Prison-themed hostel experience in Bangkok

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

The Sook Station hostel in Bangkok's Udom Suk neighbourhood offers guests pin-striped pyjamas for 700 baht (S$29) 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 Piyanat Teekavanich, 49, 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 - this year.

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," Mr 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 first arrived it was dark," she said. - REUTERS