Let’s face it, Thailand’s railway network has never been something to particularly brag about, with its slow trains, sometimes questionable safety levels, and aging railway stations, but all that is changing with the opening of Bangkok’s amazing new railway station, Krung Thep Aphiwat central terminal! This train station is the flagship of the State Railway of Thailand. It is Bangkok’s newest and most impressive and is the largest in Southeast Asia, aiming to take the country’s railway services into the future with safer, more comfortable, and more efficient services across Thailand.
• About Krung Thep Aphiwat central terminal
• Future High-Speed Trains in Thailand
• The Design of KTA
• How to Get to KTA
• KTA Schedule and Destinations
• Future Services from KTA
• Train Tickets and Reservations for KTA
• The Future of KTA and Hua Lamphong
• Tourist Attractions Near KTA
About Krung Thep Aphiwat central terminal
The existing Bangkok Railway Station, known as Hua Lamphong, has served its city well since opening in 1916. Large and impressive for its time, Hua Lamphong has handled an increasing number of trains and passengers across its decades, peaking at around 60 to 70,000 passengers per day, but, the aging railway station and central location in the heart of Bangkok – once a positive feature – convinced the government that something had to be done and in 2010, the idea for Bang Sue Grand Station was born (now renamed to Krung Thep Aphiwat central terminal).
Hua Lamphong is located in Chinatown, in central Bangkok, in a place where it made the most sense when it was opened in 1916. The developers never anticipated so much traffic though, and similar to what has happened with many bus stations around Thailand, the plan was put in place to move the main terminus for Bangkok outside of the city center. This would help to ease congestion in a very busy part of the city, not only with vehicles dropping off and picking up, but easing wait times at railway crossings where vehicles would have to wait a long time for the slow moving trains to pass through. With an existing Bang Sue Junction railway station to the north of the city already handling many of the intercity trains, and three out of four of those intercity train lines running through it, building a newer, larger and better Krung Thep Aphiwat central terminal in that location made a lot of sense.
Future High-Speed Trains in Thailand
Building Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal was not only to ease city center congestion though; it was built to future proof Thailand’s railway systems and to connect to future high-speed train services that are planned to run all around South Asia and link many of the region’s major cities. The design of the terminal is therefore ahead of its time both in terms of Thailand’s railway system and regional/international ones.
If the high-speed railway from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima opens in 2024 as planned, Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal will be able to handle that train line and all its passengers, however, the next link in the high-speed network, connecting Nakhon Ratchasima to Vientiane in Laos has not even been started yet, so it could be many years before Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal is really put to the test, and Bangkok is better connected internationally as part of the Pan Asia Railway Network.
The Design of Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal
In the meantime, passengers using this newly opened train station will be able to enjoy its bright and open architecture and modern feel without having to deal with over-crowding. The train station was built to be able to handle several hundred thousand passengers per day, which is quite a leap up from the 60,000 that Hua Lamphong handled. But, at current passenger levels, the State Railway of Thailand will have to do a lot to convince thousands more people to use the trains rather than the affordable long-distance and international bus services. High-speed intercity lines will definitely help, and improving comfort levels on the trains as well as accessibility to the train stations themselves will also help.
Largest Railway Station in South East Asia, Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal Parking
The design of the new station includes some impressive statistics: its usable floor space is a massive 274,192 square meters, making this Bangkok train station larger than KL Sentral Station in Malaysia and winning the prize for the largest train station in South East Asia. The cavernous terminal building includes four levels and has 26 platforms, some of which are as long as 600 meters. To ease traffic congestion outside the terminal, there is an underground parking lot that can house over 1600 cars, and along with the terminal, maintenance depots were built on the adjacent land to keep everything running smoothly.
How to Get to Krung Thep Aphiwat station
In Thai, Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal translates as “prosperity of Bangkok“, and while this railway station is not centrally located like Hua Lamphong was, it is ‘central’ because it will be Bangkok’s main train station and terminus for all long-distance railway services.
Bang Sue MRT Station, Mo Chit Bus Terminal and SRT Commuter Lines
Krung Thep Aphiwat is located in the Chatuchak area of Bangkok, north of the center. Chatuchak is a familiar part of the city for anyone who travels regularly as this is where one of the city’s three main bus terminals is also located, Mochit Bus Terminal. Connecting all the different transport options together was important when the location of the new station was chosen so that not only long-distance trains but SRT, MRT, airport links and bus links could all access Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal easily. To this end, Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal is connected via an elevated walkway to Mochit Bus Terminal and there are other connections, such as an underground walkway to Bang Sue MRT Station.
Bus options to Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal
The station is about 11 kilometers outside the heart of Bangkok, off junction 2-06 of the Sirat Expressway and just to the west of the Chatuchak Weekend Market and Chatuchak Park. Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal has many public buses that go to the station directly so getting there by bus is easy from many parts of Bangkok.
|Bus Number||Route||Additional Information|
|3||Kamphaeng Phet Bus Depot – Mo Chit 2 – Khlong San||–|
|3||Kamphaeng Phet Bus Depot – BTS Mochit Station||Loop|
|16||Kamphaeng Phet Bus Depot – Mo Chit 2 – Surawong||–|
|49||Kamphaeng Phet Bus Depot – Bangkok (Hua Lamphong) Railway Station||Loop|
|52||Pak Kret – Vibhavadi Rangsit Rd. – Mo Chit 2||Only go to Mo Chit 2|
|67||Kamphaeng Phet Bus Depot – Central Plaza Rama III||–|
|77||Central Plaza Rama III – Mo Chit 2||Only go to Mo Chit 2|
|96||Min Buri – Mo Chit 2||Drop off at railway station|
|104||Pak Kret – Phahonyothin Rd. – Mo Chit 2||Only go to Mo Chit 2|
|134||Bua Thong Kheha – Mo Chit 2||Drop off at railway station|
|136||Khlong Toei – Mo Chit 2||Drop off at railway station|
|138||Phra Pradaeng Pier – Mo Chit 2||Drop off at railway station|
|138||Ratchapracha – Mo Chit 2||Drop off at railway station|
|145||Pak Nam (Praeksa Bordin) – Mo Chit 2||Drop off at railway station|
|145||Mega Bangna – Mo Chit 2||Drop off at railway station|
|157||Bang Khae – Phuttha Monthon 1 st rd. – Expressway – Victory Monument||–|
|170||Phuttha Monthon 2 nd rd. – Charan Sanit Wong rd. – Mo Chit 2||–|
|509||Borommaratchachonnani – Phuttha Monthon 2 nd rd. – Mo Chit 2||Only go to Mo Chit 2|
|517||Kamphaeng Phet Bus Depot – Mo Chit 2 – KMITL||–|
|536||Pak Nam – Expressway – Mo Chit 2||Only go to Mo Chit 2|
|Shuttle Bus||Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal – Expressway – Bangkok (Hua Lamphong) Railway Station||Low-Floor Bus|
The MRT Blue Line Has an Underground Walkway to Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal
The MRT is probably the best option for getting to Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal from central Bangkok as the MRT Blue Line: Bang Sue Station is right next to Krung Thep Aphiwat and is connected via an underground walkway. The Blue Line runs a circular route around Bangkok from Tha Phra to Lak Song, traveling via Bang Sue and also via Hua Lamphong (the old station).
The SRT Red Line is Connected to the Railway Station
The new SRT Red Line is another option if you’re staying outside of central Bangkok. This is actually a commuter line and an electrified service that has two lines, with much of the system still in construction and currently terminating at Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal. When complete, the two lines will run from Thammasat University’s Rangsit Campus to Maha Chai in Samut Sakhon Province, and from Salaya in Nakhon Pathom Province to Hua Mak in Bangkok.
The BTS Skytrain to Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal
The BTS Skytrain is not currently connected to Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal so the closest you can get on the BTS is Mo Chit BTS Station. From here you could walk, but it’s quite a long way and not a very direct route, but it is possible to interchange to the MRT Blue line Chatuchak Park Station and get get off at Bang Sue Station or to take a taxi direct to Bang Sue Grand Station.
Taking a Taxi to and From South East Asia’s Largest Railway Station
Talking of taxis, you can always catch a taxi to Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal from wherever you are in Bangkok. It’s convenient but is of course more expensive, and if you have arrived at Aphiwat station and want to go somewhere else within the city, there is a taxi rank on the eastern side of the station.
Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal Schedule and Destinations
Popular routes from Bangkok by train are now using Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal as it is open and operational. Going on the northern line from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, for example, there are 5 trains a day from KTA. Really, you can travel pretty much anywhere in Thailand when starting on a train from Bangkok, on the southern line including Bangkok to Chumphon, Bangkok to Surat Thani, Bangkok to Nakhon Si Thammarat, and many more. For up to date Schedule check the State Railway of Thailand page where you can put in your departure train station and arrival destination.
Departing: long distance trains from KTA: to Northern and Northeastern Thailand departs Platforms 1 and 2. Trains to Southern Thailand departs from Platforms 7 and 8.
Arriving: long distance trains from KTA: from Northern and Northeastern Thailand arrives at Platforms 5 and 6. Trains from Southern Thailand arrives at Platforms 11 and 12.
As of now then, there are three Bangkok city lines that are using Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal. These are all suburban railways, not long-distance: the MRT Blue Line, SRT Light Red Line, and SRT Dark Red Line.
The MRT Blue Line is an underground service connecting Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal to destinations within the city center including Hua Lamphong Station, and it connects with the BTS overhead services and Airport Link too.
The SRT Light Red Line runs west to Taling Chan, while the Dark Red Line goes north to Rangsit and includes a stop at Don Mueang Airport, and they operate from the second level of the station.
|Bangkok - Chiang Mai ฿ 278–1,133 10h 10m – 13h 33m|
Future Services from Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal
As well as the Red Line services operating out of the second level of Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal, intercity trains will be using the other 10 platforms on this level.
Future High-speed Railway
Level 3 will be where high-speed, electrified trains operate from. Aside from the city services that use electric trains, Thailand does not have an electric railway system as of now, so the third level of Krung Thep Aphiwat will remain quite empty until the first of those goes into operation, the Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima high-speed railway which is being constructed.
Don Mueang to Suvarnabhumi to U-Tapao High-Speed Railway
Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal will also be a hub for the Airport Rail Link, to and from Suvarnabhumi Airport, and will be part of the Don Mueang to Suvarnabhumi to U-Tapao High-Speed Railway. These services will also operate from the Third Level. It’s a bit confusing as signs for the Airport Rail have already been installed even though those services could be a year or more delayed, so don’t be fooled by those signs thinking that there is already an airport train as there is not one from Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal at this time.
Train Tickets and Reservations for Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal
Located near Gate 4 and the food court, at the northern part of Krung Thep Aphiwat, you’ll find the main ticket office. It features 23 service windows. 4 additional ticket windows, can be found near Gate 13 at the southern end of the building, close to the Red Line and MRT station’s entrance. These offices sell advance tickets as well as same-day tickets for imminent departures.
You can certainly book your tickets in advance, online, if you would like to guarantee you get a seat on exactly the train that you want. Booking websites such as 12go are convenient and efficient.
Thailand’s train system offers various train-types, impacting travel speed, stops, duration, car quality, and available classes. The train numbers are handy for identifying these factors during booking. By checking the number, you can easily discern the train type you’ll want to go with.
The Future of Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal and Hua Lamphong
So, what is the ultimate future for Hua Lamphong and the existing Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal? As mentioned above, the plan is definitely to close Hua Lamphong, Bangkok’s original Train Station, after it has been in operation for over 100 years. Hua Lamphong has provided a great service to the people of Bangkok and for thousands of visitors from around the world, but it is the train station’s central location that prompted the government to decide on a much larger train station outside of the city center in order to ease congestion in one of the world’s busiest cities.
The original plan for Hua Lamphong was for the train station to remain standing and to become a museum. It is an important part of the city’s history after all, and features the grand architectural style of Italian Neo-Renaissance, built between 1910 and 1916. Right now its unclear when, or even whether this will still happen.
Bang Sue Junction was also planned to be closed when services moved to Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal. The original Bang Sue opened way back in 1898 and was part of Thailand’s original railway from Bangkok to Ayutthaya. It was separated into two train stations in 1989, Bang Sue 1 and Bang Sue 2, sitting about 200 meters apart from each other. Bang Sue 1 was for Northern and Northeastern services and Bang Sue 2 was for Southern Lines. But, in preparation for the new Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal, Bang Sue 1 actually closed to make way for the new station in 2016. Services are still using this train station for the time-being, but the long term plan was definitely to close Bang Sue Junction.
Tourist Attractions Near Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal
Situated in the Chatuchak area of Bangkok, by far the biggest tourist attraction near Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal is the Chatuchak Weekend Market. This massive market is the largest in Thailand, home to over 15,000 stalls selling anything and everything, from pets to clothes, food, books, homewares and much more. There are actually 27 different sections divided by the goods that they sell, and the market attracts around 200,000 visitors every weekend.
If you’re not visiting at the weekend, you can still enjoy some great shopping close to Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal as JJ Mall is also situated very close by. This large shopping mall has 3 floors for parking and 4 floors of shops and services adding up to around 1,200 stores, and includes an international food court.
Chatuchak Park is also close by. As well as being a nice place to walk around to get away from the traffic and noise of Bangkok, the park is home to the Children’s Discovery Museum and the Bangkok Butterfly Garden and Insectarium. The park is further split into smaller parks with different zones for activities such as a sports center with outdoor swimming pool, tennis and other ball courts, a skate park, areas for running and jogging, and many trails criss-crossing the park for a peaceful walk.
Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal Hotels
As of now, with the station not running anywhere near its full capacity, there are no hotels or lodging services right at Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal (although this will likely change in the future with increased demand) but there are many all within a few kilometers if you need to find somewhere to stay. In the area just south of Chatuchak Market and JJ Mall there are many places to stay. These include 2, 3, and 4 star hostels and hotels that will suit every budget, and while they are probably not walking distance, they are close enough to jump in a taxi to get to Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal
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