Bangkok set to tower over South-East Asian neighbours

The Bangkok Observation Tower being built on the banks of the Chao Phraya river at a cost of US$138 million, funded by fifty private sector organisations, will be the tallest in south-east Asia and the sixth tallest in the world when it is completed in 2019.

The candle-like structure, 459 metres high, is in remembrance of the candles that are lit by Thais on the birthday of their revered late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. It is being undertaken by the Bangkok Observation Tower Foundation and the National Identity Foundation and will be built on a state-owned land plot in Khlong San, the up-and-coming arts district near the Chao Phraya River. The tower is expected to be a huge tourist magnet for leisure as well as MICE visitors, similar to other such iconic towers in cities like Toronto, Seattle, Dubai, Seoul, Chicago and Tokyo, among others. The admission fee will be Baht 750 (INR 1470).

The Chao Phraya River has played host to many events and incentive tours in the past but the river district is expected to be rejuvenated with renewed interest with the advent of the new tower. Parinya Ruckwatin, chairman of the Chao Phraya River Tourism Association said: “With the arrival of the tower, businesses stretching for 10 kilometres along the length of the river will benefit, including boat operators, restaurants, hotels, retailers and convention organisers. We can also expect improvements of more than ten piers along the river to make them safer and easier to use.”

The river cruises on the Chao Phraya are popular for incentive groups as they offer a distinctive perspective of Bangkok from the river and are good for on-board activities.

Virat Chatturaputpitak, managing director of Marwin Tours Thailand, said: “The new tower will create interest for more activities in the river bank areas which already have excellent hotels and other F&B outlets. In fact we expect that it could draw events away from other cities in the region due to the novelty and uniqueness of the attraction.”