Photo Essay: Taman Festival - Abandoned Theme Park in Bali

Author: Martynas Charevicius

The abandoned Taman Festival park in Bali is an eerie yet fascinating place. Costing an incredible $100 million to build, the park had a 3D cinema, the largest swimming pool, impressive roller coasters, a faux volcano, a crocodile pit, and the most modern laser equipment. It was opened around 1998 but closed soon after in 2000 or 2001, and was abandoned for various reasons. The crocodiles were left in the park to fend for themselves. Supposedly, the locals fed them live chickens for a while until, eventually, the crocs resorted to cannibalism.

Local people avoid this place. They believe there are roaming spirits, so they never go in and are always curious why a random traveler would want to visit it. Slowly, year after year, the park became an open gallery of graffiti artworks, and nature reclaims the place. Vines and weeds twist around the decrepit structures and statues. Some areas are completely closed off by thick foliage.

What’s more interesting is that graffiti art is constantly changing — artists paint new art over old ones, and the place keeps changing its face over the years. It is highly possible that the graffiti I captured will not be seen anymore in a few years. It’s like a constantly changing gallery where nature’s unavoidable power hides the past, and artists paint over and over again for future visitors.

As a photographer, I was excited to explore the park and capture its beauty using an infrared camera. It allowed me to capture the eerie beauty of the place in a unique and striking way. Despite the neglect and decay, the park still holds a certain charm. Walking here in the daytime is a peaceful journey and, since the area is so big, you can be lured to spend hours here. The infrared camera allowed me to see beyond the visible spectrum and reveal the hidden details and textures of the place. The resulting images were haunting but also evocative. Ultimately, my visit to the abandoned Taman Festival park in Bali was a surreal and unforgettable experience.

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