A Sala for Your Mind

While walking on any of Phuket’s beaches, caressed by a breathtaking sunset, it’s hard not to embrace the easygoing pace life in Thailand. It’s a lifestyle so deeply embedded in every pore of Thai culture, that it even achieved a physical embodiment – sala Thai.

This simple structure is a place of gathering, leisure and shelter against rain and sun. It represents the craftsmanship and skill of traditional Thai carpenters, and as such, it became one of the national symbols of Thailand.

Sala is one of the most basic structures in traditional Thai architecture. It’s built with common building materials, predominantly wood, and it can be easily assembled and disassembled; and yet it became such a huge cultural symbol that now it spans over an entire group of objects. The distinction between different types of sala is usually determined by its location, such as sala wat if located in a temple, sala tha nam if set on a riverbank and serving as a landing-place for watercraft or sala rim thanon, placed on the roadside and often used as a bus stop. Probably the most recognizable is sala nai suan or garden sala, traditionally serving as a resting place after a hard day’s work in the fields. Moreover, garden sala has an important hospitality component, as it used to be considered a public shelter for travellers or people in need.

With rapid technological progress and urbanization, traditional architectural elements are often neglected and their function becomes purely decorative, yet the lifestyle from which sala spurs exceed its wooden form. Go to your favourite spot in Phuket, a place of contemplation, healing and peace, and “build” your own sala.   

Maciek Klimowicz
Maciek Klimowicz

Maciek Klimowicz is the former Editor in Chief at Real Life Phuket. Food, wine, culture and travel are some of the things he enjoys and writes about. Contact Maciek on klimowicz.maciej@gmail.com

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