In every city, one often wonders about the main railway station. While trains are no longer the preferred travel mode, they were once the mark of modernization, innovation, luxury, and connectivity. So much so engineers and architects often raced to build the grandest of train stations to impress train passengers. Today, one often finds the most beautiful architecture at the central railway stations and the chance to be thrown back in time simply by strolling through the buildings or even better, taking a train trip out of them. Hua Lamphong is Bangkok’s grand railway station located in eastern edge of Chinatown and worth taking a look.
The railway station’s story of origin was that King Rama V, while on a trip to Germany in 1907, became enamored with Frankfurt Train Station. Following that, the construction of Hua Lamphong was ordered. Built in 1916, Hua Lamphong was designed by Italian duo Mario Tamagno and Annibale Rigotti (who were also responsible for historical Neilson Hays Library). The station is of Italian Neo-Renaissance style, clearly seen from balustruding, arcades, and certain opulent decorative features. The defining feature of the station, however, is the half dome front, held up inside by vaulted iron roof.
Hua Lamphong recently celebrated its 100th year in 2016, with much fanfare and nostalgia. Timing could not have been better as the station is slated to become a railway museum once the State Railyway of Thailand moves its terminus station operation to a newer mega station in Bang Sue, scheduled to open in 2019. So experience Hua Lamphong before its time runs out. Pack a portmanteau and take a train trip in and out of Bangkok for old time’s sake.