Update (1st January, 2020): Although reports have been coming in of security guards letting people in for 500 baht, just as many people report the place being totally locked up with nobody around or not being let in without any opportunity to negotiate. One recent commenter at the bottom of this post said there were lots of other people there when they went, but go at your own risk – you can always try.
Climbing the Sathorn Unique – aka the Ghost Tower is probably one of the most popular activities for adventurers in Bangkok. Last year the abandoned building was supposedly closed after a Swedish man took his own life inside, however, we heard the guards at the bottom were letting people in for a small fee, and so we went.
Sign up for our travel updates, we’ll notify you if the Ghost Tower reopens.
Our friends met us nearby and we headed into the creepy building. Our plan was to explore the place, shoot some photos and videos, and make it to the roof of the 49 story shell-of-a-building without anyone falling over the side or tumbling into an elevator shaft.
About Sathorn Unique
The Sathorn Unique was built during the boom of the 90s as a towering 659 unit residential building with retail on the lower floors. The project, along with many others like it went bust during the 1997 Asian financial crisis, but unlike other developments, the money never returned and the building was left to decay. Today, locals believe the place is haunted.
How to get there
The easiest way to get to the Sathorn Unique is via the BTS (sky train). Take the Silom line to Saphan Taksin and the building is clearly visible from the station, just a couple of minutes walk away. The entrance is from the side road on the left of the building when you face it.
Climbing The Ghost Tower
We arrived around 3.30pm and walked up a few steps to the open ground floor which is being used to park cars now. There are some tables on your left and some men sitting around who will ask you for the admission price. While I think it’s illegal to go in, this being Thailand, people have found a way to flaunt the rules and make a buck. The entry fee is worth it, as they’ve installed lighting in one stairwell, and it makes it at least a bit less likely that there’ll be someone waiting up there to steal your camera gear. Unfortunately, they have a dual pricing system where Thais pay 100 Baht and foreigners 200. Some friends of ours were once charged 300 each. We got the local price by showing our drivers licenses.
Once inside we took our time climbing to the top, stopping often to explore the different rooms, corridors, stairwells, and balconies. It’s worth going slowly, not only because it’s exhausting in the heat, but also since a lot of the lower level floors are really interesting. It’s a huge building and you never know what you’ll find. There’s some pretty good graffiti in there too.
You really have to watch your step inside as without a light you could easily step into an elevator shaft which is an express trip straight to the ground floor. There are also big holes in the floor, collapsing walls, boards with rusty nails sticking out and other things to hurt or kill yourself on. Some sides of the building are not closed which means a straight walk over the edge to the road below. The building is a great place to watch the sun set over the river, and there are great city views after dark so it’s important to take a torch to go down (note that the gate shuts at 8pm, so don’t get locked in).
When we finally made it up the final flight of stairs, the rooftop was bathed in beautiful late-afternoon light. We set up the tripods and started shooting. Rather than bore you with descriptions, we’ll just leave you with a photo gallery and video. Let us know what you think in a comment below!
The Bangkok Ghost Tower is an awesome adventure, and totally worth a visit if you want to try something a little different.