While it’s officially known as Bangkok Railway Station, virtually everyone in the city except for the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) refers to it as Hualamphong.
Many dozens of trains depart from Hualamphong each day. Popular destinations include Ayutthaya and Lopburi in the Central region; Phitsanulok and Chiang Mai in the North; Nong Khai and Ubon Ratchathani in the Northeast; and Chumphon and Surat Thani down South. It’s fine to buy tickets for most trains at the station on the day of departure, but you should book well in advance if wanting a sleeper, especially on a Bangkok to Chiang Mai train, during high season. You can look up departure times and fares (though some are usually outdated) at the state railway's website.
An easy way to reach Hualamphong from many parts of Bangkok is the MRT Blue Line—Hua Lamphong MRT Station connects to the railway station via an underground walkway. A meter taxi to or from Khao San Road should cost 70 to 120 baht and take around 20 minutes outside of rush hours. These are always available in front of the station but you’ll probably have to haggle with tuk tuk drivers and insist that taxis use the meter.
You can also use free khlong boats that ply Phadung Krung Kasem Canal to go between Hualamphong and the Thewet (National Library) area north of Khao San Road. To find the pier at Hualamphong, head out the front entrance and walk to the right (west) before turning right again (north) and walking along the west side of the station, passing the car park. You’ll see the pier near a green bridge on the left after 100 metres or so.
Inside the main hall, ticket counters cover one entire wall while eateries, cafes, banks, convenience stores, Thai massage, a police office and post office are all within sight of a central open area. Large bags can be kept at the “Left Luggage” office in the back corner of the main hall for 40 baht per day, per 10 kilos. Also check out the cool fortune-teller machine by the bathrooms. If you have time to kill, a small museum is worth a peek just west of the main entrance.
The station has a bunch of ticket counters and we’ve never had to queue for more than 20 minutes. Once you’ve bought one, walk through the doorway marked by a giant portrait of King Rama V, check the number on your ticket and look for your train at the corresponding numbered platform. Digital screens with destination names in English also mark departing trains.
If you need to spend a night here, The Train Guesthouse and @ Hua Lamphong Hostel are both decent budget spots within steps of the entrance, while Cozy Place is a great choice a little further away. Just across the canal, the Central Station Hotel is more of an upscale option. Otherwise you could venture a little deeper into Chinatown and stay at Shanghai Mansion, Hotel Royal Chinatown or River View Guesthouse, to name a few.
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.