If youve lived in Bangkok for a while, especially anywhere near the Kho San Road area, youve probably heard stories of an abandoned shopping mall thats been flooded and full of exotic fish. I had, but managed to spend at least a year until I got around to checking the place out that was until today.
Wed heard stories it was really hard to find, and even harder to get into as well as the story behind it. It turns out that the story behind the place is pretty straight forward, and finding out how to get to this abandoned shopping mall full of fishes isnt that hard either!
The legend goes something along these lines:
- In the 80s a property development company built an 11 story shopping mall in the Banglupmhu district that was in breach of certain building laws and apparently 7 stories too high! The area is a historic area for Bangkok with many old government buildings, so code doesnt allow the skyscrapers and malls you see elsewhere.
- The mall was forced to shut in 1997, caught on fire in 1999, someone died there in 2004 after the building started falling to pieces
- The offending floors were removed, reducing it from 11 stories back to its original 5, and of course, the roof was never replaced.
- During Bangkoks annual rainy season, the building flooded, and the water went stagnant, creating an excellent breeding ground for mosquitos. Rumours are that the upper floors are flooded, but its kind of sketchy getting around the floors and I wouldnt want to venture upstairs!
- Fish such as Koi carp were released into the flooded building to keep the Mosquitos under control. Without any predators, the fish bred like underwater rabbits.
- The building was officially closed to the public in 2011, but its pretty easy to sneak via the back doors (locals are even selling fish food) and its easy to find if you know how.
How to find the New World Mall Fish Pond
First find the abandoned mall on the intersection of Thanon Phra Sumen on Samsen Road (Banglumphu Junction), just down the road from Kho San and Rambutree Roads. Usually theres a few cops hanging around the area, or a police tow truck parked up.
Take a right down Thanon Phra Sumen and walk for a few hundred meters until you find the Krungthai Bank (This is the bank with blue signage and what looks like a Dragon on the logo). Turn right into the soi.
Follow Soi Kraisi about 50m, past various food vendors and take a right, you should see some green netting. Dont get lost and end up following the Soi all the way onto the other street (we did that!)
While you are at the green netting, stop and buy some fish food for 10 Baht, leave the money in the container.
Thais often feed fishes or release them into the nearby Chaopraya river to gain merit. Feed the fishes, check out the cool abandoned building but be careful, it is falling apart, and of course the building is basically condemned and private property.
Its worth checking the building out sooner rather than later, the whole area seems to be getting a bit of a tidy up recently, with some buildings on Ratchadomnen road being demolished while others getting fenced off (not to mention the local protestors being around)