By Ellen Boonstra, Asia correspondent >>
PROMISING AN ICONIC cityscape view, atop King Power Mahanakhon, one of Thailand’s tallest towers, Bangkok’s Mahanakhon SkyWalk boasts the country’s highest 360-degree observation deck in the country.
Open since November last year, the city’s latest tourist attraction boasts the highest rooftop bar and the fastest video-themed elevator in the Kingdom, reaching the 74th floor in 50 seconds.
The highlight of the Mahanakhon SkyWalk is undoubtedly a 63sqm glass floor that juts out from the building façade at a dazzling height of 310m above ground level.
Not for the fainthearted, the glass platform creates a gravity-defying photoshoot location; the ultimate Instagram shot revealing a plunging city visible below the smiling, or perhaps terrified, faces of those who step onto the see-through floor. Fast becoming a viral, must-snap shot, the SkyWalk reflects Bangkok’s reputation as a dizzyingly progressive and artistically dynamic metropolis.
A wide staircase leads from the outdoor rooftop area and observation deck to The Peak, 314m above ground level. Here rooftop bar sundowners come with spectacular sunset views from the highest point across the city that are simply mesmerizing.
A few levels below, on the 74th floor, is an indoor observation deck with 360-degree vistas, powerful binoculars and Bangkok’s key landmark destinations identified on interactive screens and via a free app, which offers an augmented reality (AR) experience.
Bangkok’s highest postbox is a nice tourist touch with a vending machine selling postcards and stamps to send to loved ones from this urban scenic spot. There is also a Bangkok-themed digital corridor and an upside-down Bangkok-themed ceiling at the attraction’s main entrance.
The Thai word Mahanakhon translates as ‘great metropolis’, and the mixed-use development tower was designed by award-winning German architect Ole Scheeren.
Located in Bangkok’s CBD, the glassy, pixelated façade is one of the finest examples of contemporary architecture and urban design in the whole of Thailand.
The building’s distinctive three-dimensional ribbon of architectural ‘pixels’ circle the tower’s full height to create a stunning profile. Special features include projecting glass skyboxes with sweeping views and generous indoor and outdoor spaces with large terraces.
The design was first publically revealed in 2009, with sales officially commencing in 2010 and construction starting in 2011. The smaller retail component opened first, in 2014, while the main tower was topped off and completed in 2016.
Up until IconSiam’s Waterfront Residences broke the record with a height of 317m in 2018, Mahanakhon Tower was officially recognised as the tallest building in the country.
The luxury mixed-use development is also home to the Ritz-Carlton Residences and Mahanakhon CUBE which serves up some of Bangkok’s top restaurants as well as Dean & Deluca’s flagship store and L’Atelier by Michelin star chef and restauranteur Joël Robuchon.
Mahanakhon Square is a 1000sqm space for exhibitions, performances and events.
Future plans include the world’s first Orient Express hotel, scheduled to open in the last quarter of 2019.
Named Orient Express Mahanakhon Bangkok, the 154-key hotel will feature two signature restaurants, Mott 32 and Mahanathi by David Thompson, an Australian chef known for his expertise in Thai cuisine.
Esteemed French designer Tristan Auer has been tasked with reimagining the Art Deco stylings and plant motifs of the original Orient Express carriages into a modern skyscraper.