Bangkok hos­tel of­fers guests prison ex­pe­ri­ence

Global Times - Weekend - - TRAVEL -

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 neigh­bor­hood 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-yearold 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 cagedin 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 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 its style and friendly staff “feels like home.”

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