SE Asia’s tallest tower set for Bangkok

Bangkok is set to get its first dedicated observation tower. The 459-metre-high structure will rank as the sixth tallest tower in the world, as well as being the tallest observation tower in Southeast Asia.

In contrast MahaNakhon, currently Thailand’s tallest tower, is just 314.2 metres tall.

The tower is being built by two foundations, the Bangkok Observation Tower Foundation and the National Identity Foundation, after the Thai Government recently gave its approval for the landmark project.

The cost of construction – expected to be US$ 138 million – is being funded by more than 50 private sector organisations.

Located beside the Chao Phraya River, the Bangkok Observation Tower will be set on a 6,400 sqm site owned by Thailand’s Treasury Department. It will be leased to the Bangkok Observation Tower Foundation for 30 years.

The Foundation is required to deliver ownership of the Tower and all other structures on the land to the Treasury Department when construction is completed in 2019.

Ittirith Kinglake, President of the Tourism Council of Thailand, said: “The Tower is the most important new addition to Bangkok’s rich array of tourism magnets, and one that will attract people from around the world.”

Residents near the Tower have been welcoming of the initiative, believing it will lift interest in their communities, create new employment and boost their livelihoods.

‘Granny’ Tim Somsong Somsuk, said: “Our Suvarnabhumi Mosque community located on the Thonburi side of the river had always been a place of historic importance, and then it slipped into obscurity and neglect. The Bangkok Observation Tower will help regenerate our community and re-establish its prestige as a place of historic significance.”

She added the building of the private sector-sponsored “Golden Line” mass-transit rail line that will run in front of the community and the Observation Tower was also a factor that would enhance the community’s fortunes.

Inspiration for the candle-like design of the Bangkok Observation Tower was drawn from the popular celebratory tradition, observed by millions around the country, of lighting candles on the birthday of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej as a symbolic gesture of lighting up the country with prosperity.

There will be no commercial space for rent inside the Tower. The space will be used for educational purposes and to promote Thailand’s historical and cultural heritage. The surplus from income generated from ticket sales and other sources will be used for social causes that benefit the local community or charities.