Getting from Bangkok to Hua Hin by train takes around 4 hours, and this is a journey that many Bangkokians make, especially at weekends. Hua Hin is around 229 km from Bangkok by train, and is the most popular seaside resort that is easily accessible from the capital. We’ve visited Hua Hin on many occasions, and it makes a nice short break. This time we decided to go during the week, as it is less busy than on weekends. See 4 Days In Hua Hin for an overview of what we got up to.
Buying Train Tickets In Thailand
We usually buy our train tickets from SI Travel on Pan Road, as it’s close to our condo and they don’t charge any additional booking fees. You can also buy tickets at Hua Lamphong station. Train tickets and prices from Bangkok to Hua Hin are more than a little complicated. There are currently 12 trains per day, with four different train types – ordinary, rapid, express and special express. The rapid train isn’t any faster the the ordinary train, so I’m not sure what all these different train types are.
Ticket prices are also quite complex, as they are made up of a flat fare, plus additional fees based on train type, distance and whether they have aircon or not. You can use the official railway site (http://www.railway.co.th/checktime/checktime.asp?lenguage=Eng) to check train times and ticket prices. These are mostly correct but sometimes they’re wrong. So use this to plan your journey, but get the correct times from a travel agent or at the station.
Yet another complication is that some ticket types can’t be bought more than a day in advance. This is because all trains on this route have a final destination in the south of Thailand, and so longer journeys get precedence over shorter trips. We decided to get the rapid train (No. 171) that leaves Bangkok at 13:00 and arrives in Hua Hin at 17:14. We wanted to book 2nd class aircon tickets that cost 412 baht for lower bed and 482 for upper bed, but these weren’t available to book. We were told that if we wanted to travel 2nd class with aircon we’d have to buy a ticket to the next station (Prachuap Khiri Khan) and get off at Hua Hin. The tickets were 100 baht extra. Or we could have waited until the day before we planned to travel and buy the tickets then, although they weren’t guaranteed to be available.
We ended up booking a 2nd class carriage with fan instead. We paid 152 (around $5) each for our tickets.
You may be wondering why we needed upper and lower bed tickets. Well that is because during the daytime these are seats, but they are made up into beds during the evening. So even though you have a seat you’re paying for a bed.
As you can see, it’s all pretty complicated. Part of the complication is that there don’t seem to be any trains that just run between Bangkok and Hua Hin. All the trains seem to head to the south of Thailand.
Train Times Bangkok To Hua Hin
Above you can see a overview of the train times. We got Train No. 171.
Hua Lamphong Train Station
Hua Lamphong is a beautiful, old train station and was the start of our journey. This is Bangkok’s main train station, but will be closing in 2019, when the main station will move to Bang Sue, which is round 10km north of the current station.
Most of the staff at the ticket booths at the train station don’t speak English, but a special ticket office was recently added for foreigners. We used this a while back, and are pleased to report that the ticket price was the same. There is no extra charge, and the staff were very helpful.
Our Train Journey From Bangkok To Hua Hin
Our journey to Hua Hin started at platform 9, with the 13:00 train to Sungai Kolok, which is in Thailand’s deep south. This train had 15 carriages and was fairly full when it left Bangkok.
As mentioned above, we opted for a 2nd Class carriage with fan. All the windows were open the whole way, so we got a nice breeze, but when the train stopped it got hot fairly quickly. The fans were pretty useless when all the windows were open. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t too bad either.
One of the great things about most Thai trains is the constant stream of food and drink sellers. Above is a woman selling fruit, nuts and quail eggs.
The food sellers get on at most stations, so there is different food at different stops, mostly specialities of that particular district. Above you can see some Thai rice crackers. These were only 30 baht (under $1) per box. All the food on the train was very cheap.
About 10 km after leaving Hua Lamphong station you’ll see a massive amount of new railway works taking place. In 2019 Bangkok’s main station is moving here. This is Bang Sue, and it will be the biggest station in Southeast Asia.
The view from the train is not great until about an hour away from Hua Hin, when it starts to get a little more green and pleasant.
As you get closer to Hua Hin you’ll see mountains on your right. Myanmar is on the other side of the mountains.
Hua Hin Train Station
Hua Hin train station is one of the most picturesque and most photographed train stations in Thailand. Our train arrived there at around 17:35, so was about 20 minutes late, which is about par for the course for Thai trains. They are very rarely on time. Also see Hua Hin to Bangkok for details of our return journey.
Getting From Hua Hin Station To Your Hotel
There are plenty of tuk tuks outside the station, but most of these are pretty expensive compared to transport in Bangkok. In the past we’ve paid around 100 baht ($3) to travel around 1 km. A Bangkok taxi would cost 35 baht ($1). Luckily, our hotel was only 400 meters from the station, so it was an easy walk.