If you are a foreigner who is travelling in Bangkok and you are a kind of those who whether like challenge, have plenty time to travel, or have limited budget, you might ever been at Hua Lampong railway station. This is the Bangkok main railway station and is a hub to connect Bangkok to other surrounding cities and even Thailand’s neighboring countries. Check the rest of this piece to get info about prayer room and halal food in this station.

It is easy to get there from anywhere in Bangkok. Why is that? Of course if you have thick wallet, you can always take a taxi which is abundant all across the city. But there’s other good and cheaper alternative. Since 2004, this station is connected to the other part of the city by MRT (mass rapid train) subway system; the MRT underground station – which is also named Hua Lampong – is just next to the railway station.

This MRT subway system route is stretched from Hua Lampong to Khlong Toei – Ratchadaphisek – Bang Sue. If you stay wherever near a BTS skytrain, the MRT system is also connected to this BTS skytrain system which has interchange with MRT at three points: Si Lom, Asok, and Mo Chit. If those locations I mentioned don’t give you a picture in your mind, grab a free map at any MRT stations or go to :

http://www.bangkokmetro.co.th/web/imgcontent/Image/091119-Routemap-in.jpg

That day I stepped down from MRT, walked some hundred meters along the corridor filled with pictures and explanations about the prided MRT projects on both walls, followed the direction to the railway station and, hoopla! I come up to the surface after climbed with a convenient escalator. After moved forward a couple of meters, the entrance to the railway station was there at the right side of me.

Hualampong station main waiting hall

As I entered the hall, I paused a moment noticing the shape of the roof. It was half- circle roof. I thought later that the design of this station – which was built in 1916 and modernized in 1998 – might model the convention complex in Manchester called Manchester Central. I remembered also that I had ever entered an indoor tennis court with similar shape of roof in my hometown in Indonesia where I used to accompany my parents playing.

When I just passed the entry gate (I assume that the gate I entered was the main one), I found the schedule board nearby. From there I learned that the station serves the routes to northern line (e.g. Chiang Mai, Nakhon Sawan, Den Chai, Sawankalok), Northeastern line (e.g. Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani, Si Sa Ket), and Southern/Eastern line (e.g. Yala, Trang, Surat Thani, Hua Hin). Beside these local destinations, we can also sit in the wagon to reach Malaysia and Singapore.

A muslimah in front of the schedule board

Talking about the facilities of the station, there are 26 ticket booths, 14 platforms, coffee shops, a post office, a money changer, shops, bookstores, restaurants, food court, mini markets, prayer place for mulsim (musholla; they put sign ‘SEMBAHAYANG’ to the musholla which located at the 2nd floor), and baggage deposit. Hua Lamphong serves over 130 trains and approximately 60,000 passengers each day.

When I stepped inside the food court and looked around, I was so happy to find a muslim halal food shop there, right at the corner of food court. I was so happy maybe because I was so hungry at the moment and a bit desperate that I couldn’t find halal food so far. I then bought the coupons for 100 baht and chose my food which consisted of rice, vegetable mixed with chicken meat and tofu. The seller, whose face looked a bit middle-eastern, served me while he was on the phone.

I tried to look for the name of that halal food shop, but all I got was a saying of ‘ahlan wa sahlan’ in arabic letters (means ‘welcome’, which probably the name of the shop) and typical ‘Allah’ and ‘Muhammad’ calligraphy on the wall. No halal logo, but I could not be wrong that the shop offered halal food. After having the meal, I stood up with full belly and big grin on my face. Then I moved to see other parts of the station.

Muslim food stall in Hualampong station foodcourt

Muslim food stall in Hualampong station foodcourt

It was nice to see the fact that this main railway station of Bangkok has the musholla and halal food shop just like its international airport. Even though muslim is minority in Thailand, but the city pays attention to the needs of muslims using this public facility. In fact, amongst those crowd in the waiting hall, we can see many muslims – represented by muslimah wearing hijab since I cannot recognize muslim men – that I predict will travel most to the south where muslim population in Thailand is most concentrated. Some girls of the information officers also wear hijab. So really the concern of providing prayer place for muslim has the point.

Please check also the picture gallery of the station, its muslim food stall, and its musholla, in the following posting.

Hua Lampong Railway Station

Address : Rama IV Road, Pathum Wan, Bangkok 10330

Phone : +6622204334

Website : http://railway.co.th/