Tales of ghosts, animist traditions and belief of the supernatural are prominent in Thai culture. Here’s your chance of getting to know the spooky side of Thailand, as we explore the most haunted locations in Thailand.
As a predominately Buddhist nation, monks have taken the role of guarding Thai people against supernatural forces at play. This includes cleansing unwanted spirits and ghosts by performing exorcism rituals. And let’s face it — if popular culture has taught us one thing, it’s that nobody needs a scary Asian ghost lady haunting after them!
While most of these legends are purely fictional, they often stem from tragic real life events.
We dare you to visit these places!
How could Thailands main airport be haunted, you might ask? Well, Suvarnabhumi Airport was actually built on top of a former graveyard — and by accident, nonetheless.
What is now the busiest travel hub in South-East Asia, was once a rural marshland known as Cobra Swamp (Nong Nguhao). The marsh was drained to make way for the new airport, but a part of the land was previously used as an ancient burial ground.
This was relatively unknown by the time — and became popular knowledge only after the plans were already in motion.
When the construction started, employees began experiencing quite unusual incidents. There were claims of unearthly chanting, moaning, wailing, and even witnesses insisting having seen the ghosts.
Some believe the construction of Suvarnabhumi angered the spirits final resting place, releasing them to roam in the realm of the living.
Anything out of the ordinary, whether it’s planes being delayed, luggage getting misplaced or accidents taking place, is often attributed as mischievous work of the vengeful spirits.
Even Bangkok Post covered an incident of a ghost stewardess, where a passenger reported seeing a cabin crew member wearing a traditional Thai outfit while aiding in evacuation efforts during a landing mishap. The incident gained attention when the cabin crew insisted that no one had worn such an outfit that day.
Other reports mention even possessions. The most famous one is a young baggage handler who claimed to have been possessed by a man named Poo Ming. The same name supposedly belonged to the caretaker of the old cemetery.
Thai Tourism Authority hired 99 monks during the airports opening ceremonies to take part in a nine-week exorcism ritual, in order to cleanse the area from any vengeful spirits. There are now regular spiritual ceremonies held inside the airport, and a number of shrines have been strategically erected to protect each area from any otherworldly activity.
Samian Nari Temple (Wat Samian Nari) in Bangkok
There is a 20-year old urban legend spread by a popular radio show in Bangkok, that mentions the story of a taxi driver and two beautiful sisters dressed in black.
According to the story, two sisters order a taxi around 3:00 am from RCA in Bangkok. The sisters ask the driver to bring them to the Samian Nari temple.
As the car approaches the temple, the sisters disappear from the back seat. Shocked, confused, and in disbelief, the taxi driver looks around for the sisters. That’s when he sees them in the nearby train tracks — cut in half, pulling their bloodied torsos along the tracks, while screaming in agony.
To this day, many Bangkok taxis refuse to take rides to Samian Nari temple, especially during the night — fearing the ghosts of the two sisters, who supposedly still haunt the drivers near the train tracks.
White Lion House (Jangmuarinnakorn House)
Considered the most haunted building in Chiang Mai, the White Lion House is an abandoned ornate mansion decorated with mysterious white statues, lion gargoyles and stained glass windows.
The extravagant complex was constructed by François Thai Development Company a few decades ago.
Apparently, the developer went broke and the location was never truly completed. Unsurprisingly, the location has been on sale ever since, but the buyers have steered clear of any ownership in the supposedly haunted estate.
Local legend tells the developer was warned of an ancient curse that the land carried. He didn’t heed the advice nor believe in the supernatural, deciding to build his residence anyway — despite the evil forebodings.
In the end, the curse caught up with him. He allegedly went insane, violently murdering his entire family inside the mansion.
Ever since, there has been reports of ghosts, spectral lights, and staring statues in the dark from those who dare to visit the abandoned house.
When asking locals to accompany a tour into the Jangmuarinnakorn house, most decline and rather keep their distance.
Death Railway (River Kwai Bridge) and Hellfire Pass
Thai people take a matter of pride in the fact, that Thailand has never been truly colonised. While certainly true, the country has been occupied by foreign powers a few times — including by the Japanese during World War Two.
Kanchanaburi’s River Kwai Bridge and Hellfire Pass were constructed during the Japanese occupation, as a part of an ambitious railway project connecting Thailand with Burma.
The construction was done with forced labour of South-East Asian civilians, called rōmusha, and prisoners of war from Allied forces.
The soldiers were mostly from the UK, Netherlands, Australia, and the United States.
The bridge is well-known today by its nickname, the Death Railway, and considered to be among Thailand’s most haunted locations.
Labourers who built these structures worked in horrific and dangerous circumstances, enduring unspeakable violence and torture inflicted by the Japanese soldiers supervising the construction.
It is estimated that over 100,000 Allied troops lost their lives in the process, with up to 150,000 rōmusha civilians.
With a history like that, it’s no wonder the area might give you sleepless nights.
The Cursed Island of Black Stones (Koh Hin Ngam)
How does an island become cursed? Well, apparently you need an actual God to do it.
If the myths and legends are to believed, Koh Hin Ngam was cursed by no other than the Thai deity, God of Tarutao. The story tells how the god adored the tiny island and its smooth dark stones, so he placed a curse onto the island: Any visitor who would dare to take even a pebble off the island would be cursed forever.
Each year the National Park office receives dozens of stones returned via mail, sent back by people who are desperately looking for a way to lift the curse.
The stones of Koh Hin Ngam must stay on the island or you risk the wrath of Tarutao!
Baiyoke Sky Hotel
Once the tallest building in Bangkok, the Baiyoke Sky Hotel is still one of the highest places where you could spend a night. During the construction, a tragic accident happened, where three construction workers plummeted to their deaths.
Ever since, the hotel has been haunted with guests and staff reporting unusual occurrences.
Some objects have begun mysteriously disappearing, moving, and even levitating. The hotel guests have witnessed creepy shadows lurking on the walls and ghosts appearing in the ceiling. There has been strange electrical outages, flickering lights and ominous noises.
One hotel guest described staying in the room 6203, detailing an unpleasant smell lingering in the air. The room was dark, and they felt like someone was staring back at them. When they left for a short shopping trip and came back, the furniture and objects had changed positions. They asked the reception if someone had been in the room, but they sincerely denied pulling any tricks. Even the reflection of the dressing table had an unexplainable aura, which persuaded them to cover it with a towel.
Now how much would a night at a haunted hotel cost you? The answer, probably less than you think.
Sarasin Bridge and the tragic tale of love
The first bridge connecting Phang Nga and Phuket provinces, Sarasin became the scene of an unforgettable tragedy.
Young lovers from Phuket ended their lives together by jumping from the bridge for unrequited love.
Dam was a local songthaew driver and rubber tapping worker from a poor family, struggling to make ends meet.
Gew was a teacher for college students, who used to ride on Dam’s bus. Gew came from a wealthy family and was expected to marry someone of similar stature. As the two got to know each other, they fell in love.
They sought Gew’s father’s blessing to get married, but he refused and forbade them from seeing each other ever again. Having their love stifled, the couple decided that if they couldn’t be together, they would rather take their own lives.
On the night of February 22, 1973, they bound themselves together with a loincloth and jumped from the Sarasin Bridge.
The story of the two lovers is forever imprinted in Phuket’s collective memory. In the year 1987, it was made into a Thai film titled Saphan Rak Sarasin (Sarasin, The Bridge of Love). Sarasin Bridge has since grown to one of the most well-known tourist attractions in Phuket.
Local myths say, that on the full moon night there will a be a pair of white rabbits with red glowing eyes appearing on the bridge. They are believed to carry the souls of the tragic couple.
Ghost Island (Koh Kham Noi)
Koh Kham Noi is a small island off the coast of Pattaya. It served as a burial site in the past, acting as the final resting place for people from various nationalities, cultures, and religions.
The island housed a military base for American soldiers during the Second World War as the deep waters were ideal for accommodating large warships. Malaria spread quickly without proper hygiene and medicine, killing a substantial number of soldiers. Their bodies are now buried on the island.
Unlike for Thai Buddhists who cremate their dead, graveyards were required for other nationalities and religions.
The nearby islands housed sizable Muslim communities, who buried their malaria victims at Koh Kham Noi, in an attempt to prevent the disease from spreading.
Chinese-Thai communities have also used the island as a final resting place.
Today, there is a Muslim cemetery on one side of the island and a Chinese cemetery on the other.
Many believe that spirits still roam around the island today. Local myths and legends describe visitors seeing ghosts of people from different ethnic groups and religions. There have also been reports of sinister sounds of wailing and moaning.
Today’s visitors largely come to enjoy the excellent snorkelling and fishing opportunities, but you can still visit the old cemeteries. However, as with all temples in Thailand, it’s important to dress modestly and act respectfully.
There are no accommodations on Koh Kham Noi, but no one is stopping you from pitching your own tent to spend a night at the Ghost Island — if you dare.
Ayutthaya Historical Park
Many Thai people believe that a wide range of ghosts roams the ruins of Ayutthaya, and it’s no wonder — the Historical Park is an eerie place, to say the least. With Buddhist faces covered with tree roots and ominous statues, it’s not a place you want to be wandering around after closing hours.
It has been the unfortunate scene of many natural deaths, as well as brutal clashes with invading forces. Upon capturing the Siamese capital, Burmese troops went on a looting spree before damaging many of its stunning buildings.
Locals have reported many ghost-sightings of soldiers guarding the main palace along with other ghosts dressed in traditional Thai clothing, especially during the night time.
Khao Lak and the tsunami of 2004
The tsunami of 2004 was particularly devastating for the seaside town of Khao Lak, all but destroying it to the ground. While many places in several countries suffered casualties and damage, Khao Lak saw Thailand’s greatest loss of life.
It’s estimated that at the very least 4,000 people lost their lives in the town on December 26, 2004.
The resort town has since risen from the debris, with homes, hotels, schools and companies steadily being rebuilt.
However, some have refused to return.
Khao Lak is now claimed to be haunted by the victims of the tsunami. Visitors have reported strange occurrences in many local hotels, and sightings of ghosts are common.
Some believe ghosts are the dead who didn’t receive the proper funeral rites, left wandering the earth trapped in limbo. It isn’t meant as a disrespect for the people who lost loved ones in the tsunami, but rather an old tradition that runs deep in the roots of Thai culture.
The Haunted Forest of Kham Chanot
Udon Thani’s Kham Chanot (often mislabeled Kham Chanod) Forest is a mystical area surrounded by waterways. Together, they enclose a secret island hidden within nature.
The nearby lake is believed to house a complex cave system, and if the legends are to be believed — the Kingdom of Naga.
Nagas are serpent-like creatures that share resemblance to mythical dragons.
Buddhist folklore tells the story of a serpent God, the King of Naga. He breathed furious flames into the sky to assist Lord Buddha on his ascendence to reach heavens.
Many Thais believe in Nagas, and they are somewhat common in Asian mythology. Some Nagas can even take on a human form, and they’re not necessarily evil — some acting friendly or even helping humans. There are reports of Nagas coming out of the lake during the night to roam in the temple grounds.
The temple of Kham Chanot is famous for the belief that offerings can be made to the Naga to obtain special favours. The Chanot trees around the temple can supposedly reveal lucky lottery numbers — if your prayers to the Nagas are heard. As a result, the temple can get pretty crowded when the lottery drawing day is near.
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