5 Must-See Film Locations in Asia

Every corner of Asia is steeped in impressive history, culture and exoticism – so it’s natural that filmmakers the world over would want to immortalise it forever on screen. Here we bring you five of the most breath taking locations across the continent that you’ll be sure to recognise from the silver screen.

Ko Phi Phi Leh, Thailand – The Beach (2000)

Must-See Film Locations in Asia

Surely a contender for the most beautiful beaches in the world, the southern island of Ko Phi Phi Leh is home to Maya Bay, the setting for Danny Boyle’s island paradise film The Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The ultimate in beachy bliss, Ko Phi Phi Leh has all the ingredients for a picture perfect postcard: balmy weather, white sands and crystal waters combined with a feeling of seclusion and undiscovered magic. Of course, these days it can get pretty tourist-heavy so it’s best to go early in the morning to secure this little slice of heaven to yourself.

Tokyo, Japan – Lost in Translation (2003)

Must-See Film Locations in Asia

2003 indie film Lost in Translation makes a feature of its cinematography, showcasing the city of Tokyo in a dreamlike and mesmerising manner. The film captures the uncertainty and arbitrariness of any moment in time, contrasting feelings of loneliness and insecurity with notions of a whimsical, busy and colourful city. Stroll down the bustling streets with an enveloping feeling of anonymity or retrace the footsteps of Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson as they explored their growing friendship at the Park Hyatt Hotel.

Angkor, Cambodia – Tomb Raider (2001)

Must-See Film Locations in Asia

It’s no surprise that the residents of Cambodia weren’t too happy to see the historic and sacred temples of Angkor as the setting for 2001 action film, Tomb Raider. Situated just outside today’s city of Siem Reap, over 1000 sprawling temples once acted as the heart of the largest pre-industrial city in the world, under the Khmer Empire of the 9th to 15th centuries. Majestic and imposing, this UNESCO World Heritage Site acts as a powerfully spiritual backdrop to Angelina Jolie’s action heroine Lara Croft, as she engages in combat with masked marauders. It’s probably not what the Buddhist monks had in mind for their place of worship, so make sure the only thing that you’re shooting with is your camera!

Beijing, China – Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (2000)

Must-See Film Locations in Asia

Director Ang Lee’s martial arts romance, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon brings beautifully traditional Chinese culture to the forefront of the big screen. Suspending the rules of everything from gravity to reality, the way the visual images run together brings a real poetry and artistry to the scenery. The fights are choreographed as romantically and skilfully as a ballet and there’s an intrinsic sadness that is mirrored in the breath taking locations. Explore the historic beauty of the city for yourself with a flight to Beijing from Expedia.

Khao Phing Kan or ‘James Bond Island’, Thailand – The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)

Must-See Film Locations in Asia

The Thai island of Khao Phing Kan has become so synonymous with the 1974 James Bond film that locals and guide books alike now popularly refer to it as ‘James Bond Island’. Before 1974, the island was a rarely visited indigenous area. However, since it’s defining moment as the hideout for Bond’s antagonist, Francisco Scaramanga, it has turned into a popular tourist destination. Much like The Beach’s Ko Phi Phi Leh, this could potentially ruin its paradisiac – but it’s still the most stunningly beautiful place to channel your inner 007.

This article is written by Josie Sampson.

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