An Introduction to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport
Bangkok is the capital city of the Kingdom of Thailand. It was the most visited city for tourists for five consecutive years from 2015 to 2020. And such a popular city needs an airport to serve it. In fact, like London, it has more than one main airport. Bangkok has two airports, Don Muang Airport, and Suvarnabhumi Airport. Suvarnabhumi Airport serves as Bangkok’s main airport, serving mainly international destinations like Paris, London, and Frankfurt, whereas Don Muang serves domestically as a priority but does international flights for budget airlines. Both these airports are controlled by the Airports Of Thailand organization, more commonly known as AOT. Suvarnabhumi Airport was opened in 2006 and is a lively place all year around. It has become the main hub for Thai Airways International and Bangkok Airways. But the bustling airport holds a dark secret that many who visit the airport regularly don’t know about.
A Rough Start
As soon as the construction for Suvarnabhumi began, the team started running into some issues. The airport was constructed on a swamp, which made it a struggle for workers to manage the conditions. Many did not know that the airport was constructed in an ancient cemetery. During construction, workers reported many odd incidents. Several got so panicked, that they refused to work and resigned on the spot. Construction workers claimed to have heard unearthly screaming and moaning as well as wailing. One also reported hearing classical Thai music, playing out of nowhere. Eventually, the airport was finished in late 2005 and opened to the world and the public in 2006.
Ghosts and Curses
As you would expect, building a large international airport on an ancient burial ground won’t sit very well with any ‘spirits’ that live there. Thailand is a country with a 96% Buddhist population, and they have a very strong belief in the paranormal. If you travel around Thailand, you’ll see many small houses called ‘Spirit Houses’ for ghosts that supposedly live there. Several of these spirit houses are dotted around each of the terminals around the airport. Over the years, Suvarnabhumi has experienced some odd occurrences.
Passengers and airport staff have heard piercing screams in the hallways of the airports. A deserted Honda car is parked in the parking lot and is said to be haunted by a spirit of a Pakistani man who rented the car but crashed it and died. Across the years, many sightings of ghosts have been reported, the most common is of an elderly man, a blue silhouette who haunts the hallways with a walking stick. His voice is said to be frail, and Poo Ming is said to have been the guardian or caretaker of the cemetery on which Suvarnabhumi is built. He will not leave, no matter how hard airport officials try. Poo Ming has been said to possess people around the airport and cause accidents and suicides. The AOT has even had to erect glass barriers from higher terminal areas to prevent people from jumping off and committing suicide. Other airport ghosts include a sinister lady holding a baby, and she is said to have been the cause of many car accidents at the airport, jumping out in front of cars to frighten drivers. There are also supposedly many poltergeists (ghosts that can move objects) that have been blamed for many accidents at the airport. Once, an airport policeman was said to have entered a trance-like state while working and ordered more shrines to be erected.
Accidents at Suvarnabhumi
Ghostly encounters have been blamed for most incidents at the airport, such as equipment failures and the crashes of baggage trolleys. In 2013 a Thai Airways flight from Guangzhou, China veered off the runway while landing it was operated by an A330-300. After it was investigated, the conclusion of the runway slide was a broken boogie bar that caused the landing gear to collapse but Thai Airways staff at that time said otherwise. The Thai Airways spokesperson at that time blamed it on ghosts. A ghost flight attendant was said to have helped in the rescue operations. One passenger reported a friendly flight attendant in the traditional Thai dress that Thai Airways air hostesses wear, but none of the female cabin crew on that flight was wearing that uniform as they wear a different one for takeoff and landing. A mass ritual was organized to try to appease the spirits, which involved 99 Buddhist monks chanting and praying for over a month. In 2018 the same flight from Guangzhou, this time operated by a 747-400 aircraft veered off the runway in the same circumstances, injuring 14 people and damaging the plane rather heavily. This time, there was no ghost flight attendant mentioned.
AOT Trying to Solve It
The AOT is trying to find ways to keep the malevolent spirits pleased, they built a condominium on the airport grounds to act as spirit houses. Thai-based airlines hold group prayer sessions. Locals come and leave offerings to the spirits, mainly consisting of red Fanta and fruits, as red Fanta is believed to be a ghost’s favorite drink in Thai folklore. Hopefully one day, the spirits at Suvarnabhumi will stop their paranormal activity… or maybe you might meet one if you ever travel to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport!
- Skytrax (Cover image)
- The culture trip
- Bangkok Post