In the Pathum Wan District the National Railways of Thailand have Hua Lamphong railway station here. Hua Lamphong Railway Station officially known as Bangkok Railway Station, is the main railway station in Bangkok. It is located in the centre of the city in Pathum Wan District.
The station was opened on 25 June 1916, after six years construction. The site of the railway station was previously the national railway's maintenance centre, which moved to Makkasan in June 1910. At the location of the previous railway station nearby, a pillar commemorates the inauguration of railways in 1897. During World War II the Allies tried to bomb the station but hit a nearby hotel instead.
The station was built in a Italian Neo Renaissance style, with decorated wooden roofs and stained glass windows. The architecture is attributed to Turin born Mario Tamagno, who, with countryman Annibale Rigotti, made a mark on early 20th century public building in Bangkok. There are 14 platforms, 26 ticket booths and two electric display boards. Hua Lamphong serves over 130 trains and about 60,000 passengers each day. Since 2004 the station has been connected by underground passage to the MRT subway system with a station by the same name.
Tickets for trains leaving the same or next day can be bought at the counters under the red / orange / green screens. For the advance booking office, walk towards the far side with the platforms on the left of you, from the main entrance and you should see the sign ahead of you. Hua Lamphong's Advance Booking Office is very well organised and very friendly. When you enter, take a numbered ticket from the machine and wait for your number to appear on the monitor. There may be a long queue, so allow time to wait. There is a train plan posted, so you can select your own seat or berth when you book a ticket. You can pay by cash or by credit card. Reservations are computerized, and your ticket will have the train time and your seat and berth number printed on it. You will need to produce it to the guard before you board the train.
There are many places to eat here good restaurants and fast food outlets and it helps to pass the time away waiting for your train. I have done so myself when I travelled 1st Class sleeper carriage to Chiang Mai, and 1st class sleeper carriage to Songkhla in the south of Thailand. I have tried 2nd class and found it unbearable, they change the seats into beds in the main compartment at night time. So you share with everyone else. First class is so much better you have your own compartment with a table next to the seats, along with a washbasin. A member of staff returns at night time to make up the beds. During the journey you can order food and beer to be brought to your compartment.
This for me is the great way to travel by train in Thailand. They do have what can be called a restaurant car if you want to eat food there. However it is shared by rail staff and security. However I can tell you I have had many great nights in this railcar with much laughter. One warning though the toilets do take some getting use to, especially after a few beers. On some of the trains its just a hole in the floor, and seeing the railway sleepers passing by at speed is not funny.
Thailand has a large network of rail services that cover most of the country. Northern line , Eastern, Southern and North Eastern line. Check their web site for timetables.