Update 2018: Climbing this abandoned skyscraper is no longer possible as the owner of the building found out, fired the security guards and locked down the entire site. DO NOT attempt to do so.
During my 4 months period of rest in Bangkok right after a 5 weeks adventure in New Zealand, as you can imagine, I grew bored quickly living life at "home". Nothing excited me anymore.. until I found out that there is an abandoned skyscraper that I could climb right on my home turf. That building was the Sathorn Unique Skyscraper, an abandoned ghost tower that was built during Thailand's economic boom in the 90s and came to a crashing halt due to the economic crisis that followed.
It did not take me long to find a reason to go there. A couple of friends of mine were visiting Bangkok and we decided to climb up the 49 stories tower with our cameras and a healthy amount of courage. The experience was sketchy at times, but it was worth the risk. When we were on the rooftop, it felt almost like we were at the top of a mountain but instead of being surrounded by nature, we were surrounded by a city of over 9 million of the population!
This post will illustrate how I was able to do it and how my experience went in photos.
Note: Climbing this abandoned skyscraper have been made illegal since the police discovered a Swedish tourist who committed suicide in 2014. I do not encourage you to climb like I did, and I can not vouch for your safety if you do so. After all, the building has been abandoned for years and the structure is very fragile and prone to collapse.
Getting there is relatively easy. You can take a BTS from any station to the BTS Saphan Taskin station. Right from the platform, you will see the abandoned building standing above all. Simply walk toward the building from the BTS platform and sneak yourself inside a metal gate.
Again, getting in is illegal and dangerous so before you decided to go at your own risk, please consider these facts.
We were 4 and we simply walked into where the security guards were sitting. They asked us where we are from and they gave us a number that we have to pay for each. The price ranges from 100 - 400 baht depending on nothing but their mood so prepare a few one hundred bills.
What you need
This place is as untamed as a city could get so do prepare accordingly. Here are what you need:
- Sturdy shoes. You will be climbing and tip-toeing around fragile holes and rubbles so your shoes need to be sturdy enough. One misstep could mean death since there are no fence or railings to prevent you from falling down the building.
- Flash lights (from a mobile phone is fine). The corridors and stairs are pitch black no matter what time you climb.
- Water. It doesn't matter what season it is, it will be extremely humid in there and you will be sweating a lot to keep yourself hydrated.
- A camera. It is magical up there. You don't usually get a chance to see the skyline of Bangkok in the open air and without fence like this.
What was it like?
We went on Monday via BTS. It was around 2PM that we started to climb the abandoned building. There was 4 of us and we felt pretty secure most of the time.
The first few floors were large and empty. I assume these floors were meant for shopping stores and restaurants.
After walking up the pitch black stairways with our flashlights, we came accross multiple of these corridors. I believe these were the residential suites.
We got onto one of the floors to get some fresh air. It was so humid inside, we were sweating like crazy.
Meet Olivia, my good friend from the states.
Around half way up, the corridors no longer resemble a residential suite. More like a serial killer dungeon.
Fun fact, this building across the street was used to film the roof-top scene from the movie Hangover 2. The building I was standing was a replica of it. Funny how one flourish, and the other did not.
After 4 months of doing nothing exciting, you bet your ass, I was ecstatic. :)
Do NOT try this at home... or anywhere for that matter.
This is what it's like to hang your legs off a 49 storeys building.
We were approaching the roof top fast. It took us only 20 - 30 minutes to climb to the top.
A grand view of Bangkok and the Chao Praya river.
And here we were, at the top of the infamous Bangkok Ghost Tower.
This was suppose to be a foundation for a golden dome like you see on the original building. There were more and more graffiti over the years.
Olivia overlooking the apocalyptic world straight out of the movie, District 9.
We were in the middle of a city, and yet we were able to find solitude. It was a bizarre experience.
Since we were there on Monday, we were alone up there most of the time. We only met 3 climbers whereas everyone I knew told me that there were a lot more people when they were up there. I guess we were pretty lucky.
Again, I beg you not to try this. I did it because I didn't know it was so scary from up there.
Rule #1, always hold something solid when you are looking down.
introducing the gang which consisted of me, Run, Shane and Olivia, respectively.
Vandalism! No, I am just kidding. It was there ages ago and we were just acting all bad ass and cool.
Me and Olivia sat up there for hours. This is one of my favourite spot in Bangkok, hands down!
"Supergirl, carrying the weight of the entire world". Guys, I beg you, do not try this!
It was the feeling of being disconnected from the world that made me felt like I was climbing a mountain.
I was almost as high as that building! Both physically and mentally (natural high of course). :)
It felt like I was staring at 3 paintings of modern society in a museum, in a way.
Enjoying an ordinary sunset in an extraordinary settings.
One last look before we went down as it was getting darker every minute.
It was time to say goodbye to this wonderful, scary place. This place will hold as one of my favourite spot in Bangkok forever.
And there you have it, the Bangkok's infamous abandoned ghost tower in a nutshell. Have you ever gone urban exploring in a city? Do you find beauty in decay like I did with the abandoned ghost tower? I would love to hear where you think would be a good abandoned place to explore. Let me start off, Chernobyl!
The Solo Traveler’s Journal is a series of posts by BucketListly where we will follow our founder, Pete Rojwongsuriya around the world as he singlehandedly travel alone and experience different cultures, people, and historical locations one country at a time.
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