It’s dirty, dangerous and tetanus is surely lurking, but the Ghost Tower is quickly conquering the hearts of urban explorers seeking the strange, less trod corners of the Big Mango. Here’s a cheat sheet on everything you need to know.
1. Originally named the Sathorn Unique Condominium, it was originally designed to house the city’s most luxurious apartments.
Prominent Thai architect Rangan Torsuwan had epic dreams for Sathorn Unique. Construction began in 1990 with plans to build 49 luxurious stories boasting some of the finest views of Bangkok. But, then came a curious twist and a stroke of bad luck…
2. Its architect was arrested for attempted murder.
In 1993, Torsuwan was arrested for allegedly plotting to murder the President of the Supreme Court. Though no actual assassination attempt was made, he was found guilty in 2008 (though later acquitted in 2010).
3. Construction started…but was never completed.
The Sathorn Unique is a 49-story building, located in downtown Bangkok, built in 1990. At 80% construction, it was abandoned in 1997 and never completed. Locals insist, the skyscraper is haunted and call it the "Ghost Tower". You can still climb the tower of you bribe some junkees that live on the ground floor, but I didn't. 49 floors in 30°C temperature and 90% humidity seemed impossible to me. I also heard there are ghosts living on the 25th floor, so…nope. 😑 #BangkokStories
A photo posted by ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀Julia Bespala (@to_be_in_vogue) on
Financially crippled by the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, Torsuwan’s company halted construction of Sathorn tower and was never able to resume building, leaving the massive structure abandoned and only 80% completed.
4. It’s set on an ancient burial ground.
OK, so this one’s not a verified fact. But rumours persist, and when mixed in a slew of local superstitions and folklore, it all adds to the building’s haunted character.
5. In 2014, the body of a Swedish backpacker was found hanging within.
Adding to the above rumours, the body of a backpacker was found in 2014. Left undiscovered for weeks, the body was so badly decomposed that his identity could only be confirmed using DNA verification. The death was ruled a suicide.
6. You can now climb it for just THB500.
A caretaker lets visitors up the building’s 49 flights of stairs for this small fee. It’s open from 2-8pm each day.
7. It is terrifyingly unsafe.
Bits of expired sunlight stream into the Ghost Tower through gaping, open balconies. Only thin air separates the unfinished rooms from a terrifying drop to the street below.
8. It’s now completely uncared for.
A photo posted by Taru Kauppila (@tarukauppila) on
Rainwater has collected in the half moon patios, springing forth mold and moss; signs of colorful life among the neo-Grecian remnants. Rumour has it that its owners are still asking US$60 million for the building.
9. It’s a graffiti artist’s paradise.
A photo posted by Sammy (@rudeboibkk) on
It is incredibly eerie, with spooky graffiti blanketing walls and sinister messages scrawled in every nook and cranny, mocking you. You stop and think someone is watching you, then continue on your journey to the top of the world.
10. It still features some of Bangkok’s best views.
| 🎉🌃 Bangkok by the Night 🌉🎉 | Got this shot from the building famously known as the #ghosttower on my second visit there. I had been living in this area for almost all my life and not once had I come to this gem of a place. A #perfect #evening? Start heading to the 49th floor after somehow finding a new way in every time by 5-6. Sprint to the top occasionally stopping to see who's winning the race between you going up and the sun going down, steal a glance of the #city for the #view only gets better as you go higher. Some leg stretching and jumping gets you fairly high and if you're feeling extra #adventurous then going an extra frightening unbuilt 'floor' up by clenching onto the half orphaned steel bars. Popping a drink celebrating your victory over the sun. Dropping your legs freely as you watch the #sunset , boats moving in the busy river, miniature cars and lilliputians running around. The only time traffic is actually good as it lights up the roads more. Oh how perfect. Unfortunately the owner has now decided to completely close it off and go as far as suing people. But hey Bangkok never runs out of places to chill. #bangkok #ghost #thailand #amazingthailand #city #night #nightlife #explore #urbanexploration #lights #instagood #travelblog #travelblogger #love #instagood #tbt #throwback #beautiful #picoftheday #traffic #adventure #travel #bangkokspirit #SiamThai_ig #ig_thailandia
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Though forlorn, the Ghost Tower looms over Bangkok like a dark king. The city splays before it for 360 degrees, unveiling some insane views. The Chao Phraya River is an olive python snaking around silver skyscrapers. Hundreds of lights dazzle like the starry heavens.
Peering over the unprotected edge of the building, the wind rushes in your face and you not only see, but your senses come alive. Here, the magic of Bangkok is in your pores.