Urban Exploration in Thailand: The History of Bangkok’s Ghost Tower

The Bangkok Ghost Tower is Risky Business

I ain’t afraid of no ghosts! The Bangkok Ghost Tower (Sathorn Unique Tower) is the final destination for thrill-seeking urban adventurers.

Do you believe in ghosts? Do you feel a rush of adrenaline when it comes to horror stories, ghost tales and haunted mansions and towers? If so, then Bangkok “fulfills your wish” with the infamous Ghost Tower. If not, then you better avert your gaze, because we will now tell you the history of the Sathorn Unique Tower. From the time it was constructed and ultimately left abandoned at 80% completion until the day it became urban legend and a body showed up.

If the Ghost Tower is too spooky for you, check out Bangkok’s Airplane Graveyard!

view from the top of Bangkok Ghost Tower

History of The Ghost Tower

When construction began in 1990, the Thai architect Rangsan Torsuwan could not have predicted that his vision of a grand structure made with pomp and splendour would never see the light of the day. At least not in the way he was hoping for.

The first event that happened was the arrest of Torsuwan for his alleged plot to assassinate the President of the Supreme Court. The murder never happened, but the star architect still had to spend years in prison until 2010. By then his Sathorn Unique Tower was already the subject of a number of haunted tales.

The second event was one that had a great impact not only on Thailand, but also other countries such as Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea. The 1997 Asian financial crisis started in Thailand as the Thai Baht collapsed, which in turn sent the entire economy in a downwards spiral. The economic boom that the country enjoyed up until this year, was no more.

Those two events were the reason why the luxurious construction stopped in its tracks. No one wanted to be associated with the disgraced architect Torsuwan anymore and the financial collapse put the proverbial final nail in the coffin. The tower began to deteriorate, homeless people and stray dogs made it their home and the walls became the canvas for graffiti. The rest is history as the say.

The Ghost Tower In Modern Times

Thailand stands at the forefront when it comes to the belief in spirits, ghosts, animism and other superstitions. Therefore, it goes without saying that Sathorn Unique Tower became the subject of folklore, creepy rumours and scary stories. Countless reports à la ‘Paranormal Activity’ were made throughout the years, which the sceptical person would probably dismiss as an attempt for attention.

However, that doesn’t mean that some truly bad shit never happened. In December 2014, a Thai photographer climbed his way up to take some early morning shots. What he didn’t expect to find was the body of a 30-year old Swedish backpacker, hanging from the ceiling on the 43rd floor. Good thing, Logan Paul wasn’t there…

Abandon all hope, ye who enter here. (Just kidding, lol)

So, are you excited yet to visit Bangkok’s Ghost Tower? You can, although not quite legally. You can presumably bribe one of the security guys with 200 Baht to let you in. The son of Rangsan Torsuwan is not to pleased with his involuntary tourist attraction. He recently filed charges against a number of tourists for climbing up the tower and posting about it on social media.

If you are still dead set on visiting Sathorn Unique Tower, then do so at your own peril. Not only because of the possible legal actions, but also because of the the deteriorated state of the concrete floors and stairs. It is safe to say that it is not safe, so proceed with extreme caution.

The elevator shaft of the Bangkok Ghost Tower

Hang Wrap Up (Too soon?)

Pansit Torsuwan said that Sathorn Unique Tower will eventually be finished, “one way or another.” Many foreign investors are supposedly interested in this project. But can they get rid of the tower’s stigma? Only time will tell. If you were brazen enough to climb the Ghost Tower, then let us know in the comments how it was. Maybe even invent an epic ghost story, while you’re at it! We love ourselves some frightening tales, especially since we don’t have the guts to do it on our own. We are… busy with… erm, organising Pub Crawl, Island Tours, Beer Pong Tournaments and stuff… *cough* *cough*

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