“Settling in a happy career” in a spacious, fully-equipped house is the desire of many young people when living in a big city. However, with rising prices and meager wages, many people choose to live in cramped rooms to save costs.
Faced with that situation, super small rooms, only 3-7m2 wide, were born. This form of hostel is favored by a group of students and low-income workers. Depending on the location, the price as well as the living conditions of each inn varies. However, they all have in common that the cramped space easily makes people living inside feel suffocated, falling into depression if they live for a long time. And in the middle of that small space, they still strive, study and work day by day with the dream of changing their lives and having a better future.
Hong Kong (China) is known as the most expensive place to rent in Asia in particular and the world in general. Many students and low-income workers here are familiar with the form of a 3-meter-wide inn, often called “”coffin house” or “cage house”.
Tight living space in 3m2-wide hostels in Hong Kong (China)
Apartments about 40m2 can be divided into nearly 20 bedrooms with 2 tight floors. Tenants of all occupations and genders, often only staying here temporarily for short periods of time, will then seek to rent elsewhere because staying for a long time can easily lead to depression.
In 2022, when the real estate market in Hong Kong heats up again, affordable small apartments such as “coffin houses” are especially noticed by young buyers. But besides the price advantage, the “coffin house” has many problems such as narrow living space, the toilet right next to the bed, the possibility of fire and explosion…
The “coffin house” has many problems such as poor sound insulation, easy fire and explosion, tight living space…
Goshiwon, or “matchbox inn” has been associated with generations of Korean students for more than 40 years. This is a form of renting a micro-house, just enough for one person, with poor living conditions, often cheaply hired by poor students or those preparing for civil service exams.
Close-up inside a Goshiwon room (not including toilet)
In Korean culture, living in Goshiwon means you accept separation from friends, not socializing at all. Many people who live here share that it is no different from a matchbox or a solitary confinement prison, they do not consider this a true motel room.
Each Goshiwon has an area of only 3-5m2. In a tight space, the occupants are equipped with a table, bed, wardrobe, and small items. Tenants can share bathrooms and kitchens.
The price of such accommodation ranges from 200k-500k won/month (about 4.6-11.6 million dong). Goshiwon is prone to fire and explosion, having to share the toilet is very inconvenient. Besides, the online advertising image seems to be shimmering, but when checking in, many people are quite shocked because it is not as advertised.
Korean students often hire Goshiwon because of the cheap price
Because each Goshiwon room is very small, people here often cook and live in a common room, with a larger area.
In Vietnam, Goshiwon or “coffin house” appeared in the inner city of Hanoi with the name of a honeycomb inn or a matchbox inn. Similar to Korea and Hong Kong, this form of rental is also popular with students and low-income workers.
In a multi-storey house, except for the 1st floor which is a garage, the remaining floors are divided into 2 compartments. Each room is further subdivided into 8-10 single rooms located close together, separated by a thin piece of plywood. To move between the matchbox rooms, you will go through an iron staircase, less than 1m wide, just enough for one person to pass. Due to the extremely small area of the rooms, a 5-storey building can hold up to 54 large and small matchbox rooms.
Close-ups of rooms that are only 3-7 square meters wide in Vietnam, also known as “matchbox inn” or “honeycomb inn”
The cost of renting a closed room without such a window ranges from 1.5-1.7 million VND/month including: rent, electricity and water, wifi, toilet. For rooms with windows, the room rental price can be higher from 100-200k/month.
People with claustrophobia should consider more carefully because the living space here is really small. The height is a limitation of the matchbox inn because the ceiling is low, a person over 1m80 tall can completely hit his head when moving. In addition, the single rooms are designed close to each other, only separated by a thin piece of wood, so the problem of sound insulation is relatively poor.
Rooms are not for people with claustrophobia
Do you have the option to live in these matchbox inns?