A Sala, also known as a sala Thai, is an open pavilion, used as a meeting place and to protect people from sun and rain. Most are open on all four sides. They are found throughout Thailand in Buddhist temple areas, or Wats, although they can also be located in other places. A person who builds a sala at a temple or in a public place gains religious merit. A sala located in a temple is called a salawat. Some temples have large salas where laity can hear sermons or receive religious instructions. These are called sala kan parian , meaning pavilion where monks learn for the Parian examination. The city halls or offices of the province governors are called sala wa kan (literally meaning a government pavilion) or sala klang changwat (literally meaning a provincial main pavilion).
In Thailand, they have many purposes similar to the roadside pavilions of Asoka. In rural areas, travelers can use them to rest and reflect. These salas are called sala asai. One at the roadside is a sala rim thanon and may be used as a bus stop. If on a riverbank or canal at a landing-place for watercraft, they are called sala tha nam (water pier pavilions”).