How I illegally climbed on one of Bangkok’s highest rooftops

It has now been 4 months since I started, and one of best things about the experience is the people that it has put me in touch with. So far I have received messages from likeminded individuals spread across Thailand, many of these leading to shared adventures… and there is no better example of this than the beautiful coincidence that occurred when someone I never met before contacted me.

I received a message from another urban explorer, Alex Duffner, asking me about joining him on a photo trip. He heard of a cool rooftop location in Asok and wanted to check it out the same day. Unfortunately I had to work that day so I couldn’t join but he was kind enough to share location details with me. The “Asoke Intersection” area is one of Bangkok’s main business centers. Actually, it’s the center of many things, several hotels, restaurants and ‘entertainment’ establishments. The intersections of streets – which are often jammed – are matched by the intersection of Skytrain and Subway as well.  So I knew the view must be amazing.

On my next day off I tried the address, a tower block whose lower floors were filled with offices and a rooftop bar, before continuing upwards into an international hotel. When infiltrating a site such as this, the worst thing you can possibly do is look nervous, uncomfortable or out of place. It only takes a moment of hesitation, a second glance at a map, for a porter to descend on you with questions such as, “can I help you?” or worse still, “can I see your room number?”. Playing with our phone or pretending you are calling someone can help a lot.

Doing my best to look natural I made for the elevators that led up to the rooftop bar, mingling in with the crowd. I was looking for the stairwell but there were too many staff close by so I couldn’t go in. Then I decided to go back to the lobby as I didn’t see any chance to get access from the bar. I texted Alex and asked if the fire alarm of the stairwell is turned on. Luckily he texted back within minutes and confirmed they were turned off. Okay, second try. I waited until hotel guests arrived, mingled in, used the same elevator and got out on the 35th floor. It wasn’t long before I found a fire door, and this one without an alarm.

From here I found myself on a service stairwell, unmarked other than floor numbers; and, thankfully, with no security cameras in sight. It was somewhere around floor 44 or 45 that I finally made it out onto the roof. The door here had an alarm system fitted, but it seemed to have been disabled by the smokers amongst the hotel’s staff.

I had climbed to the top of one of the tallest buildings in the Asok area, earning me a breathtaking view of the city lights beneath me. By this point I found myself feeling somewhat nervous. I don’t suffer from a fear of heights as such, but I’m painfully – and sometimes anxiously – aware of them; and by this stage, I was very high indeed. Nevertheless, from this rooftop I was able to enjoy a breathtaking, 360-degree view of the city at night. Absolutey worth it!


If you think I’m always this lucky you are wrong. There have been days when I ended up arguing with the security guys and going home without any photo. I have good days and bad days – same like you. But I never give up. If I don’t get access to a building today, I’ll come back next week. Or the week after. 😉

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