So we decided to move to Hua Hin for a month. No real reason, just a change of scenery, and some coastal/beach vibes. To get there, we would travel from Bangkok to Hua Hin, and there are various options with most people opting for the quicker road routes travelling by buses and minivans. But with no real hurry, and the benefits of more luggage space, we decided to travel from Bangkok to Hua Hin by Train.
Bangkok to Hua Hin By Train (The Basics)
Journey Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
Train Line: Bangkok to Surat Thani
Departure Station: Hua Lamphong Bangkok Train Station.
Arrival Station: Hua Hin Railway Station
Train Schedule/Online booking: here
Best View Seats: Right-side window seats
Above are the scheduled times, however, train travel in Thailand is unpredictable at best, and, for our journey, we arrived 20 minutes late to Hua Hin train station. And I share it all in detail below.
We travelled on the 43 Special Express 2nd Class Aircon from Bangkok to Hua Hin leaving Hua Lamphong Station at 07:30AM and arriving at 12:25PM. That means the average speed is just over 46km/hour (28mph). Mostly due to it stopping/starting along the way.
But it was an enjoyable journey, and even Fanfan joined me after having literally flown to meet me at each destination on my 3-day rail journey from Bangkok to Singapore the previous month. She’s generally not fussed for trains. But, this time it made sense given we are travelling with a crazy amount of luggage and ultimately trains are much more comfortable than buses and minivans on the route from Bangkok to Hua Hin.
Getting to Bangkok Hua Lamphong Station
So we decided to travel early so we could arrive early to pick up the key to our home for the month. From our condo near the Asoke interchange (Asoke/Sukhumvit BTS/MRT stations) we jumped on the MRT Underground lines and it’s only 20-minutes to reach Hua Lamphong MRT Station.
From Hua Lamphong MRT station it is then a short 3-minute walk (Exit 2) to the escalator that brings us up to Hua Lamphong train station. It is possible to buy tickets at the station on the day of travel, but, to ensure the best seats, we bought them a few days earlier again at Hua Lamphong Station.
Arriving early, there is an instant reminder of what’s ahead, as at least half of the arrivals to Bangkok were marked as delayed. This tends to be the norm in Thailand where trains get there when they get there and I wouldn’t go scheduling any specific onward travel for our arrival in Hua Hin. I’ve been as late as 3-hours on other train routes.
The Bangkok to Surat Thani Train (43 Special Express)
The train otherwise leaves Hua Lamphong station on time, with boarding roughly 20-minutes before departure. The train itself (43 Special Express) is 2nd class with air conditioning, so it is relatively comfortable, but also fairly basic. Fortunately there is plenty of shelf space above for our 6-bags as we accumulated a fair bit in Bangkok.
I know it’s an ‘Express Train’, with limited stops en route, but it doesn’t feel like it, especially through Bangkok where we were constantly starting and stopping. It was 25-minutes (08:15) before reaching Bang Sue Station. At 8:30 it’s Bang Bamru, then Taling Chan (08:36)….so it’s near an hour before we finally feel like we’ve passed the outskirts of Bangkok.
Sightseeing from a Seat
It’s a nice ride though, with railside local life, bustling morning markets, canal truss bridges, before crossing the Chao Phraya River. The mouldy concrete landscape then changes to scattered rice fields, wetlands (in the rainy season), trees, rural life, and local temples…. clickity clack, wooo wooo! Some of the better scenery is just after Ratchaburi with wetlands, rice paddies, birds, and a mountainous karst backdrop.
On-Board Food on the Train to Hua Hin
Included in the ticket price is a set meal, served just after Ratachaburi Station, which, for me, was not overly appealing. The meal consisted of a carton of rice, a packet of fried mackerel in chilli sauce, a packet of stir-fried baby clams with pepper and garlic, a cup of water, a chocolate custard-filled bun, and some weird round biscuits. I ate the latter two.
There was a time when hawkers would get on/off at stops on these train, but, thanks to Covid, this happens no more. Even the restaurant bogies on larger trains have been closed. However the train staff do occasionally take orders and distribute food from hawkers at larger stations, which I think maybe a sketchy side gig against their remit (as I was forced to delete photos of them from my phone). Feel free to bring along your own snacks!
Arrival to Hua Hin Train Station
Onward travel is simple from Hua Hin Train Station where it’s near the city centre and is just a short 800 metres walk from Hua Hin beach. There will also be taxi and motorbike options waiting for the train’s arrival. We opted instead for Grab and it cost 75 Baht for a ride to our new home for a month in Hua Hin (2.7m). This may be quite expensive tbf.
Hua Hin Train Station itself is fairly attractive in its old wooden architectural style with a famous feature in the Royal Waiting Room which was relocated from Sanam Chan Palace in Nakhon Pathom province. It’s probably worthy of a selfie or two. Each morning sand through the day we could still hear the trains passing through Hua Hin. Wooo, woooo!