The Secret Of The Abandoned Fish Mall

Down a nondescript soi in old town Bangkok lies a relatively unknown hidden gem. Without a good knowledge of Bangkok geography, one would be hard pressed to believe anything interesting lies behind this gate.

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The posted sign reads in Thai “strictly no entrance beyond this point”

New World shopping mall, a four storey former shopping mall. Originally constructed as an eleven storey building. It was found to be in breach of old town Bangkok’s four storey limit on building heights. The top seven floors were demolished to adhere to building codes in 1997. In 1999 the mall burned due to suspected arson committed by a competitor in the area. The disaster resulted in several casualties, and the building has remained abandoned ever since. Not having a roof, the basement floor remains under several feet of water year round. 

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. I will not tell exactly where it is, as locals somewhat discourage people visiting it. In fact we had to wait for a policeman who was parked on his motorcycle in front of the gate to leave before we timidly entered. Below are a few pictures to give you an idea of the absolutely staggering amount of fish. Enjoy! and if you are really curious as to where it is located, you can email me at jesserockwell26@gmail.com

There are 43 comments left Go To Comment

  1. msneill /

    Amazing find, I will have to watch the blog.

    1. Jesse Rockwell / Post Author

      Thank You! Please do. I am very pleased you find it interesting.

  2. John /

    This is amazing! What a find! The degree to which they’re thriving is absolutely incredible.

  3. gordon /

    That is so wonderfully surreal.

  4. Nara Vajrathorn /

    Dear Jesse,

    This is an interesting find, well done. My partner & i will be in Bangkok for 2 weeks in middle of January and would like to check out this secret fish pond. Can you please provide us with the address of this abandon Mall.

    Kind Regards,
    Nara Vajrathorn

  5. Pingback: The Secret of an Abandoned Mall in Old Town Bangkok | theo's gallimaufry /

  6. Russell Gendolfe /

    Amazing what can happen when life and things are left alone and void of human intervention ! Life will find a way to grow and thrive without us . Nice work .

  7. Gary /

    I wonder if locals eat the catfish?

  8. Lewie /

    The pictures show Tilapia, an introduced African species, I suspect this also has the distinction of being where a good portion of the neighborhood get their daily fish diet from.

  9. Kai /

    I wonder what does the fish feed on, and if they are themselves used as food.

    1. brain box /

      mossys and flys insects ect .. same as any normal fish

  10. mykal /

    it is so incredible…how many fish u think… Thousands maybe

  11. Radcliffe Lewis /

    You know they are selling that fish. The fish are cute, but lord, the building is ugly. Someone needs to relocate all that fish, drop the building, and build a fish-quarium and mall filled with restaurants and fishy groceries. Cleaner, better, and not all that rust – paint, etc.

  12. LerLer /

    wow. a great idea to prevent mosquitoes. It also helps to grow some food in abandon places. GOod Idea

  13. Adam Rosenberg /

    did you actually stand in water? how does one open the door? do you go in on the second floor

    i am intrigued by your shots but am interested in the locations in the mall you took them from, eg did you have to balance on a wall, hold anything to not fall in?
    Id be grateful for an explanation

    1. Jesse Rockwell / Post Author

      No, there is a concrete area to stand on above the water. You can’t really get anywhere else without getting wet.

  14. RobRob /

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the locals are keeping it secret as a food source. Suddenly, I want to find a burnt out local building and stock it with some fish, maybe let some budgies go native…

  15. George /

    Why only take four pictures?

    1. Jesse Rockwell / Post Author

      I have many more. They are under license now though….

  16. Joey /

    Hey Jesse, fantastic photos! They were published on the Verge recently and I was inspired to make a quick painting, which you can check out here if you’re interested. http://princeling.net/post/90457855444/new-world-shopping-mall-5-hrs-was-really
    Keep taking adventurous shots!

    1. Jesse Rockwell / Post Author

      Wow! I love it! Thank you for taking the time to do that.

    2. Nick /

      Joey, can i see more of your art work. More on mysterious and hidden garden theme. Do you sell your artwork?
      Thanks. Btw, just remove the red dressed girl in the middle would be glad.
      Email: n8cky@yahoo.com

    3. Sshar /

      Beautiful painting, Joey–how wonderful to be so talented. And what a subject…who would think an old, abandoned building would provide such beauty! (Lol…well, except maybe for Jesse Rockwell. Very interesting, Sir–thank you!)

  17. Heather /

    How did you get in? I would think if you opened a door on the ground level, water and fish would come pouring out… And where did you walk if it’s flooded? Did you have to wade through the water and fish? This is really cool though. Thanks for sharing!

  18. Rhurbarb Calypso /

    I love seeing nature take over like this. That shot of the escalator is priceless.

  19. ck lin /

    they look like red tilapia. what kind of feed do they live on is most puzlling.

  20. bisot /

    cant believe it, but i think this is a good idea for abandoned places

  21. DC /

    Amazing! But I wonder what do they feed on to survive?

    1. Creeps /

      The corpse of the ill fated individuals…. Just kidding… I think there are lots of organic sources down below (might be wood, soil, whatever) and probably vegetation grew through time providing the key for the success of this amazing ecosystem

  22. Wendy /

    Any idea what they eat? It’s incredible that it’s self sustaining and so many fish!

  23. Wp /

    I think it’s a fake but i still admired the idea

    1. Jesse Rockwell / Post Author

      I can assure you it’s not fake!

  24. David King /

    Just shows you how badly governments have managed the worlds ecosystems.

  25. Amy /

    This is amazing! I have lived in Bangkok for 5 years now and I really wanna check this place out for myself! Where you allowed into the area without any hassle? These photos are brilliant!

  26. Byron Perry /

    More photos and history of the New World Mall here, y’all!
    http://bangkok.coconuts.co/2013/06/19/bangkok-fishbowl-exotic-species-swim-free-abandoned-mall

  27. Ms. Z to A /

    Amazing! Wonder how many genus and species of fishes are there…. I hope this gets preserved for this is a miracle of nature :) amidst abandonment, life still thrived and fluorished

  28. Andy /

    How can anyone find this disgusting thing amazing? at mall should never be build and become a junk on nature…poor fishes… i wish those fishes would be on their lovely lakes and rivers….

  29. Dennis Rito /

    Hi Chef Jesse, some sites who republished your blog post call some of the fishes to be Koi and Catfish. But upon close examination, I think most of the fish are red tilapia and oreochromis niloticus (nile tilapia) varieties right? Correct me if I’m wrong. Thanks and regards.

    1. Jesse Rockwell / Post Author

      I am no fish expert, but I think the consensus is tilapia.

  30. Helen Eldridge /

    I assume the local people are feeding them and looking after them as a private food source. I just wonder whether there is any inflow or outflow of water, as it must surely get pretty filthy after a time, and I would think the health of the fish would suffer.

  31. Bangkok-resident /

    There are too many fish to live on insects alone. Which means someone has turned the building into an unofficial fish farm, feeding the fish to sell later when they are grown.

    1. Jesse Rockwell / Post Author

      There are a ton of foodstalls right next to it ;o

  32. yiliang /

    The first picture, on the right, is the gate to access the place? and the alley on the left is some eatery?

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