Nearly all of the trains in Thailand operate from Bangkok’s Hualamphong Station which is right in the centre of this city. Just a few local trains (mainly trains to Kanchanaburi and Nam Tok) use the much smaller Thonburi or Bangkok Noi, as it is sometimes known, station on the other side of the river. A few Trains also depart from Wongwian Yai Station to Mae Khlong-Mahachai western line and Samut Prakan and the renowned Mahachai Market Train.
Hualamphong Station itself is an impressive Hanger like building designed by Italian architect Mario Tamagno. It has over 20 platforms which are very busy and dotted with freight waiting to be dispatched to its destinations all over Thailand. There are twenty six ticket offices to cope with the demand from the thousands of passengers that depart from here everyday.
The Platforms in the station are also filled with luggage carts, piles of boxes, baggage, vendors carts, various permanent residents like dogs, cats, and beggars as well as the passengers and their friends and relatives meeting them or saying goodbye. The platforms inside Bangkok’s Hualamphong Train Station resemble an ‘obstacle-course’. While waiting for your train instead of sitting in the waiting hall it is more fun to wander up and down the platforms and immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the station.
Hualamphong Station is very close to Chinatown, the Chao Phraya River, Silom and Sukhumvit areas which are accessible by using the MTR Underground and its connections to the Sky Train so you can save on taxi fares and avoid being stuck in Bangkok’s notorious traffic.
If you have a few hours to wait for your train to depart there are a couple of Temples close by which are worth a visit and will help pass the time. I visited Wat Traimit which the home of the Golden Buddha. It takes about 10 minutes to walk there and is well sign posted and easy to find.
In the station there is a fantastic Food Hall where you can have a freshly cooked meal at very reasonable price. It’s best to walk around all the counters first and choose which food you would like to eat and then go and buy your coupons for the price of the meal you fancied. There is so much variation to choose from so take your time.
Upstairs there are some more expensive Coffee outlets where you can sit on the balcony and look down at all the people milling around the station. Near the entrance to the platforms there is a 7/11 convenience store that serves good iced coffee alot cheaper than the Coffee House upstairs and you can also stock up with snacks for your journey if you haven’t already.
Tucked away in the right hand corner of the waiting area are the Rest Rooms where you can even have a shower and freshen up before your journey at a very reasonable rate. In the corner by the Main entrance is the Left Luggage Office.
So you can see Hualamphong Station is really a small village and there to be enjoyed. Arrive there a few hours early, walk the platforms, enjoy a meal and shower and even leave your luggage and take a tour of the vicinity and visit a nearby Wat before your journey onwards begins.