The Curse of Bangkok's Haunted Airport

Bangkok Airport at night
Bangkok Airport at night | © Adam Selwood / Flickr
Sarah Williams

Thailand has a deeply-held belief in ghosts, a reputation almost every visitor will come into contact with when flying into Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) is reportedly one of Thailand’s most haunted spots. Since opening in 2006 to replace the capital’s older Don Muang Airport (DMK), it has seen spectral sightings and fatal accidents rise sharply – leading many to believe that vengeful spirits inhabit its terminals.

Construction problems

Suvarnabhumi Airport lies outside of Bangkok city centre, in the neighbouring province of Samut Prakan. Once rural marshland known as Cobra Swamp (Nong Nguhao), the area was drained to make way for the new airport. What many did not know was that part of the land was also an ancient cemetery. During construction, workers reported strange incidents. These occurrences grew until some refused to work altogether. The unrest culminated in a number of fatal accidents, with people claiming to hear unearthly chanting, moaning and wailing long after.

Deserted seating area in Suvarnabhumi Airport

Airport officials held a huge ceremony to appease and banish spirits when Suvarnabhumi Airport opened. The rituals involved 99 Thai Buddhist monks, who prayed and chanted for nine weeks. At the conclusion of the blessings and rites, a baggage handler named Poo Ming stumbled out of the crowd, saying that he was the deceased cemetery guardian and needed cleansing. Quickly, the monks blessed the man with holy water to remove the guardian’s spirit and return the young man to his normal self.

Thai Buddhist monks

More encounters with Poo Ming

Tales of Poo Ming aren’t restricted to possessions; several people claim to have seen the blue spectre roaming the airport with the aid of a walking stick. Described as old and infirm, Poo Ming will not leave the airport that stands over the cemetery he once took care of. The ghost has supposedly spoken to some shocked people, his voice frail and weak as he haunts its hallways.

Other airport ghosts

Several people have claimed to see a ghostly lady carrying a baby. She is described as ‘the pale woman’, often stepping in front of vehicles to frighten drivers. She has been blamed for a number of accidents. Poltergeists are thought to plague parts of the airport too, creating havoc when sighted.

There have been reports of strange, unexplainable sounds in the grounds by both airport workers and passengers. People have spoken of eerie footsteps when they are alone, ghostly voices, shrill wails and the haunting sounds of classical Thai music.

A security official once entered a trance-like state while working and ordered that another shrine be erected at the airport. Many people believe the man had been possessed by a spirit called Phor Kae Ming.

Accidents and suicides

Ghostly encounters have been blamed for a number of unfortunate events at the airport. These include car crashes, equipment failure, and incidents involving baggage trucks.

One of the biggest events to have been blamed on ghosts involved a plane. The aircraft lost control and skidded off the runway during landing in 2013. Despite people blaming paranormal causes for the crash, a benevolent ghost air stewardess is said to have helped with rescue operations. In October 2018, an in-bound plane lost control and slid off the runway – also blamed on ghosts.

Most disturbingly, the airport has seen an abnormally high number of suicides, with several people leaping from the higher terminal areas. A glass barrier was eventually erected to try and prevent this. It’s a common thought that the suicides are the work of malevolent spirits. Some people go a step further, claiming that the tortured souls of the victims remain at the airport to terrorise others.

Rituals and prayers

Regular prayer sessions are held at the airport’s shrines to try and keep the spirits happy and calm. Group sessions are led by various airlines (mainly Thai-based) and airport authorities. People also frequently leave offerings at the shrines.

Offerings at a spirit house
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