't go anywhere in this country without seeing a spirit house. I mention this because "Charley/Charlie" graffiti was everywhere in this hotel. Shannon (who is also an English teacher) said that her students play a game called "Charlie Charlie" where they create an Oiuji board out of pencils and ask a little Mexican ghost named Charlie yes or no questions. Not sure if someone was trying to summon Charlie or if this was just a tag name, but it's always fun to lurk in abandoned buildings as the walls are a blank slate where locals can express their cultural reality. Oh, and if I had to choose a favorite ghost, I choose Krasue (กระสือ) as she's just a head with her internal organs hanging down from her neck as seen in this Thai commercial for lightbulbs. 


This is what we were waiting for...

What is inside that blue dome?

It was completely trashed up here, and someone even started a fire! But somehow the mirrored ceiling was still intact! This is when we started to realize this place is much older than we originally thought. There was blue carpet and the bar and color scheme looked very dated and trapped in time. Maybe even from the 70's?

A sad bar just behind this gray, lace curtain -  just like at Grandma's house!

One last look at Floor 13 before we get lost in the sunset.


We planned our visit so that we could watch the sun go down from rooftop. This turned out to be a great decision. A really great decision.

As the sun went behind the mountain, we headed back down the ramp and took one last look at our hotel.

Take only pictures and leave only footprints. Today was a great exploration day.


What I imagine the basement looks like -  photo courtesy of The Blair Witch Project

Oh, did I forget to mention that this place has a basement?!? We ran out of light this time, but we'll be back...


Thanks for exploring with us!