The skinniest building in Chinatown

12 08 2017


The ghost tower is ready for its close-up

11 08 2017

A primal scream from Bangkok’s collective unconscious: the towering vortex that is the Sathorn Unique has become the setting for a new Thai horror, “The Promise”.

The building is the most high profile of the cities “ghost towers,” never-completed reminders of the 1997 stock market crash that have dotted the city skylines for decades afterwards.

Towering conspicuously over one of the city’s busiest transport interchanges at Saphan Taksin, the brooding concrete shell of the Sathorn Unique has become a Bangkok urban legend and a magnet for graffiti artists and urban adventurers from around the world.

In new movie “The Promise” the tower is the scene of a teenage suicide pact. When one of the pair survives, and returns to the still-derelict building twenty years later, the ghost of her friend tries to see that she makes good on her promise…

Day 7 The Rome restaurant 6pm

29 07 2017


After a relaxing day I was ready to head out again and explore, this time to the far Southwest corner of the city where besides a freeway and opposite a very Thai rural-style street market sits “The Rome” -a Thai/Italian restaurant complete with its own semi-Colloseum.

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Sex and corruption: two very Bangkok museums

26 07 2017


I was in Nonthaburi to visit the “This is Us” exhibition by the Empower Foundation, an organisation founded by sex workers to organise for legal protection, offer mutual support and provide education and services. The group runs its own brothel in Chiang Mai (which provides its workers with superannuation, paid leave and follows occupational health and safety protocols), a radio station and this mini-museum if the history of Thai sex work in the Bangkok suburbs.

The museum is small (and dimly lit), located on the dusty floor of a shophouse daubed with slogans like “good girls go to heaven and bad girls go everywhere!” There are some interesting panels on Thai sex work through history. One law in the early nineteenth century forbade sex workers from being called as witnesses in criminal proceedings and punished any former sex workers who married clients and were unfaithful with “working in the fields as a buffalo” – in other words they were literally, chillingly, dehumanised.

Elsewhere there are sets of hotel bed rooms and gogo bars, and discussions of AIDS advocacy issues and human trafficking. The museum costs 100 baht admission and is a great way to support a fantastic organisation.


Further south, in Dusit, the Anti-Corruption Museum takes a similarly unflinching (if better funded – and better lit) look at one of the darker aspects of Thai society.

Day 11am Si Phraya Quay

25 07 2017


At the ferry pier at Si Phraya where the riverside Portuguese Embassy, with its beautiful wall mural by street artist Vhils, faces off against the extravagant bronze menagerie of statue store “Asian Enterprises” with its nymphs and mermaids, lifesize bronze gorillas, mooses and hippopotami.


Day 4 12.30 pm Cobra Queen Mother Shrine on Rama II

25 07 2017


I think I was a bit early, better to go in late afternoon. I didn’t see any snakes this time although I had a heart attack when a lizard slithered out of some foliage.

Day 2 The Old Protestant Cemetery 10am

24 07 2017

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One of Bangkok’s quietest spaces, the old Protestant cemetery by the river. I swear though, I heard what sounded like a Samsung phone ringing from inside one of the graves!

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