What is it like living in captivity? Visit this Bangkok hostel for the prison experience | travel | Hindustan Times
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What is it like living in captivity? Visit this Bangkok hostel for the prison experience

The Sook Station hostel in Bangkok offers the look and feel of a real jail.

travel Updated: Aug 17, 2017 13:28 IST
The hostel’s design includes black-out doors and windows in two rooms to create the feeling of being in solitary confinement.
The hostel’s design includes black-out doors and windows in two rooms to create the feeling of being in solitary confinement.(facebook.com/sookstation)

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 pin-striped pyjamas for 700 baht ($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 black-out 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,” said Sittichai, 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”.

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