Hua Lamphong, or Bangkok Train Station, is the main terminal to northern, eastern, northeastern and southern Thailand. It connects with the MRT underground system and features a distinct half-dome structure, designed by an Italian architect Mario Tamagno in an Italian neo-renaissance style.

Open in 1916, Hua Lamphong boasts an elegant design, similar to several government buildings and public monuments built during the same period, such as the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall, The Bank of Thailand Museum and Parliament building – all designed by the same architect. Its appearance and interior layout have been compared with the Frankfurt Train Station, which also features the half-dome façade, a giant clock on the front gable and open-air passenger galleries.

Hua Lamphong Railway Station in Bangkok - one of the highlights of 7 Movie Locations in Bangkok (Read all about Bangkok here)

photo by Clay Gilliland (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

Hua Lamphong layout

Bangkok Train Station has a simple layout. The entrance leads directly to the ticketing and waiting area. On the left-hand side are the 26 ticketing booths and 2 giant English/Thai electronic information display boards featuring real-time departures and arrivals. To the right of the ticketing booths, there’s a waiting area filled with rows of chairs. There are also a handful of fast food outlets and shops on the ground floor as well as on the mezzanine level.

Walk pass the ticketing area and you arrive at the passenger galleries. Non-passengers are allowed to go inside and all the way to the platforms to see the passengers off or alighting from the carriages. Outdoor parking is located to the west of the station, while taxis are parked right in front, to your right as you exit the station.

photo by David Jones (CC BY 2.0) modified

Ticketing and fares at Bangkok Train Station

Train tickets can be purchased on the same day or in advance, and fares vary according to the type of seat and train. Select your seat and train from the plan displayed on the screen. Make sure you don’t make a mistake, as there are no refunds for purchased tickets. You might be able to change seat, train, or departure time – but only once.

E-tickets are also available, but seats are limited. You can only purchase first and second class air-conditioned sleeper tickets.

photo by shankar s. (CC BY 2.0) modified

Types of seats and trains at Hua Lamphong

Before you purchase a train ticket, it’s good to know the difference between the various types of trains and seats available. First-class seats are air-conditioned and can be converted to sleeping berths. The seating arrangement is more private, with up to 24 seats or single-passenger compartments. Second class seats are also air-conditioned (or non-air-conditioned) and some can be converted to sleeping berths; each compartment has from 26 to 40 seats. Third-class seats are either air-conditioned or non-air-conditioned. 

The types of seats are determined by the types of trains as well. Below are the six types of trains available, from the fastest to slowest. 

Special Express: long-distance trains connecting major destinations, such as Bangkok-Chiang Mai, Bangkok-Yala, Bangkok-Surat Thani, Bangkok-Sawankhalok (Sukhothai) and Bangkok-Butterworth (Malaysia)
Types of seats: First and second class air-conditioned sleepers and non-air-conditioned second class sleepers 

Express: long-distance trains connecting major regional hubs, such as Bangkok-Chiang Mai, Bangkok-Ubonratchathani, Bangkok-Nongkhai, Bangkok-Trang, Bangkok Udonthani
Types of seats: First and second class air-conditioned sleepers, non-air-conditioned second class sleepers, second and third-class seats (either air-conditioned or non-air-conditioned) 

Rapid: long-distance trains connecting major regional destinations, making more stops than Express trains, such as Bangkok-Chiang Mai, Bangkok-Pitsanulok, Bangkok-Nongkhai, Bangkok-Ubonratchathani, Bangkok-Yala, Bangkok-Nakhon Si Thammarat, Bangkok-Sungai Kolok 
Types of seats: Second class sleepers (either air-conditioned or non-air-conditioned) and  second and third class seats (either air-conditioned or non-air-conditioned) 

Ordinary: long-distance trains connecting regional destinations, making every stop, such as Bangkok-Nakhonsawan, Bangkok-Suphanburi, Bangkok-Hua Hin, Thonburi-Ratchaburi, Thonburi-Nakhonpathom, Bang Sue (North Bangkok)-Nakhon Ratchasima
Types of seats: Non-air-conditioned second and third-class seats 

Bangkok Commuter: short-distance commuter trains running between Bangkok and the outskirts (within the 150km radius), making every stop. This is the train you would take to Don Muang Airport. Other destinations include Bangkok-Lopburi, Bangkok-Ratchaburi, Bangkok-Kaeng Khoi (Saraburi), Bangkok-Ratchaburi, Bangkok-Suphanburi, Bangkok-Prachinburi
Types of seats: Non-air-conditioned third-class seats 

Rural Commuter: short-distance commuter trains running between rural provinces, such as Lopburi-Pitsanulok, Nakhonsawan-Chiang Mai, Ayutthaya-Lopburi, Surat Thani-Sungai Kolok, Chomphon-Hat Yai, Nakhon Ratchasima-Ubonratchathani, Nakhon Ratchasima-Udonthani, Kaeng Khoi (Saraburi)-Khon Kaen
Types of seats: Non-air-conditioned third-class seats

photo by Diego Delso (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

Bangkok train excursions

Apart from the destination trains, the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) operates a handful of 1-day train excursions to major regional attractions, such as Kanchanaburi, Hua Hin, Petchaburi, Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, Cha-Am, and Amphawa Floating Market.

Overnight excursions are available to these destinations: Kanchanaburi, Thai-Burmese border at the 3 pagodas pass (Sangkhlaburi, Kanchanaburi), 4 northeastern regions along the Mekong, Bangkok-Nongkhai-Vientiane-Luang Prabang, Bangkok-Nonkhai-Vientiane-Hanoi-Halong Bay-Hue-Danang-Hoi An, Bangkok-Angkor Wat-Angkor Thom, and more.

These excursions trains are ideal for those who have lots of time on their hands or prefer to go slow and enjoy train travelling. Each trip includes accommodation (on sleeper trains or at designated resorts), meals and guides, but excludes admission fees to landmarks, museums or monuments.

Hua Lamphong Railway Station in Bangkok

Location: Maha Phruttharam, Bangrak, Bangkok 10500, Thailand

Willy Thuan | Compulsive Traveller