BANGKOK, Thailand — Bangkok is famous for many things. Street food, temples and over-the-top shopping malls come to mind.
Terrifying experiences that make your palms sweat and your knees shake? No so much, unless you count the city’s notorious traffic jams.
The new Mahanakhon SkyWalk, however, is a thrilling addition to Bangkok’s roster of family-friendly tourist attractions.
Located at the top of Thailand’s tallest completed building, King Power Mahanakhon, it’s a 1,030 foot observation deck and rooftop bar that offers 360-degree views of Bangkok.
The terrifying bit comes in the form of a large glass floor, which juts out over the edge of the building.
Before stepping onto the platform, visitors must slip protective fabric booties over their shoes.
Some shuffle confidently onto the floor as they look down, others squeal in horror and drop to their knees. Almost everyone takes a moment to lay on the glass for a photo.
But even if you’re not brave enough to step onto the glass floor, the SkyWalk offers unrivaled city views, particularly up the stairs at the open-air “Peak”.
Zoom up to the 74th floor in 50 seconds
The fun begins as soon as you enter the video-themed elevator on the ground floor. Visitors ascend to the 74th floor in 50 seconds, while a fast-paced Bangkok-themed video plays on all four of the elevator’s walls.
From there, you’ll step into the Indoor Observation Deck, which offers floor to ceiling 360-degree panoramic views and interactive installations that highlight some of Bangkok’s key landmarks.
Up one level is the mezzanine and glass elevator boarding area, which takes visitors up to the 78th floor — home to the outdoor observation deck.
The bar — Thailand’s highest, of course — offers a selection of cocktails, soft drinks and beer, including their very own Mahanakhon White Ale — a Belgian-style witbier. However, there’s no seating. Most visitors in need of a spot to sit down head for the stairs leading up to the Peak.
Our advice: Make your way over around 4 p.m., when the heat begins to fade.
Closer to sunset, around 5:30 p.m., the crowds begin to increase significantly — as does the line-up for access to the glass floor.
Bangkok’s “pixel” building
King Power Mahanakhon is a mixed-use project, worth close to $1 billion.
Its 2016 completion earned it the title of “Thailand’s highest building,” knocking out long-time titleholder Baiyoke Tower II, a nearly 1,000-feet-high hotel in the city’s Pratunam district completed in 1997.
Its striking steel and glass figure rises into the sky, with a three-dimensional strip of “pixels” weaving its way down the building — an architectural trick achieved through the construction of “sky boxes.”
The main Mahanakhon skyscraper has 78 floors. Floors one through 18 will feature the yet-to-open King Power Hotel.
Floors 23 to 73 are reserved for the Ritz-Carlton Residences — 209 residential units managed by the Ritz-Carlton.
Floor 73 is where you’ll find the penthouse Sky Residences, which range in size from 1300 to 9000 square feet (two to five bedrooms).
Levels 74-78 are for the observatory/bar.
A separate building on the project’s grounds, the Mahanakhon CUBE is a high-end retail and dining space that includes venues like L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon and Bangkok’s flagship Dean & DeLuca.
The building was the brainchild of Pace Development Corporation. Thai duty-free giant King Power purchased a huge chunk of Mahanakhon’s assets this year.
Not surprisingly, visitors to the SkyWalk need to walk through a large King Power duty-free shopping area on their way out of the attraction on the ground floor.