Ghost Tower: Climbing Bangkok’s Abandoned Skyscraper

Bangkok Skyscraper
Abandoned Skyscraper in Bangkok
Bangkok, Thailand

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.

Bangkok Skyscraper
Sathorn Unique Tower
Bangkok Skyscraper
Graffiti Covers the Walls

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.

Bangkok Skyscraper
The Throne Room?
Bangkok Skyscraper Balcony
Flooded Balconies

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.

Haunted Skyscraper
Inside the Haunted Skyscraper
Abandonded Skyscraper
Standing Water & Trash

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.

Abandonded Skyscraper Roof
Sunset from the Top
GoPole Reach
Extreme Selfie with my GoPole Reach

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.

Bangkok Skyscraper

GoPole Scenlapse
GoPole Scenelapse in Action

Where to stay in Bangkok?

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Budget

iCheck Inn Silom

Check prices on: Booking.com | HotelsCombined | Agoda

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Mid-Range

Padi Madi Boutique – Small stylish hotel right next to a metro station and various dining options.

Check prices on: Booking.com | HotelsCombined | Agoda

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Fancy

Sofitel Bangkok

Check prices on: Booking.com | HotelsCombined | Agoda

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I also enjoy using AirBnB from time to time. Make sure to read my article about how to find cheap hotels too.
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Shooting With GoPole

To capture this adventure on video I used my GoPole Reach attached to a GoPro. It gives you some unique perspectives, including sitting on the edge of a skyscraper dangling my feet over the side!

Another cool attachment I used is the GoPole Scenelapse on the GoPole Base — this rotating timer is great for recording time-lapse sequences like the one at the end of my video below. ★

Watch Video: Exploring Bangkok’s Ghost Tower


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(Click to watch Abandoned Skyscraper – Bangkok on YouTube)

Travel Planning Resources For Bangkok
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Cost: 200 Baht ($6 USD)

Packing Guide

Check out my travel gear guide to help you start packing for your trip. Pick up a travel backpack, camera gear, and other useful travel accessories.

Book Your Flight

Find cheap flights on Skyscanner. This is my favorite search engine to find deals on airlines. Also make sure to read how I find the cheapest flights.

Rent A Car

Discover Car Hire is a great site for comparing car prices to find the best deal.

Book Accommodation

Booking.com is my favorite hotel search engine. Or rent apartments from locals on Airbnb. Read more about how I book cheap hotels online.

Protect Your Trip

Don’t forget travel insurance! I’m a big fan of World Nomads for short-term trips. Protect yourself from possible injury & theft abroad. Read more about why you should always carry travel insurance.

Thailand Travel Guide: Lonely Planet Thailand

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Ghost Tower: Climbing Bangkok’s Abandoned Skyscraper! More at ExpertVagabond.com
Ghost Tower: Climbing Bangkok’s Abandoned Skyscraper! More at ExpertVagabond.com

READ NEXT: Best GoPro Accessories For Travel

Have you ever visited a haunted building before? Drop me a message in the comments below!

GoPole

THANKS FOR READING

Hi, I’m Matthew Karsten — I’ve been traveling around the world for the last 9 years as a blogger, photographer, and digital nomad. Adventure travel & photography are my passions. Let me inspire you to travel more with crazy stories, photography, and useful tips from my journey.
Matthew Karsten
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