Southeast Asia's most picturesque?
Crimson-and-beige signs with pointed tops are found all over Hua Hin, from cafes to markets, right down to the street signs. All of them attempt to capture the style of Hua Hin Train Station, one of the oldest and arguably the most picturesque in Southeast Asia. Most people only think of going to a train station if they want to catch a train, but here, the station is an attraction in its own right.
Built during the reign of King Rama VI in the early 20th century, the station quickly made Hua Hin reachable from as far away as Singapore. A short walk down Chalerm Kasem Road, the town’s first beach resort was built in tandem with the station. Just as they did nearly a century ago, pedal-powered rickshaws wait out front to transport tourists to their hotels.
Built almost entirely of teakwood, the well-preserved main building features high ceilings, gabled roofs with ceramic tiles, intricate woodcarvings, elegant beams and elaborate tile floors. Nearby is the royal waiting room, an ornate structure that was originally part of the Sanam Chandra Palace complex in Nakhon Pathom. It was moved to Hua Hin in the 1960s as a sort of VIP waiting room for guests of the royal family.
With decks, outdoor tables and souvenirs, the atmospheric coffee shop that’s connected to the station is a perfect spot to relax while you wait for that train. Even if you’re not travelling, it’s worth a trip just to sip an espresso as you watch the world go by. On the other side of the tracks sprawls the Royal Hua Hin Country Club, the city’s original golf course.
In front of the station sits an antique steam locomotive along with several giant banyan trees decorated with colourful spirit ribbons. The city’s central spirit shrine is also placed at the centre of an adjacent traffic circle. Just east of that is Hua Hin Fire Station, occupying a similarly old (but not as well preserved) piece of colonial-era architecture. Though it takes a lot longer than coming by road, reaching Hua Hin by train is worth it just for the nostalgic arrival.
See the Hua Hin transport section for info on travelling by train.
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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