Bangkok Ghost Tower*, originally known as the Sathorn Unique Tower, is an abandoned skyscraper in the Silom district of Bangkok, Thailand. Just a short walk away from Sathorn Pier and the Saphan Taksin BTS train stop, with views of its sister building, The State Tower (famous for it’s Sky Bar, featured in the movie Hangover Part II), to the North and the Chao Phraya river to the West.
The construction of this, 49 story, building ceased in 1997 as a result of the Asian financial crisis. Now, it’s a derelict skeleton of an 80% finished luxury skyscraper, used predominantly as a giant Apple billboard. Some lucky few have the opportunity to go inside and climb to the top of this massive tower of concrete and metal! This is an urban explorers paradise! I will share how we did it, in hopes others can enjoy this unique look over Bangkok as much as we did!
What to Wear and Bring:
-Cash. To bribe the guards into letting you up. (we paid 1,000THB per person)
-Anything to capture the moment. Drone, GoPro, camera. Anything really. You will want to have some epic pictures to take away from this!
-Headlamp/flashlight (phone light works too!). The staircases have no windows and are super dark!
-Running shoes. The 50 flights of stairs, crumbling concrete, and exposed rebar will make you thankful to be wearing the appropriate shoes! I promise!
-Lots of water! Again, after the 50 flights of stairs in the Bangkok heat some water is much needed!
-We didn’t bring beers, but it would most definitely be a lovely place to enjoy a cold one. Looking out over the expansive city of Bangkok, it tops any sky bar around.
Getting to the Ghost Tower From Anywhere in Bangkok:
-As mentioned above, you can easily access the Tower from the river via Sathorn Pier, the Saphan Taksin stop on the BTS or take a tuck-tuk/taxi/ or Grab (Asia’s version of Uber).
Gaining Access Into The Ghost Tower:
You will see an alleyway that leads to the front of the Tower. Walk down it. There’s a fence to the right, the guards sit near the 1st and 2nd pillars on the ground floor a little set back.
The hard part is getting their attention. It’s a bit difficult to see them over the tall fence, and they don’t usually respond to you if you just try to yell for them. If height is on your side you can look over the fence to get their attention. If not, like us, you will have to get creative, for example, my boyfriend put me on his shoulders so they could see us.
Next, you bribe them. I had heard some people had been let in for as low as 250THB per person, however, they wouldn’t accept anything less than 1,000THB per person (about $30USD) when we went. That was fine by us, it was well worth it.
One guard let us in the gate in the fence. They were being pretty sketchy about it, looking around nervously. Told us to stay on the sides facing away from The State Tower building because there are police with binoculars looking for trespassers (not sure I entirely believe that). They walked us up a flight of stairs, unlocked a door, told us we had 1 hour in the building, and pad locked the door behind us.
Once in the Tower:
Make a mad dash for the top (since they say you only have an hour and it takes about 10 minutes to make it all the way up, without stopping). It took us about 20 minutes to get the the top, because we stopped on a few floors to check it out (recommended).
About 3/4 of the way up, the main staircase will end. Turn right down the hallway to find the next staircase that leads up the rest of the way.
Spend the rest of your time looking out over expansive Bangkok, but don’t forget to account for the time it takes to get back down the stairs! (But again, I’m not positive the time limit thing really matters… we didn’t want to risk it though).
So, if you want to do something off the beaten path, and a little illegal, give this a shot! I promise you will not be disappointed! It’s a thrilling experience coupled with some of the most spectacular and unique views of beautiful Bangkok! And be sure to check out some of my other posts about this vibrant city, like this one The Streets of Bangkok
*This is not technically legal, and it is pretty unsafe. Be smart, don’t do anything stupid, and don’t ruin it for anyone else. Thank you 🙂