One of the essential parts of film production is the all-important location. For many reasons, it can make or break a movie, TV or advertisement production. One of the rising stars on the scene nowadays is Thailand, because of its convenience, speedy approvals process, geographical diversity, low cost of living, local talent and resources, advanced technology and cash rebate scheme. Indeed, since 1920 over 70 foreign films have been shot across the Land of Smiles. From a vintage studio in Bangkok to a mountain cabin in Chiang Mai, breathtaking beach in Krabi or meandering river in Kanchanaburi, here are the top ten film locations to get you out there and filming in Thailand.
While most productions get fixated on the beauty of the beaches in Thailand, they tend to forget about the rural side of this vast country. From grandiose temples to rice fields, humble rural dwellings, Thai silk production and lively festivals, this north-eastern province has a lot to offer as an idyllic countryside film set.
The capital city of Thailand is truly the city that never sleeps and the film director’s wet dream; there are ideal locations to be found everywhere. From grand temples and floating markets to dark alleyways and retro shops, there isn’t much this place can’t provide. Indeed, the iconic 1974 James Bond film ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’ filmed at seven locations across the city.
Ayutthaya is an incredible, albeit relatively unknown, filming location. What was formally one of the world’s wealthiest cities (circa 1350) and the seat of power in the Kingdom, is now a place full of historical temples and grand palaces. Impressive Tomb Raider-style ruins in this city hark back to the fall of this empire at the end of the 1700s.
Thanks to its incredible scenery of limestone peaks, azure water and white sand beaches, there have been a plethora of films shot in Krabi. The location is definitely on the must-use list of foreign production crews. Some of the most notable films to date have been Tomorrow Never Dies, The Beach, Star Wars: Episode III and Hangover II.
5. Koh Samui
Although the films shot here haven’t been as big-budget as other marquee beach locations around the Land of Smiles, secluded and idyllic Koh Samui also has its appealing side. Nowadays it’s gaining increased popularity as it’s quieter, cheaper and less over-exposed than its neighbours, i.e., Phuket, Krabi and Phangan.
Phuket is a filming location that attracts multiple international productions every year because of the diversity of its possible set locations. From amazing hotels and stunning scenery to temples, beaches, adventure sports and nightlife, the island has everything. That’s why documentary, music and feature filmmakers have it as their #1 pick.
Sleepy Kanchanaburi (aka the hottest province in Thailand) is predominantly known for two things: The Bridge over River Kwai and Death Railway. This area is replete with World War II history and memorabilia. Widely known for its grim history and rugged natural beauty, many documentary filmmakers are attracted to this area.
For obvious reasons, Thailand’s notorious ‘Sin City’ has always been an accessible film location for directors local and foreign. While the city does have beaches, temples, markets and cultural sights, it’s famous Walking Street and its plethora of go-go bars and nightlife spots that draw the attention of location scouts for filming in Thailand.
9. Chiang Mai
Famous for its night bazaar, dense jungle, ancient temples, lofty mountainous and remote hill tribes, Chiang Mai certainly deserves a spot in this list. Since it starred in the hit 2012 Chinese film Lost in Thailand, the international film-making spotlight has been cast on this quaint city, and it’s become the country’s default northern film-making hub.
10. Koh Phangan
Although the famous Leonardo DiCaprio film The Beach was set on Koh Phangan, it wasn’t filmed here (rather on Koh Phi Phi Le). The island is well-known for its Full Moon parties, nature trails, elephant trekking and jungle beaches. This island abounds with hidden gems and fantastic film set locations.
Published by Samantha Brown