Ghost Tower

How To Climb Bangkok's Forsaken and Haunted Skyscraper

Ghost Tower

{ How To Climb Bangkok’s Forsaken and Haunted Skyscraper }

If you’re into regrettable risky and all around bad decisions, then you will most definitely want to include Ghost Tower somewhere in your Thailand itinerary.

Perched along the Chao Phraya river lies the State Tower, one of the most spectacular landmarks in all of Bangkok.  The mesmerizing aura of the towers distinctive architecture and 820-foot-high Sky Bar with its massive golden dome makes this a crowd favorite for anyone visiting Bangkok.

Especially after being featured as the filming location for the final epic climactic showdown in the 2011 summer blockbuster “The Hangover Part 2”, the State Tower has managed to gain a substantial amount of publicity.

However, for anyone looking to experience a more off the beaten track side of Bangkok, situated just a mere 500 meters down the road lies The State Towers abandoned long forgotten brother, The Sathorn Unique Tower aka Ghost Tower.

And trust us when we say it’s an adventure like no other!

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Why Ghost Tower Was Never Completed

During the Nineties as Thailand experienced an economic boom, The Sathorn Unique Tower was one of many high-rise projects initiated by the city.

A renowned Thai architect/developer Rangsan Torsuwan began construction in 1990, envisioning a lavish condominium skyscraper that would be seen and admired across the city.

However, his dream would be cut short.

Rangsan Torsuwan was eventually arrested in 1993 for allegedly scheming to murder the Thai Supreme Court President.  In 2008 Torsuwan was found guilty even though the murder never actually came to fruition, only to ultimately be acquitted in 2010.

However, as the Asian financial disaster struck in 1997, the high-rise construction project was put on hold, and unlike the other high-rise developments the Sathorn Unique Tower project was never revitalized.

With numerous odds stacked against it, mainly the political murder conspiracy and the Asian financial disaster proving to be too much for the luxury condominium project, at roughly 80% completion the 49-floor luxury skyscraper would inevitably be nothing more than an impeccable blemish in the otherwise flawless Bangkok skyline.

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How It Got The Name “Ghost Tower”?

Since then, the Sathorn Unique Tower has been transformed from a potentially prominent landmark in the Thai capital city into an abomination of sorts representing a constant token of the disheartening 1997 Asian financial crisis.

The abandoned skyscraper unavoidably became a popular hub for derelicts, thieves, drug addicts and graffiti artists of Bangkok, as well as renegade backpackers looking for some sketchy off the beaten track adventures.

To add to the lure of Ghost Tower, rumors persisted about the tower being “doomed to failure” because it was built atop a former burial ground.

However, things got really disturbing in December 2014, after the body of Swedish backpacker was found hanging on the 43rd floor of the forsaken building by an unfortunate Thai photographer.

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Trespassing Sathorn Unique Tower

While his death was ultimately ruled a suicide, there are still some skeptics out there who believe this was nothing more than a coverup, meant to preserve Bangkok’s image.

Although the building was once easily accessible to the public, since this tragic event the building has been deemed strictly forbidden and any persons caught trespassing on the premise would be severely prosecuted.

Though, this may have disheartened a majority of backpackers and thrill seekers from hiking Ghost Tower, there are still a select few who were more than willing to take the risk.

Back in 2015, the new owner of The Sathorn Unique Tower, Pansit Torsuwan (Rangsan Torsuwan’s son) was determined to make a public precedent to deter future potential trespassers of the abandoned sky scraper, after filing criminal trespassing charges against five unlucky backpackers.

Although not as popular as it once was, The Ghost Tower climb still remains as one of the most distinctive and adrenaline filled attractions in all of Bangkok.

Climbing Ghost Tower

As of late, accessing Ghost Tower has been largely impeded by an enormous metal fence completely blocking the front entrance.  Moreover, the only two access points to the stairwells have been additionally fortified with two immensely daunting metal doors secured with some oversized padlocks.

Sounds like “mission impossible” right?

Well not so much once you simply befriend the pleasant security guard posted inside the property.  Although his friendship does come at a cost, usually around 300 – 1000 baht or so, after this small investment you guys might as well make it Facebook official because you have basically just found your new best friend.

Nevertheless, do be aware that once he unlocks the gates and you enter the dark, grungy and haunted stairwell of Ghost Tower, your new best friend immediately closes and locks the gate behind you.  From there he advises you that you only have an hour to complete the climb and wishes you the best of luck.

Pro Tip

Initially the security guard will act like or even completely deny the fact that he is in possession of the key.

However, remember persistence is key…

Just be sure to make it clear that you really want to climb the tower and you are willing to pay in order to do so.

Although we have heard stories of people tipping him only around 200 baht to enter, it’s recommended to tip him around 800 – 1000 baht.  Remember your fate literally lies in his hands.

As you make your way up the shadowy murky stairwell you will immediately feel like you have just entered… name a horror flick.

Demonic and malevolent inspired graffiti that you will constantly discover along the way will continue to embellish the undeniable dark and sinister feels of the Tower.

Whilst you continue your ascent up the deteriorating stairwell, keep an eye out for sharp poles protruding from the ground, random holes in the floor, falling debris and other potentially harmful obstacles.

However, conveniently spray painted along the walls of the stairwells you can find the floor number to help you gauge how much further you need to climb.

Keep an eye out for the 43rd floor in particular as this is rumored to be the most haunted in the tower with many people reporting cold spots, feelings of being watched, actual ghost sightings and an assortment of injuries while exploring this particular floor.

Once You Reach The Top

Once you reach the top of tower it is advised you stay to the left side of the building avoiding being spotted from the State Tower that we mentioned earlier.  Allegedly there are lookouts in the State Tower who will notify the police if they see anyone atop the Sathorn Unique Tower.

With that said, around a half hour later once you reach the top prepare to be blown away. The views atop Ghost Tower are truly second to none and offer the most mind-blowing, mesmerizing and unique panoramas of the Bangkok skyline that you would be hard pressed to find anywhere else.


Pro Tip

It’s recommended to complete the climb with some sort of camera light or headlamp.  One wrong step exploring the tower could literally send you hurling down an elevator shaft on a nonstop trip to ground floor.

Although there is some risk involved with climbing Ghost Tower, your bravery is handsomely rewarded with an adrenaline filled heart pounding experience that you won’t soon forget.


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