Thailand has been a popular location for Hollywood filmmakers throughout the years, and “The Land of Smiles” has always been welcoming the film industry as a way to promote tourism in the country. Tourist arrivals in Thailand are expected to reach a record high in 2016, after nearly 30 million visitors in 2015 — many of them inspired by movies like The Beach. Here are 10 movies that will inspire you to travel to Thailand.
1. Men of War (1994)
As a Swede I’m rooting for Dolph Lundgren, and what better can it be with this blond action hero in a movie set in Krabi’s gorgeous limestone scenery? Men of War is about a former mercenary, paid to fight against the people of a South China Sea island into giving up their rights to the rare treasure that the island beholds. The inhabitants refuse to give up their land and Nick Gunar (Dolph Lundgren) decides to help them fight the corporation that hired him. Some filming locations include Railay Peninsula and Ao Nang.
2. Hangover Part II (2005)
The first Hangover movie was a huge success, and in the sequel, the screenplay has been moved from Las Vegas to Thailand. Stu is getting married, and just like the first movie, things goes seriously awry. The film offers some great Krabi scenery and fun, crazy nightlife in Bangkok.
3. The Man With The Golden Gun (1974)
Before 1974, Khao Phing Kan was a rarely visited island. However, it was chosen as one of the locations for the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun. After the movie was released, the island in Phang Nga Bay turned into a popular tourist destination and is now known as James Bond Island. The film also gives us a thrilling boat chase through Damneon Saduak Floating Market near Bangkok.
4. The Beach (2000)
Less than twenty years ago, Krabi was an undiscovered paradise that only the most adventurous of travelers could find. All of that changed when The Beach, featuring Leonardo Dicaprio was released in 2000. Richard (Leonardo Di Caprio) travels to Thailand where he receives a map from a strange man that claim it leads to a secret paradise beach. The scenery in the movie is absolutely gorgeous, and ever since the release, tourists have flocked to Phi Phi Islands in Krabi Province where the movie was set.
5. Kickboxer (1989)
If you were a young kid in the 80’s like me, you have probably seen the cult classic Kickboxer with Jean-Claude Van Damme. As part of the Muay Thai training, Kurt Sloane (Van Damme) travels to the spectacular “Stone City” wich is an ancient training ground for great Thai warriors. In reality, it is the amazing ruins of Ayutthaya which has been granted World Heritage status by UNESCO.
6. Mortal Kombat (1994)
Just like Kickboxer, Mortal Kombat chose Ayutthaya Historical Park as one of the filming locations. The movie also captures the beauty of Krabi; it was filmed at Railay and Phra Nang Beach. Mortal Kombat was originally a fantasy-horror themed fighting game released in 1992. If you’re a fan of the game you most likely have already seen the movie.
7. Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004)
The Edge of Reason is not as good as the first movie, which was quite a success, but the sequel offers some beautiful scenery around Koh Panyee and Phang Nga Bay. The film also takes us to Bangkok and Phuket’s Nai Yang Beach. The story continues four weeks after the first movie, and Bridget Jones is already questioning the relationship with Mark Darcy.
8. Rambo (2008)
Who doesn’t love Rambo? In the fourth and final part of the franchise, Vietnam veteran John Rambo now lives in Thailand where he makes a living capturing and selling snakes for local entertainers. The movie is set in beautiful Chiang Mai in northern Thailand and the snake farm in the film is actually a real establishment and tourist attraction.
9. Star Wars: Episode III (2005)
Scenes from Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith were shot in Krabi in 2005. The limestone cliffs and lush mangrove forests were used for the arrival at the Battle of Kashyyyk — home of the Wookies. Sure, the scenes are involving heavy use of CGI.
10. The Impossible (2012)
One might think that a tsunami disaster would scare people off from going to Thailand, but it seems that it had the opposite effect. In 2004 when the tsunami hit Thailand, 11.4 million international tourists visited Thailand. That figure has nearly tripled since then. The Impossible is a true story of a British family on holidays in Khao Lak when the tsunami strikes.