Sathorn Unique Tower: Bangkok’s Ghost Tower
Written By: JEH
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
The Sathorn Unique Tower was supposed to be a symbol of class and culture in Sathan, Bangkok, which is a downtown part of Bangkok. A prominent Thai architect and developer, Rangsan Torsuwan, envisioned the building to become a premium luxury condominium with the perfect view of the Chao Phraya River. However, the architectural marvel that once stoked locals and tourists alike is now ruined by graffiti, debris, and rumors of hauntings. What turned this building into Bangkok’s infamous ghost tower?
The Story of Sathorn Unique Tower
Rangsan Torsuwan led the building’s construction in 1990. Torsuwan and his team wanted the 49-story skyscraper to become one of the most luxurious condominium complexes at the center of the city. Unfortunately, their dream was short-lived.
However, in 1993, Torsuwan became involved in a controversial case. He was arrested for allegedly plotting to murder the President of the Supreme Court (i.e. Chief Judge of the Highest Court). The murder never occurred, but Torsuwan was found guilty in 2008 along with three other men and initially sentenced to death but received a reduced sentence of 25 years. During this time, Torsuwan spent a month in jail and then was released on bail but appealed the verdict. Two years later in 2010, the Appeals Court acquitted Torsuwan and the other three men according to the book, Culture Shock: Bangkok. Although it was Torsuwan’s arrest that halted the construction of the building, the Asian financial crisis of 1997 was the final nail in the coffin. Up until this day, no one dared to pick up from where the project left off. At nearly 80% of completion, the Sathorn Unique Tower was left to deteriorate and to rot for over 20 years.
Becoming Bangkok’s Ghost Tower
Thai culture is rich with ghost tales and superstitions, so it’s not a surprise for an abandoned building to be a part of their local lore. Some locals believe that the reason why bad luck seemed to follow the building was because it overshadowed the Yannawa Temple, also referred to as the Boat Temple. which is an old Buddhist Temple which sources indicate dated back to the Ayutthaya period (est. 1350 -1767). The Ayutthaya period is said to be a period in time which led to modern-day Thailand. Taking these factors into consideration, it is no surprise why locals why deem the Sathorn Unique Tower cursed. In addition, the land used for the development is believed to be a graveyard before. Although unverified, these rumors caused fear among locals and tourists.
The place has been officially deemed as the ghost tower when the body of a backpacker was found in 2014. A Thai photographer had snuck into the building and climbed up its floors to catch the sunrise. But on the 43rd floor, the photographer found a Swedish man hanged. While authorities deemed his death a suicide, many ghostly speculations still try to explain the man’s tragic fate.
Exploring the Ghost Tower
Undoubtedly, being abandoned for years has left the place in an eerie condition that can give visitors the goosebumps. But this does not stop tourists from climbing the tower’s narrow stairwells to get the best view of Bangkok. However, it cannot be ignored that climbing the building is hazardous and poses a great threat to one’s life. Filthy hallways are flooded with puddles of standing water, construction equipment, old shoes, broken toilets, electrical wires, and more. Also, piles of debris make it difficult to spot holes. Not to mention the wall-sized openings devoid of glass step straight out into the open air. For these reasons and the death of the backpacker, authorities have decided to tighten the tower’s security.
While it is not impossible to enter the tower, doing so is illegal. In September 2015, Pansit Torsuwan, Rangsan Torsuwan’s son and the current owner of Rangsan’s firm, filed criminal trespassing charges against five tourists who had climbed the tower and posted about it online. As per reports, Pansit Torsuwan did this to deter future would-be climbers. However, up until today, visitors tirelessly try to find a way to enter the tower.
Movie About Bangkok’s Ghost Tower
Despite strict security, Pansit Torsuwan allowed GDH 559 to shoot a movie in the abandoned building. The Promise (2017) follows two teenage friends, Ib and Boum, who decide to commit suicide together at the building as their families face financial ruin during the 1997 Asian financial crisis. However, Boum backs out on the suicide pact. Twenty years later, her broken promise comes back to haunt her.
Should You Visit The Sathorn Unique Tower?
It is not recommended to enter the building, or even go near it, due to its now fragile structure. However, there are still (illegal) ways of entering the building. Climb for thrills at your own risk!
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