By Danny Baggott @Dan_Baggie
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For over a decade, Bangkok’s New World Mall became heavily flooded and thousands of fish inhabited the roofless remains.
This sparked a mass clear out in 2015 with workers from the local Fisheries Department transferring them to a number of centres in the province.
However, photographer Dax Ward recently ventured to the forgotten mall and discovered the fish had started to return.
Dax, 36, said: “The condemned and abandoned New World Mall in Bangkok’s Bang Lam Phu district was built sometime in the early 1980s but only remained open for 15 years before shutting its doors for good.
“Shoddy architecture and irresponsible demolition work created a collapse in the mall in 2005 with the upper floors left exposed to the elements resulting in 500 metres of completely flooded pond space on the ground floor.
“This caused an outbreak of mosquitos which became a nuisance in the area, so local residents and vendors began putting fish into the pond in order to combat this but they started multiplying over the years.
“The pond may or may not have been drained at some point, but the rainy seasons seem to have kept the water in place and fish stocks are beginning to return.”
The site is apparently still visited by some urban explorers and street artists and when Dax heard rumours of the fish returning – he felt the need to document the story.
He said: “I saw an array of carp and two large and colourful koi which stood out amongst the darkness of the bottom floor.
“There is an array of vibrant, mainly fish and mosquito-themed graffiti murals on the walls of the upper floors which give some character to such a dark atmosphere.
“Though the site is condemned and difficult for good reason, I managed to find a way to climb up and through an opening – getting in was no easy task, but one inside the immediate sight of the vast mall was almost overwhelming.”
Dax believes tourists should never try to enter the abandoned mall due to the prohibited access – and he is convinced people now only go inside to graffiti the building or capture some eerie photographs.
“I’m really happy that I made the effort to go in as I came out with some strong images,” Dax said.
“Once again, I found myself totally alone in the middle of a huge metropolitan area which is one of the most exciting aspects, in my opinion, of urban exploration.
“I’m glad that I took the risk to get inside – there are a few places like this on my radar for the future.”