Once upon a time, this mall used to be full of shoppers in Thailand, but now, its home to thousands of fish after it got flooded. New World Mall was built in the 1980’s but was closed in 1997. This was after it was found that the owners had breached building regulations. The mall was originally 11-storeys with seven floors taller than what was approved by the construction blueprint. In 1999, a fire broke out in the same building and it was left without a roof. Later, the 5th to 11th floors were dismantled so that the mall got in line with its original construction plans.
Slowly by slowly, the mall filled up with water and they started encountering mosquito problems. To get rid of the pests, locals introduced fresh waster tilapia into the mall to eat the mosquitoes. Within time, the fish thrived and quickly multiplied. The mall’s lower floors are now filled with fish swimming around the now rusty escalators and across a 5,000sq foot floor. The shops around the mall have taken advantage of this and now sell fish to tourists. To protect the fish, the mall is protected and throwing anything else into it is banned. In fact, a clear sign outside the mall (written in Thai) says: “Do not throw anything into the water”.
Jesse Rockwell, a 30-year-old backpacker, stumbled across the mall while he was travelling in Thailand. “It is quite bizarre – I was really surprised when I came across it. It is literally three blocks away from backpacker central, but nobody is even aware it is there,” he said. “It was very quiet in the mall; I could only hear the sound of splashing fish, even though it’s close to a main road.”
“At some point in the early 2000′s an unknown person began introducing a small population of exotic Koi and Catfish species. The small population of fish began to thrive and the result is now a self-sustained and amazingly populated urban aquarium” – he explains in his blog. “Some people think it was set ablaze because it was too tall. Lots of people in old town Bangkok think it is insulting to build something taller than The Grand Palace. So when the mall was built, people got really angry.”