Ghost Tower: Climbing Bangkok’s Abandoned Skyscraper

The skyscraper’s 43rd floor is the most haunted of them all. Treading carefully over piles of debris, I pick my way through musty darkness praying I won’t vanish into a hole.

It happened in the bathroom. One morning a local photographer who was climbing the tower happened to smell something rancid and went to investigate.

That’s when he discovered the body.

Sathorn Unique Building

Bangkok’s Sathorn Unique skyscraper was supposed to become a premium luxury apartment complex with amazing views of the Chao Phraya River.

That was until this massive construction project was suddenly abandoned due to the collapse of the Thai Baht during Asia’s 1997 Financial Crisis.

Left to rot in neglect, the unfinished skyscraper eventually became a home for drug addicts, homeless vagrants, and wild dogs.

The Haunted Skyscraper

This mysterious abandoned skyscraper rises 49-stories into the clouds high above downtown Bangkok. It’s official name is Sathorn Unique, but locals refer to it as “The Ghost Tower”. Most people keep their distance.

They believe the building is haunted, and for good reason.

Dead bodies seem to turn up here on a regular basis.

There’s also a 2nd twin building down the street called Lebua State Tower, an exact copy of this one. However while that skyscraper thrived (featured in The Hangover 2), Sathorn Unique has been cursed to ruin for the past 20 years.

Weird Tourist Attraction?

People have been visiting this abandoned skyscraper for years, climbing over an outer fence or bribing one of the homeless inhabitants to open a locked gate to the stairwell.

However a few months before I arrived, the body of a Swedish backpacker was found hanging from a bathroom on the 43rd floor, discovered by a Thai photographer there to capture the sunrise.

After this incident, the building’s owner decided to make it safer (and earn some cash) by opening the ghost tower to tourists so they don’t break in.

Exploring The Ghost Tower

The narrow stairwell of Sathorn Unique is claustrophobic and littered with rubbish. A few bare lightbulbs cast a dull glow on some floors, others are pitch black, making the climb hazardous.

After the first 10 floors is when I began to sweat.

It’s like climbing an indoor mountain, stopping to rest while exploring the abandoned, windowless luxury apartments decorated with graffiti and million-dollar views of the city below.

Dusty hallways are flooded with puddles of standing water, construction equipment, old shoes, broken toilets, electrical wires and more.

Piles of debris make it difficult to spot holes in the floor. Pieces of the ghost tower occasionally fall into the streets below as it descends into neglect.

Incredible Panoramic Views

By the 49th floor I’m completely drenched in sweat and breathing heavily. It takes about 30 minutes of constant climbing to reach the top. The roof is a mess with steel rebar and broken concrete all over the place.

But the views over the city of Bangkok? Amazing!

A panoramic urban skyline stretches out before your eyes — filled with skyscrapers of all shapes & sizes, the BTS train system, narrow city streets congested with traffic, and barges loaded with goods floating down the Chao Phraya river.

Your reward for the challenge of scaling the tower is a beautiful sunset.

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