Many tourists to Thailand want to visit Bangkok’s Sathorn Ghost Tower. An abandoned skyscraper that, according to urban legend, is haunted.
The 49-storey luxury condominum building was abandoned in 1997, when money ran out during the Asian financial crisis. Since then, it has become even more derelict as time and the elements do their work.
Oddly though, the condominium complex, real name Sathorn Unique Tower, has become a mecca for tourists who want to do something different while in the Thai capital.
(Which in itself is strange when you consider so many tourists have either broken into the building themselves or wanted to, it’s not exactly ‘different’ now, is it?)
In 2020, as this weird urban legend about Sathorn Ghost Tower continues, thousands more want to get into it and walk around.
If you will be in Bangkok and are wondering, can you enter Sathorn Ghost Tower in 2020?
Or even, should you?
Why is Sathorn Ghost Tower abandoned?
The full story of Sathorn Ghost Tower is a convoluted one typical of things that often happen here in Thailand.
It involves an architect and real estate developer who wanted to design and build a luxury condominium building that was second to none.
Not long after construction began, the architect, Rangsan Torsuwan, was arrested for supposedly plotting to murder the President of the Supreme Court (he was not murdered).
After the case dragged on for over 15 years, Rangsan was found guilty, but was then acquitted of the crime several years later.
By this point, the Sathorn Unique Tower had been abandoned due to insufficient finances to finish the building.
Learn more about the real story behind that at BK Magazine. They have an interesting interview with Pansit Torsuwan, the son of Rangsan the architect.
Thousands of people illegally enter Sathorn Ghost Tower
Since the urban legend that Sathorn Unique Tower was haunted began to spread via social media and vlogging, thousands of international visitors to Bangkok have illegally entered the building.
Some have climbed to the top, while others have wandered around its lower floors.
Many, of course, are travel bloggers/vloggers who often seem to have little respect for the countries they visit or their laws.
Others are egged on by irresponsible articles like this one from the Australian news site news.com.au.
I say illegal as, yes, it is illegal to enter Sathorn Ghost Tower. The tower is private property, it is boarded up and blocked off, and has security guards that monitor the area.
Some people have entered without the security guards knowing, while others bribed the guards to let them in.
Just in case you still do not understand that entering Sathorn Unique Tower is illegal, watch the short video below of an interview with the owner of the tower.
You know, the person who may file criminal charges against you if you are caught.
People entering Sathorn Ghost Tower have had criminal trespass charges filed against them
Since 2014, however, when the body of a Swedish man was discovered in one of the tower’s rooms, Pansit Torsuwan, the aforementioned son of the architect, has begun to clamp down on people that illegally enter the property.
He has filed criminal trespass charges against several people who uploaded videos of their time in Sathorn Ghost Tower to YouTube.
He has also made it clear that, while he understands the fascination some people have about the building, he will not condone any attempt to enter it illegally.
Can you enter Sathorn Ghost Tower in 2020? Should you?
It is far more difficult to get into Sathorn Ghost Tower in 2020 than it was just a few years ago.
The doors that gave easy access to the building have been welded shut, and security guards are far less likely to allow you entrance. Even if you do try to bribe them.
In addition, and at the risk of repeating myself, it is illegal to enter Sathorn Ghost Tower without the express permission of the owner.
You should know then, if you do, you are committing criminal trespass, could be arrested, spend time in a Thai jail and then be deported.
Could that happen?
It hasn’t yet but, in Thailand just like anywhere else, there is a first time for anything. Personally, I would rather not have that first time be with me.
The ‘entitlement’ of travelers, vloggers and bloggers
Besides which, the entitlement of some of the travelers, vloggers and bloggers who visit Thailand is becoming more than a little annoying.
When you travel in Thailand, you are in a different country than your own. You are also subject to Thai law.
If you want to have a nice, uncomplicated holiday that you can talk about for years afterwards, in a country where the people will treat you as nicely as you treat them, please respect Thai law and don’t do anything you wouldn’t do back home.
After all, just because this is Thailand, it doesn’t mean the law isn’t important or that Thais are somehow ‘less intelligent’ than you for insisting their private property be respected as just that.
Particularly when that property is dangerous to be in.
In other words, don’t be an entitled ass when you come to Thailand.
Instead, avoid Sathorn Ghost Tower, which is nothing more than an old abandoned building anyway, and do something more interesting, more unique and…legal with your time.
These 25 things to do in Bangkok are excellent fun