Bangkok hostel offers prison experience

BANGKOK, Aug 17 (Reuters) - 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 pajamas 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.

Take a look inside the new tourist attraction:

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Bangkok's prison themed hostel
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Bangkok's prison themed hostel
A hotel guest wearing prisoner uniform poses for photo on the deck of the Sook Station Bangkok� first prison-themed hostel, Thailand, August 2, 2017. Picture taken August 2, 2017. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmeth? TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A hotel guest wearing prisoner uniform poses for photo on the deck of the Sook Station Bangkok� first prison-themed hostel, Thailand, August 2, 2017. Picture taken August 2, 2017. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
A hotel guest wearing prisoner uniform walks inside the Sook Station Bangkok's first prison-themed hostel, Thailand, August 2, 2017. Picture taken August 2, 2017. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
A hotel guest wearing prisoner uniform is pictured inside her room at the Sook Station Bangkok� first prison-themed hostel, Thailand, August 2, 2017. Picture taken August 2, 2017. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
A hotel guest wearing prisoner uniform is pictured inside her room at the Sook Station Bangkok� first prison-themed hostel, Thailand, August 2, 2017. Picture taken August 2, 2017. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
A hotel guest wearing prisoner uniform is pictured inside her room at the Sook Station Bangkok� first prison-themed hostel, Thailand, August 2, 2017. Picture taken August 2, 2017. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
A hotel guest wearing prisoner uniform poses for photo at the Sook Station Bangkok?s first prison-themed hostel, Thailand, August 2, 2017. Picture taken August 2, 2017. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
A room of the Sook Station Bangkok� first prison-themed hostel is pictured, Thailand, August 2, 2017. Picture taken August 2, 2017. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
Hotel guests wearing prisoner uniform spend time on the deck of the Sook Station Bangkok's first prison-themed hostel Thailand, August 2, 2017. Picture taken August 2, 2017. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
A hotel guest is pictured inside her room at the Sook Station Bangkok� first prison-themed hostel, Thailand, August 2, 2017. Picture taken August 2, 2017. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
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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," Sittichai told Reuters, 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." ($1=33.28 baht) (Reporting by Donna Airoldi and Juarawee Kittisilpa; Editing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Darren Schuettler)

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