The best movie locations you can visit from South East Asia

5. Koh Tapu - The Man With The Golden Gun

Roger Moore’s second outing as James Bond came in 1974’s The Man With The Golden Gun in which Christopher Lee played his nemesis, Francisco Scaramanga, an assassin with a penchant for theatrics and a third nipple. With his diminutive sidekick, Knick Knack, Scaramanga lived in solitude, give or take the odd kidnap victim or two. Fortunately, the damsels in distress wore the same sized bikini’s to take full advantage of the beautiful island home.

Koh Tapu - ‘nail island’ in Thai - sits in the waters of Phang Nga Bay, still mesmerising visitors with its gravity-defying shape. Alongside it, Khao Phing Kan was Scaramanga’s private island in the films. The area is known locally as ‘James Bond Island’ and is a popular tourist destination. There are numerous local tours to the islands. It’s hardly surprising; it has yet to be topped as a location for a Bond film.

4. Haeo Suwat Waterfall in Kaho Yai National Park - The Beach

The beach, or Ko Phi Phi Leh as it is properly known, is enough to attract you to Thailand. Miles of beautiful sand and unspoilt be commercialism, it’s breathtaking in its own right but it isn’t the place to go. At the end of the Thanarai Road in Kaho Yai National Park, Haeo Suwat Waterfall offers a varied but stunning backdrop.

In the dry season, the water splits into parallel streams but their full majesty is seen when nature is at its most powerful. Sadly, you can’t emulate Leonardo DiCaprio’s leap of faith into the falls but it is an area of such natural beauty that you can spend hours picturing yourself doing just that.

Easily accessible by road and just a three-hour drive from Bangkok, the falls are a must-see for any trip.

3. Angkor Wat -Tomb Raider

Angelina Jolie lept around the Angkor complex as Lara Croft, bringing Eidos' most successful computer game franchise to life on the silver screen. The durability of England’s finest female explorer has seen her visage embracing a wide range of different quirky spin offs such as casino games - slots to a range of clothing merchandise online.

One place to eschew the commercialism is the Angkor Wat complex. Tomb Raider was the first film to be shot on the location since 1970 and contributed to the explosion of tourist travel at the largest religious monument in the world. Covering an incredible 162 hectares, Angelina Jolie romped around Angkor Thom, Ta Phrom, and Bayon with the help of the vines of the indigenous banyan tree.

Completed in the 12th century, the stone work, carvings and inscriptions are a testament to the craftsmanship of their creators. From the Bayon at the very heart of Angkor Wat, you can see every aspect of this amazing place. Whilst there, touching the faces of Buddha - the highest point of this temple - is believed to bring good luck!

2. Khwae Yai River - The Deer Hunter

Michael Cimino’s Oscar-winning film was shot in Thailand, which has on numerous occasions substituted for Vietnam. The memorable scene with Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken playing Russian Roulette was filmed in Western Thailand around the Khwae Yai River, more commonly know as the River Kwai in the west.

There are a number of tours along the Death Railway, commemorating the Bridge over the River Kwai, many of which finish at the Jeath Museum and War Cemetery. For the more adventurous, there are elephant riding and bamboo rafting amid this area of outstanding natural beauty. If you plan to stay and comfort is a high priority, the River Kwai Jungle Rafts Hotel actually floats on the river itself.

Don’t however, expect to see anything of the 1957 classic The Bridge on the River Kwai. That was shot in Sri Lanka, near the town of Kitulgala.

1. Son Doong and En Cave - Kong: Skull Island

With the expansion of commercial air travel and mass tourism, finding new locations is a feat in itself for directors. For Kong: Skull Island, a film where big is beautiful, Jordan Vogt-Roberts used the biggest cave in the world: Son Doong and En Cave in Quang Binh province of Vietnam.

Twice the size of Deer Cave in Malaysia, Son Doong cave passage features the tallest stalagmites in the world, growing up to 70m tall.

Located in Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park, the area’s high limestone mountains, lush green forests and tranquil rivers are a haven for explorers.

There are plenty of local tours to take you to the stunning vistas including the cave entrance, welcoming you into a new world where a kaleidoscope of colours awaits as Mother Nature takes your breath away.

Sources & References.

  1. Trip Advisor: James Bond Island Review
  2. Betway Casino: Online Casino Games - Tomb Raider
  3. Red Bubble: Lara Croft Merchandise
  4. TV Over Mind: “Good Night Moon” on The Simpsons

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