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Camping on the Sly in a Deserted Military Base in Taiwan

Find out what happened when I camped out in a decommissioned Taiwanese military base.


I was looking for a place to sleep. My pack was on my back, I was far off on the northeastern coast of Kinmen Island, the only “anywhere” around was a small, mostly deserted village called Pubian. I hitched a ride out there after heading into the nearest town for some triangle rice things for dinner and a six pack of Busch. I walked out to the beach, thinking that I could set up my tent on the soft sand and dream soothing vagabond dreams through the night. Though when I got to the beach my mouth said, “dammit,” and my diaphragm followed that up with an exasperated laugh.

The beach had been soured long ago.

The soft sand proved to be serving no other function than providing a solid anchoring point for hundreds of gigantic, waist high concrete pillars — palisades to prevent boats of ill omen from landing. It was a leftover military installation designed to stave off marauding communist troops in another era. This was Kinmen after all — a place that was once a gigantic military base and, from time to time, a war zone.

I still needed a place to sleep, and it wasn’t going to be on that beach. I looked to my right. There was a temple and a military base that still had a flag on top of it. Though I highly doubted that any soldiers were going to hassle me — a foreigner setting up a tent in this part of Kinmen would be far more odd and intriguing than suspicious — I still didn’t want the attention. To be clear, being found out and expelled means you’ve lost the game of camping on the sly.

I wanted a place that would be quiet, comfortable, beautiful — a place that nobody else would ever bother going. I walked down the coast for around five hundred meters and saw what I was looking for directly in front of me:

A decommissioned military base.

Watch the above video to find out what happened.

Taiwan deserted military base Kinmen
Filed under: Camping, Kinmen, Vagabond Videos

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3548 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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