Movies – What to Watch if You’re Heading to Thailand!


What better way than getting ready for an adventure in Thailand that watching a few movies filmed in or about Thailand. Get’s you ready for the beautiful beaches, the mountains, the culture and the superb food.

Whilst there aren’t many ‘classic’ movies about Thailand – or at least not unless you speak Thai and have access to Thai cinema – there are a huge number of movies that have been filmed here and one or two ‘must sees’.

Ong Bak

A classic ‘poor boy goes to the big city to fight the bad guys’ marital arts film in the Bruce Lee vein, this is a must see for anyone who likes a bit of action, some fantastic martial arts fight scenes and a great Thai ‘vibe’. This film made a real star out of Tony Jaa (the lead) and was a huge hit in Thailand and a bit of a cult hit overseas too. Well worth watching and great fun.

The Beach

Time was when every guest house was showing The Beach on almost permanent rotation. The huge hit film of the Alex Garland book with Leonardo ensuring it become a big box office earner. Stunning locations (although this is the film that led to the over-tourism at Maya Bay, Koh Phi Phi and it’s subsequent closure), beaches and blue seas to die for (literally!) and a pretty good story of young travellers looking for the perfect beach community. If you haven’t seen it, give it a go and at the very least it’ll make you wish you were heading to a Thai island before long….

Have a look at the trailer here and think of blue seas and sandy beaches…

The Railway Man

A moving account of a POW captured by the Japanese Army in a work camp in Kanchanaburi province and his meeting in later life with one of the prison guards. Whilst not specifically about Thailand, must of the film is set here and the prisoners were building the ‘death railway’ made famous in The Bridge on the River Kwai (ironically – this classic was actually filmed in Sri Lanka!). A great movie, a real sense of the hardship endured by the prisoners and lots of filming done in and around the beautiful Kanchanburi province North West of Bangkok.

The Man With the Golden Gun

All Bond afficianados will of course know that this classic Bond movie was filmed for large parts in Thailand and in many ways put Thai beaches on the global map. Indeed, Khao Phing Kan in Phang Nga province is now known as James Bond island and has made fortunes for people in the area trading on it’s link to the Bond movie.

Whether you’re a Bond fan or not, there are some classic scenes in this one and James Bond ‘island’ is stunning. And what’s not to like about one of the best Bond villains of all time – Christopher Lee’s ‘Scaramanga’

The Hangover Part II

Never going to win Oscars but large parts of the movie were filmed in Thailand and more than one locations has since made a fortune on the back of promoting visits to where it was filmed (the rooftop bar at Lebua State Tower) – and if you visit you’ll soon see way, be prepared to take a bank loan to buy a cocktail up there. Lots of steroetypical Thai scenes throughout the film but the one reason we love it, is that the guys who made the Tuk Tuk they used in the filming, also made our first fleet of Tuk Tuks for The Tuk Tuk Club – but ours are better (their words, not ours!)

Lost In Thailand

Something a little different here with a hugely popular Chinese film that was almost single handedly responsible for the growth of Chinese tourism to Chiang Mai and Pai. Worth a look if you can find a version with subtitles (or speak Mandarin) and an interesting if light hearted insight into how Thailand is viewed by China.

Finally, we really should mention some of the great food based shows featuring Thailand that have appeared on Netflix and other streaming services. Whilst what’s on offer of course varies by where you live, there are more than enough Thai food based shows to get your appetite well and truly ready.

Two of the most interesting are:

Chef’s Table – Bo Songvisaya (founder of the stunning Bangkok restaurant Bo.Lan)

Street Food – Bangkok (featuring the fantastic street food cook who won a Michelin star, Jay Fai)

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