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Famous Movie Locations in Southeast Asia

Hanoi Voyages > Blog > Famous Movie Locations in Southeast Asia

Do you want to immerse yourself in a picturesque atmosphere of our destinations before you visit? Watching movies below might be a good starter before you will visit and get the first course – see those places with your own eyes when you visit movie locations in Asia. And a dessert? Taking a picture in the exact spot where Angelina Jolie or Tom Hiddleston stood before you! What an awesome jealous-worthy souvenir, right?

Southeast Asia became a popular destination for local as well as foreign filmmakers.

Ready to discover if your favourite movie made it to our list of movie locations in Asia and countries from our offer?

“Lights, Camera, Action”, here we go!

Vietnam

Top destination for movie locations

More and more filmmakers choose Vietnam as their destination. Reason? Rich history, good climate, amazing nature.

The last movie that used all of those to its benefit was Kong – Skull Island from 2017. Sequel to Peter Jackson´s movie was shot in North and Central part of Vietnam. It remains the largest production filmed in Vietnam (budget about 190 million USD). Stars such as Tom Hiddleston (Avengers) and Brie Larson (Captain Marvel) filmed in Quang Ninh area (Ha Long Bay), Ninh Binh and Quang Binh.

You can visit them all with Hanoi Voyages! Explore caves and karsts in Quang Ninh, sail on a boat in Ha Long Bay, one of the most visited destinations in Vietnam or admire temples, pagodas, and greenery in Ninh Binh. Watch our video about authentic homestay we partnered with here.

Ninh Binh - one of the movie locations for Kong: Skull Island
Ninh Binh - one of the movie locations for Kong: Skull Island

Other famous movies shot in Vietnam include Indochine with French actress Catherine Deneuve, shot in Hue, Ha Long Bay and Ninh Binh (Phát Diệm Cathedral) or the Quiet American with Michael Cain filmed in Saigon. Graham Green, the author of the novel Quiet American, stayed at The Metropole hotel, Hanoi, when writing it and has now a suite named after him.

The Lover was shot in the Mekong Delta regions
The Lover was shot in the Mekong Delta regions

French movie The Lover was filmed in Saigon too. You can also recognize Sa Đéc, Vĩnh Long and Mekong Delta in this love story.

Fun fact: the award-winning movie Good morning, Vietnam starring late Robin Williams was not shot in Vietnam! Read further to discover where.

Cambodia

The most famous Hollywood flick filmed here might be Lara Croft: Tomb Raider from 2001. It was a pioneering act to chose Cambodia at that time; 30 trucks of film equipment had to be brought in from Thailand, and the convoy often had to stop while soldiers repaired the roads and bridges ahead! Safe to say it was worth it, since nice shots of Angkor Wat temples in the movie helped promote the country, bring in tourists and Angelina Jolie fell in love with Cambodia.

Tomb Raider movie locations in Cambodia
Angelina Jolie's Tomb Raider was shot in Angkor Wat complex

She returned two years later to adopt her first child, Maddox and recently released a Netflix piece she directed: First they killed my father. It is based on Cambodian human rights activist Luong Ung´s memoir about her gruesome experience as a young girl under the brutal rule of the Khmer Rouge.

Movie crews from action-packed movies seem to love Cambodia. Did you know that third part of the popular franchise Transformers was filmed here too?

Laos

Laos is a filming destination on the rise and still not that discovered by movie crews. Films that were shot here include the Australian award-winning drama (sadly banned in Laos) The Rocket, and Rescue Dawn, based on a true story or Air America with Mel Gibson and Robert Downey Jr.

The Rocket was banned in Laos
Unfortunately, The Rocket has been banned it its original country of shooting

Myanmar

Myanmar is also waiting to be discovered. There were many movies shot in the 1940s to 1960s, for example starring Frank Sinatra. From newer ones we can mention Rambo with Sylvester Stallone, shot on the Salween River separating Burma and Thailand. Same as The Rocket in Laos, the movie got banned in Myanmar. Other movies are The Lady by Luc Besson, starring Michelle Yeoh or military sci-fi Stealth with Jessica Biel and Jamie Foxx, showing Rangoon by night.

The Lady movie locations in Myanmar
Michelle Yeoh stars as the empowered lady of Burma - Aung San Suu Kyi

Thailand

Thailand is probably one of the most popular movie locations in the world. You guessed right, even Good morning, Vietnam was shot here, to be exact in Bangkok. There is another famous movie about the war that “shows” Vietnam but was in reality shot in Bangkok and it is the Oscar-laden Deer Hunter with Robert De Niro. Hangover 2, both Man with the Golden Gun and Tomorrow never dies from Bond series were partly shot here too.

Moving away from the hustle and bustle of the capital, Thai beaches are also popular among filmmakers. When most people think of films made in Thailand, they think of The Beach with Leonardo DiCaprio. The beach where they filmed it is called Maya Bay, on the island of Koh Phi Phi Leh in the Andaman Sea had to be shut down in 2018 due to daily visits by approximately 4000 tourists! It will shut down for 4 months every year so coral reefs and wildlife have time to recover.

Leonardo and the famed Maya Beach
Young Leonardo on the famed Maya Beach

Read about how to travel responsibly here.

Mentioning Thailand and beach, one has to remember the tragic events of earthquake and tsunami in the Indian ocean in 2004. Thailand was hit badly, lives were lost and resorts like Phuket, Phang Nga or Krabi had to be rebuilt. This event is depicted in the drama The Impossible, starring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor. It is based on a true story of a family that experienced the events and was filmed in the exact hotel, now rebuilt, where they stayed and real survivors were used as movie extras.

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