The door locks behind you and the timer overhead begins to count down in ominous, angry red numbers.
You’ve stepped into your first Escape Room and you’re immediately overwhelmed with the enormity of the task before you. Which props are clues and which are just set dressing? Is the question you being asked a riddle or a legitimate query?
Scattered about you is the evidence – a bloody pile of limbs, a hazardous material bin crammed with discarded gloves, or a stack of shipping crates littered with faded postcards.
You and your motley crew of friends are now racing against the clock to solve a series of riddles and earn your freedom.
The penalty for failure? The ignominy of being bested by the riddles.
The reward for success? Bragging rights!
What is an Escape Room?
An escape room is a themed puzzle that can be played by teams of 2-5 over the course of one hour.
Each escape room is typically divided into three or more small rooms united by a common theme. Each of these smaller rooms has a number of riddles that must be solved to find combinations or keys with which to eventually gain access to the next room.
Themes tend to be about solving mysteries, whether it’s the identity of Jack the Ripper or the way in which to restart the earth’s atmosphere after an experiment gone wrong.
Over the course of an hour you’re challenged to solve riddles, puzzles, simple mathematical problems, and more in your search for the truth and, most importantly, escape.
Daunted? Here are some escape room tips to get you in the right frame of mind.
Grab your Ticket to Mystery in Bangkok
I arrived in Bangkok as unaware of Escape Rooms as I was of the wonder of 7-11 cheese toasties, but I was intrigued from the moment my friend Alice from Teacake Travels suggested we give the Bangkok Escape Room a whirl.
Accompanied by Alice, Brendon from Nerd Travels, Cherie and Terrill from Flight of the Travel Bee, and Rutavi from Photo Katha, we ventured to Bangkok’s Gateway Ekkamai Mall to participate in not one but two escape room riddles.
Stepping through a cunningly concealed secret door, we were immediately split into groups of three and ushered into our various rooms.
Myself and the Flight of the Travel Bee crew would be solving the mystery of Jack the Ripper, while the others would take on a dystopian future.
There’s a kind of frantic adrenaline that surges through your veins as the adventure starts, and that’s especially true when you’re fishing through a bucket of severed limbs in a dark ‘alley’. The ticking clock overhead imparts a real sense of immediacy to your situation and even though you know it’s just a game, you’re desperate to solve the escape room and return to sanity.
After successfully solving the riddle of Jack the Ripper, we’d switch places with the other group to tackle the substantially harder ‘Ghost Tower’ with its blaring klaxons and post-apocalyptic setting. We went in buoyed by our initial success, but soon found that not all escape rooms are created equal.
Most Escape Room locations will have multiple themed rooms with differing levels of difficulty, and the Ghost Tower proved too much for both of our groups.
Everything You Need to Know About Ticket to Mystery, Bangkok
Ticket to Mystery is located on the 3rd floor of the Gateway Ekkamai Mall on the corner of Sukhumvit Soi 42. It is accessible via BTS (the Ekkamai stop) as well as taxi and Uber.
A game costs 800 baht (roughly $25 AUD) per person and lasts for one hour.
Solving Mysteries in Sydney Escape Hunt
Less than a fortnight after I’d survived the Bangkok Escape Room, I had the opportunity to take on its Sydney cousin with some of my oldest friends in tow.
With all three rooms at the Sydney Escape Room boasting a colonial theme, you’re given the option of a mystery in a pub, a worker’s cottage, or a shipyard. Very 1800s Aussie.
We were placed into the Shipyard, which we were told is the medium difficulty option that the Sydney Escape Room offers. After a quick explanation of the rules to my naïve allies, we’re digging through shipping crates, checking lengths of rope for riddles, and wishing one of us hadn’t eaten jalapeno poppers for lunch.
Hint: It was me. Sorry guys!
Our time in the escape room proved to be especially thrilling, as we managed to defeat the room with just over a minute to spare!
Everything You Need to Know About Sydney Escape Hunt
Sydney Escape Hunt is located at number 393 George Street, and you’ll find it on the 4th floor of the Jenny Craig building opposite Dymocks.
Games are $42 AUD per person and last for one hour.
Why I Love Escape Rooms
What I love about escape rooms (more than the opportunity to show off my riddle solving skills) is that it is about teamwork. While I was able to solve the riddle of the blue light number puzzle, it required my best friend to figure out the number riddle.
When Rob was able to sniff out the clues for one puzzle, it was Randy’s persistence that got us through the next one.
And if you get really stuck, the staff are watching on CCTV and are just a buzzer press away if you really want a hint.
Have you ever tried an Escape Room? Where was it and how did you like it?
Interested in trying your hand at an escape room? Check out the Escape Hunt website to see where your nearest escape room experience can be found!