Welcome back to part two of the 택시운전사 Hospital Tour! Today I will take you to the Nam Gwang Hospital which was featured in the Korean movie A Taxi Driver and was owned by jailed businessman Lee Hong-ha. Since I first laid eyes on the Red Cross Hospital had long been on my list of most desired explorations. With a giant wall to scale and its location in a high-traffic area, The Red Cross Hospital seemed out of reach for Mr. Urbexpat and I. One day, with nothing left to lose, we found the most obvious entry point hidden in plain sight. The biggest “Duh” moment in urbex history. Another urban exploration lesson learned: Never stop searching for an entry point.
Perhaps, Mr. Urbexpat felt the same way with the Nam Gwang Hospital. He had tried to explore in shortly after it closed in 2012/13, encountering a friendly security guard and his wife who offered to show him the Koi pond. It was only recently, he remembered to revisit the hospital. It happened to coincide with my weekend visit down south to Gwangju. Mr. Urbexpat picked me up in his car from the train station, as we drove off, he asked:
“Hey, do you want to go check out a hospital?”
Hell Yeah! Hospitals and schools always top on my list of explorations. He proceeded to tell me about his dream about the place the night before and his previous effort to access the hospital. The human subconscious is a mysterious thing. I won’t even try to comprehend its workings but will appreciate that it inspired my friend to visit Nam Gwang hospital that weekend in July.
Here are some photos I found from Street View when Nam Gwang was still a functioning hospital in 2012.
To connect it back to 택시운전사, here are two stills from the scene they put in the movie. Production might have shot in other parts, but this was the only scene in the final cut. The movie scene was early in the film and is portraying a Seoul hospital.
We took a conservative way in. We didn’t know if a guard and his wife still resided over the property. Our scouting location was sketchy but provided a great view of the hospital and the surrounding area.
It’s a vast place. It was already past 2pm when we got inside the building. There was no way we could see the whole site in a couple hours, yet we tried our damnedest. I had never been in an abandoned hospital with so much equipment left inside in its original space. There was an effort in the Red Cross Hospital to consolidate unused goods into giant piles. At Nam Gwang, rooms were left in their original state. After about four hours, Mr. Urbexpat and I knew we had to return the next day. At four hours, we had just reached the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
As dusk was setting in, we picked up the pace but realized we needed to come back the next day for round two. We went outside to get more external shots. It was here where we saw not one abandoned ambulance, but three. We also found a shuttle bus and hospital bus. Even though it was getting late, we kept forging ahead. At the old MRI room, we came across something so momentous, another day was needed to document the place. So I will leave you with some external photographs. I hope you will join us on day two of our adventure.
Stay tuned for more!