“Hua Lamphong Station”

Bangkok, Thailand. November 2019. (11 photos)

This is Part 3 of my posts about Thailand, and Part 11 of my posts about my near month-long visit to Myanmar, Thailand and Singapore in November 2019.

The main railway station in Bangkok is officially referred to by the State Railway of Thailand as Sathani Rotfai Krung Thep (สถานีรถไฟกรุงเทพ) in Thai, and Bangkok Railway Station in English. However many locals and tourists know it as Hua Lamphong Station (สถานีหัวลำโพง), the informal name for the station.


The station was opened on 25 June 1916 after six years of construction that started in 1910 in the reign of King Chulalongkorn (the Crown Prince in the musical, The King and I) and finished in the reign of King Vajiravudh.

“Station life”

“The main foyer”

The station was built in an Italian Neo-Renaissance-style, with decorated wooden roofs and stained glass windows, with the Frankfurt (Main) Hauptbahnhof in Germany as a prototype. The architecture is attributed to Turin-born Mario Tamagno and countryman Annibale Rigotti.


Bangkok Train Station has a simple layout. The entrance leads directly to the ticketing and waiting area. There are also a handful of food outlets and shops on the ground floor as well as on the mezzanine level.

Walk past the ticketing area and you arrive at the passenger galleries. Fortunately, non-passengers are allowed to go inside and onto the platforms.

“But first, sleep”

“Seen better days”

Hua Lamphong serves over 130 trains and approximately 60,000 passengers each day.

“Linen service”

“Barber shop on platform 12”

“Time enough to sleep”

“Bangkok Railway Station”

I didn’t realise this when I was there, but the station is scheduled to be closed as the main railway station for Bangkok in 2021, when it will be converted into a railway history museum. The station will also change its official name to Hua Lamphong station. The State Railway of Thailand plans to move Bangkok’s central station to Bang Sue Grand Station.

I’m glad I spent some time there, enjoying the ambience of the station, as given the current world affairs, I am unlikely to see it as a working railway station again.


This is Part 3 of my posts about Thailand, and Part 11 of my posts about my near month-long visit to Myanmar, Thailand and Singapore in November 2019.

Leica Etcetera, Photography Etcetera

Hua Lamphong


58 thoughts on “Hua Lamphong

    • I agree, and the atmosphere of South-east asian stations is different to those Western countries. Observing people at a train station is an interesting observation on life.

  1. I love travelling by train and visiting train stations. Some I visited are real museums, like the ones in Paris, Lisbon, Athens or Moscow. But THESE are the ones I love most. They are so full of life. I’d just sit there for hours and watch.

  2. Your photos are, as always Draco, exquisite. You capture the historical and architectural beauty of the station, as well as the people and the everyday aspects, the busy as well as nuanced moments. It’s a beautiful station, and how fortunate you were able to share this embrace before it is no longer a station. While I really study and appreciate every single photo, my favorites are: the first one (symmetrical with monk), the second one (phones of bygone days), third one (for its poignancy), and fourth one (quirky workers with everydayness). Also liked the barber shop photo. Many thanks.

    • Thank you very much, Jet. I enjoyed exploring the station and finding so many scenes I would not expect to find in my home city. It has a wonderful character but I suppose a more modern facility is required for today’s mass transit of people.

  3. You’ve captured this place with such loving care. I spent a great deal of time at this station with many trips to and from Bangkok but took very few images of the station in my rush to get elsewhere. I am glad that I have your pictures to keep my memories fresh. I had no idea that it will be closed!

  4. And the cleaners are dressed as … ? I love old railway stations. They’re filled with so many emotions, people and trains! Captured the place beautifully. Thanks Draco. Meg

  5. I’m glad you got to see the station while it was still active. 60,000 a day? Wow, that’s a lot of passengers. I’m also glad you’re healthy. That’s the main thing right now


    • Thanks. I visited the station a couple of times on different days. It’s at the edge of Chinatown and all the great street food there. 🙂
      Yes, troubled times for us all at the moment. I hope you’re keeping well, and the relocation hasn’t been too stressful.

      • The move went about as smoothly as it possibly could, for which we’re very thankful. The new rental house is beautiful as is the area, so no complaints. We’re both healthy as are our daughters, one son-in-law, all siblings and their families, and my 91 and 90-year-old parents. Life is indeed good.

  6. It wasn’t till I got to the photo of the main foyer that I could shake off the feeling that there was social distancing going on. Funny how your current state of mind affects the way you see photos, even when you know that the interpretation is not true.

    It must be more crowded usually. Did you just happen to be there at a less crowded time?

    • Indeed, context is everything. As I recall, I visited there 2 or 3 times. It’s on the outskirts of Chinatown, a place of incredible street food, so I did visit more often than I might have otherwise. 🙂 Despite that, I’ve chosen the photos to present carefully, to portray the mood I wanted.

  7. There is never a dull moment in a railway station and you have captured a lot of drama. I am tempted to hand over a mask to the dedicated hairdresser.

    • Yes, railway stations are great for observing people. It’s funny when I took this photo back in November, the masks seemed out of place. Today, masks are normal wear for many.

  8. You were definitely lucky to have seen it as a working railway station. One of those special gifts of travel that one doesn’t even realise at the time. I love the photographs as they tell such wonderful stories.

  9. Hihih! What about that adorable working furry couple? Is this a common practice there? 😀 I had to laugh when I spotted them, mostly because you don’t even mention them. I think they are most lovely.

    • Best to leave some things to be discovered by the viewer – a nice surprise element. Glad you enjoyed it. They were part of a comedy performance. I watched them for quite a while.

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