Thailand's top filming locations
The majestic kingdom of Thailand has long been considered a premier filming location in South East Asia, with its vast natural resources and rich cultural heritage providing a plethora of choices for scenic backdrops.
Ever since it started appearing in foreign feature films in the 1920s, the number of foreign production crews that Thailand has received has only increased. In the last five years alone, hundreds of foreign filmmakers have chosen to shoot their productions in Thailand.
This long history in film has contributed to the thriving existence of the current film industry in the country, which provides experienced crew members, strong local talent and low production costs, making Thailand an attractive location for many Hollywood films and other foreign productions. Thailand’s solid infrastructure and sophisticated transportation network on air, land and sea is also one of its major draws.
The geography of Thailand, which spans a total area of 514,000 sq kmt offers filmmakers an abundance of natural environments to shoot in; with the relatively easy availability of wild animals, country landscapes, lush forests and idyllic beach settings as its main draws.
Lets also not forget the rich cultural and spiritual heritage of Thailand, this also provides filmmakers with hundreds of choices when it comes to temples and sanctuaries of spiritual worship. Majestic palaces, various kinds of temples as well as temple ruins, and beautiful teak wood houses are among the architectural marvels of this beautiful country. In the bustling capital city of Bangkok, filmmakers are treated to a mix of the old and the new, making for a vibrant cosmopolitan setting to many stories.
With an abundance of areas to choose from, Benetone Films gave us Thailand’s location descriptions based on the kingdoms’ four main geographical regions.
Falling into two distinct areas, the North offers plains in the lower north and mountains in the upper north that lead to the borders of Myanmar and Laos. Home to different tribes of ethnic hill people, the mountain ranges along the borders offer breathtaking views of waterfalls and rapid flowing rivers. In the cold season, seas of fog, fields of flowers, romantic needle pines and lush rain forests can be seen.
Meanwhile in the lower altitudes, you can find the various rivers bringing life and an abundance of crops such as rice, vegetables, and tea plantations that are stacked among quiet hills. Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai are among the bigger cities of the north and beautiful gardens of the Thai Royal Princess are boasted by this region. Mae Hong Son, which is thirty minutes by plane or about 250 kilometers along a scenic route drive from Chiang Mai, is endowed by natural wonders of gorges, caves and waterfalls for adventurers.
The mountainous and farm landscapes of this region has been chosen in the past as a location for major feature films, such as Air America, The American Gangster and Rambo IV.
The North East (Isan) Region
The uplands of the Isan region covers nearly one third of the country and is home to the Mekong River, which separates Thailand from Laos in the north and the region extends to the south before ending at the Dong Rek Mountain range along the border with Cambodia.
Considered as one of the country’s most interesting destinations, Isan has many Stone Age and Bronze Age dwellings and ancient rock paintings, dinosaur fossils and artifacts as well as many noteworthy temples left from the great Khmer empire. Oliver Stone movie Alexander was shot in Isan, where it was astonishingly transformed into India. The culture in Isan is predominantly Lao, as seen in the region’s culinary, fashion, and spiritual practices.
The region also boasts Khao Yai National Park in Nakhon Ratchasima, where flora and fauna abound; Phu Wiang National Park in Khon Kaen, which was once a home of dinosaurs, and Phu Kradueng National Park in Loei, an enormous plateau about 1,300 meters above sea level offering waterfalls, cliffs, beautiful pines, and wide varieties of wildlife.
Thailand’s southern region extends along a peninsula that lies between the Andaman Sea on the West and the South China Sea on its east side. The Andaman coast is a popular health and wellness destination and is home to some of the most exhilarating coastal views, with its rugged limestone cliffs and rock formations.
Filmmakers looking for beach settings will be spoilt for choice here in the southern region of Thailand, as the many film and television productions that have been shot here will prove.
Many big Hollywood movies have shot on location in the islands of the region, with Leonardo Di Caprio-starrer The Beach being one of the more popular movies set in the south, along with two James Bond movies that were also shot in the region, The Man with the Golden Gun and Die Another Day.
Many other action fantasy films have also shot here as well, such as Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith as well as several franchises of hit reality series Survivor.
Bangkok and Central
The capital city of Bangkok, while a bustling metropolis of modernity, has also preserved many of its heritage buildings. The countless temples, old streets, heritage buildings, shopping centre’s, busy night hotspots and the wide variety of people that have made this city their haven have all provided a lively backdrop to many movies.
Meanwhile, central Thailand is a region dominated by the Chao Phraya River and is the country’s most fertile farming area with an expansive landscape of paddy fields, orchards, and plantations.
With its dramatic history and ancient temples, the central region of Thailand has proven to be an ideal location for fantasy action films such as Mortal Kombat, which was shot in the ancient city of Ayyuthaya.
As the number of foreign films and television productions shot in this country would show, the Kingdom of Thailand is truly a great place to film and a haven for filmmakers.
KFTV would like to thank Benetone Films for their industry insight. To find out more about their work, please visit their profile on KFTV website.