Prison-themed hostel in Bangkok
Black-and-white striped pyjamas, a mugshot, and lights out by 8pm. What picture does that conjure in your mind? Certainly not a little ol’ hostel in Bangkok. Furnished exactly like a prison cell, SooK Station is meant to give you the experience of prison quarters – without having to serve time.
If you’re fancying a trip to the Land of Smiles this holiday determined to have a brand new BKK experience, this unassuming themed hostel in the middle of a street in Bangkok’s Udom Suk neighbourhood will provide an adventure nothing short of peculiar and exciting.
The Lobby a.k.a The prison reception
The hotel lobby doubles up as a cafe, with minimalist accents all around. To add even more bizarreness to this kooky concept, the concierge-cum-check-in desk is also the cashier counter for food and drink orders. This odd and amusing feature was a great start to an interesting stay, and I was even more intrigued for other eccentricities the hostel had in store.
The check-in counter where you can also conveniently order food and drinks
Upon check-in, in true prison fashion, everyone is issued black-and-white PJs and beanies, each with different serial numbers – cue Les Mis feels. Take the lift up to the 2nd floor, where all that stands between you and your new quarters for the next few days is a heavy fenced door.
I found myself chanting ‘Prisoner 24601’ in my head the entire time!
A mugshot letterboard is stuck just outside, and you simply can’t not take a pic of yourself in those cute PJs before entering!
Jail cells as our hostel room
The entire 2nd floor makes up the guest rooms, or more aptly, the jail cells. Walls and surroundings are painted in dreary colours of grey, white, and black to accurately evoke the bleak atmosphere suggestive of a prison. Cold, concrete benches with grey brick walls to lean against fill the open area.
Like actual cells, the rooms are built side by side along a single row
The novelty of SooK Station was borne from the film The Shawshank Redemption, and while the hostel’s furnishings definitely bears similarities to a jail, it holds none of the gritty and dank conditions here.
No, ‘prisoners’ here get quite the luxury; there’s an air-conditioner outfitted in each room, with a curtain you can pull across the floor-to-ceiling glass panel attached to your iron grille cell door for some privacy!
I’d recommend the 2-bunk bedroom if you really want to feel like you’re a convicted criminal – the room is narrow but unexpectedly cosy.
There are 2 types of rooms you can book here – those with 2 bunk beds from 1,800 Baht (~S$75), and the Family Room from 2,200 Baht (~S$91) which consists of 2 bunk beds and a queen-sized bed.
To really drive home the prison aesthetic, you only get a tiny bedside table next to the bunk beds. The walking space is wide enough for one person to walk along at any point in time, so we had to employ the shuffle dance anytime we wanted to move about the room.
Prior to heading to SooK Station, I made sure I was super prepared – I packed extra portable chargers and my kindle – we were gonna stay in a ‘prison’ after all. Even bringing my laptop was seemingly a useless idea because I figured, what was the point? So imagine my surprise when I saw power sockets and a night light next to each bunk bed!
Note: You’ll have to return the PJs during checkout!
The Bathing Situation
Rusting doors at the cubicles give it a sordid and grimy look
Bathrooms are shared, with the men’s on the left and women’s on the right. In the toilet, everything from the sink to the cubicles are shaped in squares and rectangles – fashioned to be clinical and practical, like any prison.
The chill seating area
A bath towel, face towel, and a bottle of water is also provided for each guest, so you can go easy on the packing. There are also hair-dryers placed in the toilets, so you truly don’t need to fret about little necessities like these.
Everything here is a stark reminder that you’re supposed to be incarcerated, even when you’re walking about freely. As you make your descent from the mezzanine floor to the cafe, you’ll find that metal bars stand tall in the wake of banisters.
The hostel also functions as a regular cafe and co-working space for non-guests, so it’s perfectly normal to see ‘criminals’ and law-abiding citizens sharing the same space here. Their cafe looks like a place straight out of a minimalist interior design leaflet, so it’s a great spot to pop by for anyone wanting some quiet time while soaking in them #scandi vibes.
You can “buy time” on their computers for half an hour!
Our breakfast set against a wooden table – #scandi vibes ignited!
While breakfast isn’t included in the price, you can opt to add it into your room package for an additional 200 Baht (~S$8). Alternatively, take your pick from a range of Thai and Western fare such as Rice with Pork and Basil Leaves, 65 Baht (~S$2.70); Toast, 25 Baht (~S$1); Waffles, 50 Baht (~S$2); and Sandwiches, 65 Baht (~S$2.70).
Even the co-working spaces make you feel like you’re behind bars!
Us prisoners have quite a bit of freedom to walk around, so if you want to get some fresh air, feel free to lounge on the chairs along the veranda on the mezzanine floor.
All prisons have a “lights-out” time, and SooK Station is no different. By 8pm, the doors to the hostel are locked, and the lights switched off. It’s all quiet, with not a sound save for the occasional cough from your fellow inmates along the corridor.
Just tap this against the panel and you’ll be let in!
However, you don’t have to fear punishment of any sort if you’re out enjoying Bangkok’s nightlife and can’t make it back before curfew. You’ll be given a token that will buzz you right back in. Just make sure to creep up the stairs quietly so that you don’t wake the guard…kidding.
SooK Station: a prison you won’t want to break out of
The SooK Station is every bit as quirky as I’d imagined – and more. ‘Sook’ means happiness in Thai, as the owners mean for their guests to feel happy during their time here, and boy did we thoroughly enjoy ourselves to bits here!
The owners and staff were nothing short of warm and friendly, and the attention to detail to emanate the theme was absolutely wonderful. While the interior was decked out in melancholic shades, the aura was the complete opposite.
If you’re game for anything themed, try this hostel out on your next visit to Bangkok. This is one prison where you won’t suffer from any prison break inclinations – on the contrary, you’ll probably end up wanting to extend your stay here!
Address: 45-49 Soi Sukhumvit 101/2, Sukhumvit Road, Bangna, Bangna, Bangkok 10260 (100m walk from Udom Suk BTS station)
Telephone: +66 95 854 5959/+66 86 332 0555
This post was brought to you by Amazing Thailand.