Bangkok Fishbowl: Exotic species swim free in abandoned mall

A few blocks away from Khao San Road sits New World, a four-storey, roofless, abandoned mall on the corner of Banglamphu Intersection. The building’s flooded basement now serves as a home for thousands of fish and is arguably home to the most exotic underwater species in Bangkok. 

How was this new world created inside New World? It’s a long story.

Back in the 80’s, Kaew Fah Plaza Company Limited built New World as an 11-storey mall. The company was later found in breach of a building law after it constructed seven more floors on top of the approved construction blueprint.

The mall was shut in 1997, and an unfortunate series of events occurred thereafter. The mall was set ablaze in 1999, causing some casualties and in 2004, one person was killed from collapsing debris during a partial demolition.

The mall’s fifth to eleventh floors were eventually dismantled to be in line with the original plan and New World has been roofless ever since.

With no roof, rainwater unsurprisingly collected in the basement. The pool of static water reared mosquitoes. Mosquitoes annoyed vendors in the neighborhood. To fix this problem, some vendors released a bunch of fish into the pool so as to curb mosquito breeding. Quickly, that bunch of fish reproduced into thousands.

In 2011, New World closed its doors after a huge number of locals visited the mall to sight the unseen, 500-square-meter fishpond… but Coconuts photographer Kajornsak Intarapong recently took a top secret trip to investigate the site.

Check out photos of how to get there below:

Our last note is a reminder that this venue is not officially open for the public. Even though many people enter New World every day and it’s been covered in the Thai press, if you decide to check out the site you are doing so at your own risk. Enjoy!

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