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This Bangkok hostel offers the prison experience. Yes, you can check out and leave.

The Sook Station hostel offers prison-themed experience

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 August, 2017, 2:01pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 August, 2017, 2:02pm

With its narrow rooms, metal bars and bunk beds, Bangkok’s first prison-themed hostel promises the look and feel of a real jail in the bustling Thai capital.

The Sook Station hostel in Bangkok’s Udom Suk neighbourhood offers guests pinstriped pyjamas for 700 baht (US$21) and a wall with a height chart where they can have their mugshots taken.

The nine-room hostel is the first foray into the hospitality industry for Sittichai Chaivoraprug, 55, and his wife, 49-year-old Piyanat Teekavanich, after careers in the technology sector.

They were inspired by a shared love of travel and the 1994 prison escape film The Shawshank Redemption, starring Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins.

The hostel’s design includes blackout doors and windows in two rooms to create the feeling of being in solitary confinement. Showers are located on a caged-in rooftop.

For guests who may feel a sense of claustrophobia, seven rooms have a small balcony.

Thailand expects to welcome almost 35 million foreign tourists – nearly half the country’s population – in 2017. Many of them visit or transit through Bangkok, a regional travel hub.

Sook Station charges between 790 to 1,630 baht ($24-$49) a night for the prison-themed experience.

“People love it or hate it,” Sittichai said, adding that most bookings have come by word of mouth.

Some guests like Yui, a 42-year-old hotel worker, are repeat customers.

“I feel it’s a real prison because when I arrived it was dark,” Yui said. Now on her third stay, she said the hostel’s style and friendly staff “feels like home”.