Sala Rai (left), Wat Phra Si Rattanasatsadaram or Wat Phra Kaeo, Bangkok

The Sala is an open pavilion used fro resting. Usually rectangular in plain, it is erected over four wooden or brick pillars supporting the architrave over which rests the steep roof. From the level of the architraves an eave is applied around the Sala to widen the shade. This characteristic is almost universal in Thai buildings. Some more ornamented Sala have eight brackets corresponding each one to the exterior side of the four pillars. These brackets, which in many examples of the Autthaya buildings, were massive and functional, in Bangkok became a mere feeble ornamenttation, or were abolished. Like the more important buildings, fine salas hve glazed tiles and wooden gilded ornaments on the gables.

The entrance and Sara (right) of Wat Ratchanatdaram, Bangkok

Some salas are more complex looking on account of two projecting additions along the longitudinal sides of their rectangular plan, forming in this way a cross plan. In general, this kind of salas has no pyramidal superstructure, but in other cases, such as the salas at the royal summer residence of Bang Pa-In, near Bangkok, have the universal pyramidal roof.

Salas or public rest-house at Bang Pa-In Palace, Ayutthaya

Salas have always been built in large quantity also for civil purposes along roads or canals where people use to pass and rest for a while. In tropical countries where the sun is so strong it is a relief for the passers-by to find here and there some shelters. So much this idea is rooted in the mind of the Thai that to build a sala has become a kind of merit making.