Bangkok ‘Ghost Tower’ at the centre of strange tourism obsession

This building is creepy, dangerous and illegal to enter. Tourists are so desperate to get inside, they’re bribing guards to look the other way.

Abandoned skyscrapers and haunted buildings are the settings for a new tourism trend that sees travellers explore creepy sites across Asia.

The pastime of urban exploration is drawing travellers to investigate potentially dangerous places like the so-called Ghost Tower of Bangkok, Bali’s Haunted Resort and the deserted Dreamland theme park in Nara, Japan.

Some of these sites are unguarded, allowing adventurous travellers easy access to them while others require explorers to bribe security guards to get inside.

Also known as URBEX, urban exploration involves traversing man-made structures, typically ones which are abandoned, with the aim of either documenting them via video or still photography, or just for the sake of adventure.

While it is not a particularly new activity its popularity has exploded in recent years on the back of the rise of travel blogging.

Video sharing sites like YouTube are filled with thousands of videos of travel bloggers exploring deserted buildings across the world. These videos have inspired many ordinary tourists, particularly younger travellers, to follow suit and visit the same eerie sites.

I first became aware of this travel trend while living on-and-off in the Thai capital Bangkok over the past five years. Countless times I have gone past the city’s infamous Ghost Tower, looked up and seen people scaling this abandoned skyscraper.

“It is the excitement of discovering something different than we’re used to in our day-to-day life that drives my curiosity to keep exploring abandoned areas,” he said.

Mr Cave and his fellow urban explorers are always looking for the next eerie deserted building to conquer.

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