Khuk Khi Kai, Thailand’s Chicken Poop Prison

The site of Khuk Khi Kai in Pak Nam Laem Sing

photography by: icon0/ Wikimedia Commons

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Even though for most of us, a prison is a far-off concept, it is inextricably associated with dread and horror. Throughout history, there were numerous jailhouses that were notorious for their unbearable conditions, and yet, one slammer in Thailand apparently stood in a league of its own. Nestled in the province of Chanthaburi, the former Khuk Khi Kai Prison employed a rather brutal method of torture – an incessant shower of chicken manure over its unfortunate detainees.

Following the Siamese-French Conflict and the subsequent Treaty of Bangkok in 1893, the Kingdom of Siam (the precursor of modern-day Thailand) was forced to cede large swathes of land to French Indochina, including Laos and parts of Cambodia. Additionally, the province of Chanthaburi would come under the control of the French colonial troops for 12 years, during which uprisings by locals were a thing of the norm.


In 1893, as part of their effort to quell the multiple acts of resistance by Thai dissidents, the French erected a crammed jail, where prisoners of war were treated in such a harsh way that even the worst of prisons today might seem like a five-star resort in comparison. Located in a coastal townlet within the district of Laem Sing, Khuk Khi Kai is a 4.4-meter-wide and 7-meter-tall brick building pierced with a couple of slits, and whose apparent plainness hides a somewhat gruesome past.


It was here where inmates were huddled like sardines across the ground level while a full-fledged chicken coop was placed directly above them. Since the two floors were separated solely by a porous platform, the ill-fated prisoners down below were constantly deluged with poultry droppings, engulfing their claustrophobia-inducing cell with a fetid stench.


Before you deem chicken feces as a mere nuisance, its harmful effects are potent enough to cause a plethora of serious health issues within several hours, if not minutes. In fact, the poop’s high content of ammonia triggers all sorts of symptoms, including nausea, headaches and skin Irritation, to name just a few. Longer exposure can even result in raspatory problems and lethal infections.


The unimaginably tormenting experience that these Thai captives went through led some to claim that Khuk Khi Kai’s dubious reputation is merely a fable, stating instead that the alleged prison served as a watchtower. Whether you choose to believe this poop-laden story or not is up for you, one thing is evident though, this quirky place has become a pilgrimage site among dark tourism enthusiasts.