Thailand Filming Locations: How To Visit The Places You’ve Seen On The Big Screen
Thailand is a popular filming destination for Hollywood movies and TV shows. The country’s stunning scenery, rich culture, and vibrant cities have been featured in films such as “The Beach,” “The Hangover Part II,” and “The Man with the Golden Gun”.
If you’re a movie fan, you can follow in the footsteps of your favorite stars by visiting some of Thailand’s most famous filming locations. Here are a few suggestions:
Table of Contents
The Grand Palace (Bangkok)
The Grand Palace, which once served as the official residence of Thai Kings, is one of Bangkok’s most popular tourist attractions. The 1956 film “Around the World in 80 Days” features a scene where Phileas Fogg and Passepartout find themselves in Bangkok as part of their global journey. The Grand Palace, as well as Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), make appearances as the characters sail along the Chao Phraya river.
How to get there: From Sathorn Pier, take the Chao Phraya Express Boat heading to Tha Chang Pier (N9) or Tha Tien Pier (N8). The Grand Palace is within walking distance from these piers. You can also take a taxi or a tuk-tuk. Note that the Grand Palace is a revered place in Thai culture. Dress modestly to show respect for Thai culture and customs, and ensure your shoulders, knees, and legs are covered.
Soi Cowboy (Bangkok)
Let’s dive into the vibrant world of Soi Cowboy, an infamous entertainment district nestled in the heart of Bangkok. This iconic street, lined mainly with go-go bars, is an intoxicating feast for the senses, to say the least.
It appears in “The Hangover Part II” (2011) in a scene where the characters end up in a bar called Siam Sam’s. Exterior shots for “Siam Sam’s” were filmed outside the Cactus Bar (sadly now moved), while the interior shots were filmed at a go-go bar named Tilac. Tilac Bar also appeared in the 2008 action movie “Bangkok Dangerous”.
Soi Cowboy can also be spotted in “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason” (2004) as one of the locations that Bridget and Daniel visit when they arrive in Bangkok.
How to get there: Take the BTS Skytrain to Asok, then take either Exit 4 (leads to Sukhumvit Road) or Exit 6 (leads to Asok Montri Road). Soi Cowboy is located within a short walking distance from the station.
Next up is Patpong, the vibrant entertainment district situated within Bangkok’s Central Business District (CBD). Originally making waves in the swinging ’60s and ’70s, Patpong has come a long way since then. While it still maintains its reputation as a go-go bar and red-light district, it has also evolved into something more diverse and exciting.
A few different movies have been shot on location here. Most notably, the Russian roulette scene that takes place in a Saigon gambling den at the end of “The Deer Hunter” was filmed in a legendary go-go bar called Mississippi Queen (unfortunately now closed).
How to get there: Take the BTS Skytrain and get off at Sala Daeng Station, which is located on the Silom Line. From there, Patpong is just a short walk away. If you’re using the MRT, you can take the train to Silom Station, which is part of the MRT Blue Line. Once you exit Silom Station, Patpong is within walking distance.
James Bond Island (Phang Nga Bay, Phuket)
This small island was featured in the 1974 James Bond film “The Man with the Golden Gun”. The island’s limestone karsts and caves provided the perfect backdrop for the film’s villain, Scaramanga. The island’s official name is Khao Phing Kan. However, the association with the James Bond franchise has stuck, and the name “James Bond Island” is widely used among tourists and locals alike.
How to get there: You can book a guided boat tour from Phuket to visit “James Bond Island” and the surrounding Phang Nga Bay. Numerous tour operators in Phuket offer day trips to the area.
Naiyang Beach (Phuket)
Naiyang Beach is a beautiful stretch of shoreline located on the northwest coast of Phuket. Known for its tranquil and laid-back atmosphere, it serves as the beach destination in “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason”.
How to get there: Naiyang Beach is located on the northwest coast of Phuket, approximately 5 kilometers (3 miles) from Phuket International Airport. A taxi from the airport should only take around 10-15 minutes, depending on traffic conditions.
Maya Bay (Phuket)
Maya Bay is a stunningly beautiful bay located on the island of Phi Phi Leh in the Andaman Sea. Boasting crystal-clear turquoise waters, soft white sand, and towering limestone cliffs, it gained worldwide recognition after being featured in the 2000 movie “The Beach,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The 1995 romantic/comedy/pirate movie “Cutthroat Island” was also filmed here.
How to get there: After its appearance in “The Beach,” Maya Bay experienced a surge in popularity, attracting a high number of tourists, which led to its temporary closure due to environmental concerns. Access to tourists was restored in 2021 with certain conditions. The best way to visit is to book a speedboat tour or a private long-tail boat tour from Phi Phi or Phuket.
Phuket Town (Phuket)
Phuket Town is the capital and largest city of Phuket Province. The charming streets of Phuket Old Town are lined with a mix of old shop-houses, cafes, art galleries, and boutique hotels. The area is known for its vibrant weekend night market, where you can enjoy local street food and shop for souvenirs.
This is where you’ll find the Memory at On On Hotel, which was used to shoot the Bangkok hostel scenes in “The Beach”. The hotel has since had a makeover and is a world away from the dingy hostel seen in the movie. Still, it is arguably a must-see attraction in itself.
How to get there: The hotel is located on Phang Nga Road in Phuket Old Town, close to the NIght Market and Phuket Town Central Market.
Krabi is a popular tourist destination located on the Andaman Sea coast of southern Thailand. Known for its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and limestone cliffs, Krabi offers a tropical paradise for visitors. The iconic limestone cliffs appear in several scenes in the 2021 action sequel “Fast & Furious 9”. Action also takes place in Phang Nga and Phuket.
How to get there: You can book a direct flight to Krabi International Airport from major cities in Thailand, including Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Surat Thani Airport is another option. Alternatively, you can travel from Bangkok by bus or train. Buses depart from Bangkok to Krabi, and the journey takes around 10-12 hours. You can also take the train from Bangkok to Surat Thani, followed by a 2-3 hour bus ride to Krabi.
Wat Phra Putthabhat Tak Pha Temple (Chiang Mai)
Wat Phra Putthabhat Tak Pha is a Buddhist temple located in Chiang Mai. The temple is renowned for its sacred footprint, which is believed to be an imprint of Lord Buddha’s foot. This footprint is enshrined within the temple complex and is considered a sacred object of veneration for Buddhist devotees. It attracts pilgrims and visitors seeking blessings, spiritual guidance, and a connection to the teachings of Buddhism.
It was featured at the beginning of the 1998 film “Rambo III” as the Buddhist monastery where John Rambo is seeking solace before being pulled back into action.
How to get there: The temple is located about 50 kilometers from the city of Chiang Mai. The best way to get there is to arrange a private taxi from Chiang Mai. Note that to get to the chedi at the top, you will need to climb a staircase consisting of 469 steps.
Khao Yai National Park (Nakhon Ratchasima)
Khao Yai National Park, located in the Nakhon Ratchasima Province, is renowned for its rich biodiversity, housing a diverse range of plant and animal species. It is home to many wildlife species, including elephants, gibbons, macaques, and bears.
The park is characterized by its dense jungle, mountains, and numerous waterfalls, including Haew Suwat waterfall. The scene where Richard jumps from a waterfall in “The Beach” was filmed here.
How to get there: The park is located 175 km northeast of Bangkok and is open to the general public every day. The admission fee for foreigners is 400 baht per person. The best way to get there is by a private car or taxi – from central Bangkok, it takes approximately 3-3.5 hours, depending on traffic conditions. If you opt for public transport, the nearest train station is Pak Chong. Guided tours from Bangkok are also available.
The Bridge on the River Kwai (Kanchanaburi)
The Bridge on the River Kwai, immortalized in the 1957 film of the same name, was a key structure on the “Death Railway”. It spanned the Mae Klong River in Thailand and became a symbol of the railway’s construction.
It is featured towards the end of the 2013 movie “The Railway Man” as Eric Lomax returns to Thailand to face his past. Another significant site from WWII, Hellfire Pass (Konyu Cutting), also makes an appearance.
How to get there: One of the most popular ways to reach the bridge is by taking a train from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi. Trains depart from Bangkok’s Thonburi Station, and the journey takes around 3 hours.
Wat Phra Si Sanphet (Ayutthaya)
Wat Phra Si Sanphet is a restored historical temple located within the ancient city of Ayutthaya. The temple was built in the 14th century during the reign of King Ramathibodi II. Considered the most important temple in the ancient Kingdom of Ayutthaya, it served as a royal chapel and housed a 16-meter tall standing Buddha covered in gold.
Parts of the 1995 action film “Mortal Kombat” were filmed around here. The opening and closing scenes in “Mortal Kombat: Annihilation” were also filmed in Ayutthaya.
How to get there: Ayutthaya is well-connected to Bangkok by train. You can take a train from Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong to Ayutthaya Station, which is approximately 80 kilometers north of Bangkok. From Ayutthaya Station, you can take a tuk-tuk or taxi to reach Ayutthaya Historical Park.
Note that Hua Lamphong train station was scheduled for closure in 2021, having been replaced by the more modern Bang Sue Grand Station. However, the closure has been delayed, and trains to Ayutthaya still operate from Hua Lamphong at the time of writing this article.