Bangkok, Thailand. Just fourteen years ago, the Sathorn Unique skyscraper was being built, destined to become one of the city’s fanciest residential addresses. Now, it is an abandoned building. Never completed, it remains as yet another “ghost tower” of Bangkok.
A tangle of trees and vines are beginning to take over the lighter parts of this monolith, such as the four storey archways and romanesque feature columns. Amazingly, this building is located in the central area of one of the worlds largest cities. These towers were built during the mid nineties, when the Thai economy was booming. In 1997, the Asian Financial Crisis changed all that.
Developers stricken with debt were unable to finish many projects. In the case of Sathorn Unique, the main concrete structure made it all the way to the top. The apartment fit-outs had begun in earnest, with wooden floor boards installed and polished. Connected bathtubs, wardrobes, and electrics show just how close this one was to completion.
At ground floor, two escalators have been installed, climbing to nowhere in particular, the remnants of protective plastic still clinging onto their stainless steel sides. With an amazing location close to the Chao Praya river that snakes it’s way through the center of Bangkok, it’s easy to see how this abandoned building would have been luxury living at it’s finest.
After a tip off from some of the locals, a small climb got me into the lobby area. Inside, a man had set up a shrine, and was providing offerings to his God. Children who were playing around the outer area of the building had clearly been warned of the dangers inside.
Although they were smiling, they were clearly fearful of the building, perhaps due to the ghost stories and other tales of fear their elders had instilled in them. For good reason too – this is a particularly dangerous site, with plenty of opportunities to take a 40+ level fall through one of the many unsealed shafts that exist, often in total darkness. Throw in a pack of wild dogs, some quite unusual smells and sounds, I quickly realised this abandoned building was not to be taken lightly.