We took the train from Bangkok to Hua Hin to experience the historic Hua Hin station in all its colorful, vintage glory and glimpse daily life in Thailand.
We are very fond of train travel, and invariably choose to go by rail whenever possible. When we learned we could take the train from Bangkok to Hua Hin for our planned resort stays, we were excited! The most beautiful train station in Thailand was to be our destination.
Boarding our morning express train from Bangkok to Hua Hin at the Bang Sue MRT station, we took our assigned seats and were served a meal with a choice of cold and hot drinks en route. The vintage-looking railway cars were well kept and interiors were fairly clean.
Hua Hin has traditionally been popular with Thai elite for getaways by the sea. Formerly a sleepy fishing village, it is the oldest resort in Thailand. When the railroad was finished in 1911, members of the Royal Family and Bangkok’s aristocracy began to build vacation bungalows in Hua Hin. Within five years, a southern railway line connected Siam with British Malaya. It became common for travelers to break up the journey between Bangkok and Singapore with an overnight or two in Hua Hin.
By 1922, a luxurious resort hotel commissioned by Thai Prince Purachatra had been constructed adjacent to the station, and King Rama VI commissioned a nine-hole Royal Hua-Hin Golf and Tennis Courts for the entertainment of its guests. The 14-room hotel’s design mimicked that of the Marukhatayawan Royal Residence nearby. When the hotel officially opened in 1923, it became instantly popular because of its luxurious and modern appointments. The Hua Hin railway station was where all guests, Royal and not, disembarked from their journey.
Departing the historic Hua Hin train station, 100+ years old. #amazingthailand #thainess #huahinthailand #thaitrain A photo posted by PassingThru (@passingthrucom) on
Travel by train from Bangkok to Hua Hin was still a novelty, and since there were no roads straight through, the train was the only way to get there without taking a boat. A separate Royal Pavilion was moved from another location and placed next to the main depot to await arriving Royals. Throughout the 1920’s European expats would travel north from Penang and Singapore to holiday in Hua Hin, as well.
Today, the cheerful station is just as alive as it was in those days, located in the center of what has now become a bustling modern resort city. We enjoyed people watching and briefly meeting other travelers when we arrived, and a few days later as we all waited together at the historic Hua Hin train station.
Getting there: Purchase your tickets for the express morning train from Bangkok to Hua Hin ahead of time at Bangkok’s Bang Sue MRT station (the last stop on the southbound line). You will come out of the underground and proceed along the surface tracks to the ticket office located in a cluster of retail services. Second class passengers are served a meal (jasmine rice, plain seafood such as clams, and a meat and curry mixture) with non-alcoholic drinks en route. Our tickets were around 450THB each (about $12.50USD).
The express train is scheduled to take about 3-1/2 hours, but this is Thailand. Our train arrived in Hua Hin an hour late, and an arriving train we were scheduled to catch in Hua Hin for Surat Thani was about 90 minutes behind schedule. Go with the flow and enjoy the opportunity to see everyday Thailand.
Where to Stay in Hua Hin: We stayed at three different places in the Hua Hin area and reviewed each of them in detail. Follow the links for more information: Haven Hua Hin is a serene five star ocean front resort in the Cha Am area north of town, Escape Hua Hin is a three star hotel in the center of Hua Hin, and the Chelona and Las Tortugas luxury condos, which are located in the Khao Tao area south of town.