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Thailand Film Tour

By Sean Mahon

Posted: 27th February 2013 16:53

If you love movies and have always wanted to go to Beverly Hills to see where all your favourite films were made then think again. Hollywood’s many studios just cannot recreate Thailand’s natural, diverse and endlessly cinematic scenery; as a result the country has hosted reels of legendary films and is THE place to go for film buffs. The kingdom has either been depicted as itself or stood in for neighbouring countries such as Vietnam or Cambodia due its many lush jungles, dreamy beaches and crystal waters.

The Beach

After watching this film you will be reaching for your rucksack and getting on the first plane to Thailand, such is the way it accurately captures the exciting backpacker lifestyle. The story of central character Leonardo DiCaprio’s tireless quest for an untouched beach idyll is set in the country because of the long list of paradises that populate it.

You can even follow the route Leo takes in the motion picture by starting in Bangkok’s Khao San Road and ending up on the heavenly island of Koh Phi Phi. Imitate his breathtaking waterfall jump in Khao Yai National Park and see why Maya Bay was the location used to depict paradise on Earth.

Since the film’s release in 2000, Thailand has received a boom in tourism but there are still slithers of alluring charm to be found - the karstic hills around Krabi, Phukett’s immense cliffs that lead down to sandy coves and the limestone islands bursting up from Phang Nga bay are simply breath taking.

James Bond

Glamorous settings and exotic locations are a pre-requisite for any James Bond film, even the rubbish ones are at least aesthetically pleasing (I’m thinking of you Quantum of Solace!). So it comes as no surprise then that Thailand has been used as the backdrop for two films about Britain’s most popular 00 agent. The best thing is though you do not have to be Daniel Craig to enjoy the wondrous benefits of the locations!

The Pierce Brosnan led “Tomorrow Never Dies” (1997) shot some scenes in Thailand but “The Man with The Golden Gun” (1974) heavily featured the attractions and sights of the nation. It saw Roger Moore zip along canals, fight kung-fu baddies and play out an unforgettable boat chase across Phang-Nga Bay. The filming of the climatic duel took place on two adjacent islands: Koh Tapu and Ko Khao Phing Kan. Such was the film’s success that Phang-Nga Bay has been dubbed “James Bond Island” – the limestone cliffs that vertically jut out of the emerald green water are as astonishing as they are marvellous. Today, many tourists visit, wishing to follow in the footsteps of the only person in the world who drinks vodka martinis.

Vietnam

The Vietnam War has been illustrated in many films with the two most memorable feature films being “Good Morning Vietnam” and “The Deer Hunter”. Vietnam is a country of immense beauty and due to technical difficulties filming there, where the terrain can be rough - many production companies select Thailand as a fitting replacement as these two films were.

Fancy seeing where legendary scene from the Oscar laden film “The Deer Hunter” was shot? Well head to the Kwai River, not far from the Burmese border. Do not worry; we are not expecting you to play Russian roulette with Bob DeNiro and Christopher Walken! Just take in the marvellous scenery and understand why Thailand is such a fond location for film makers who wish to capture the best that Asia has to offer.

South East Asian cinema

If you are planning on a trip to Thailand anytime soon then there are some South East Asian films you simply just HAVE to watch before you set out. The fascinating country, the sexiest and most exciting part of South Asia provides the perfect film setting for some of Asia’s most interesting films while the movies themselves offer places worth visiting that you might have otherwise overlooked.

The first person that should spring into your mind when you think of martial arts films is Bruce Lee – the quintessential legend of Asian cinema. His first major film “The Big Boss” was set in Thailand and has since become a cult classic and you can trace his delicate footsteps there.

For those of a more romantic disposition than “In the Mood for Love” from legendary Asian director Wong Kar-Wai will suit your tastes – while the film is set in Hong Kong, Bangkok was used because of its rustic charm.

“Citizen Dog” is the colourful story of the Thai everyman – what makes this film appealing is its ability to capture the full picture of Thai society and inner city Bangkok – managing to offer an insight into the parts of Bangkok that are not usually captured on film.

Round up

It is time to stop playing that DVD of your favourite film, put the popcorn down and actually get out there and experience the movie in a way you never have before!  

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