With such an abundance of incredible spots, no list of the best filming and production locations in Bangkok can ever truly be complete. This city offers locations for every project, even easily doubling for European, American, Chinese, and Indian cities. Music videos, viral marketing campaigns, international TVCs, and major brand commercials shoot here on a daily basis. Read on to find out why!
Bangkok offers scenic variety, complete infrastructural support, and unparalleled urban landscapes catering to every budget and scope. What follows is Mbrella Films’ list of some of the best filming locations in Bangkok. We have compiled it based on our production team’s combined decades of experience shooting in this bustling city. If you have any questions about bringing your project to Bangkok or any other ASEAN locale, reach out to us anytime.
1. Bangkok Skyline
Any director or producer seeking to capture the perfect establishing shot of an urban metropolis will find an ideal panorama in Bangkok. The city indeed seems to stretch endlessly into the distance, conjuring up imagery of futurism, rapid development, and architectural splendor. Bangkok is a densely populated city, with a winding, multidimensional layout. As it has grown, this city has suffered from poor urban planning. However, this sense of an almost haphazard cityscape gives this place an endless wealth of cinematic scope and potential.
2. Bangkok’s Sois
Much of Bangkok’s life resides in its weaving networks of what are called sois. A soi is basically a side street that branches off from the main arterial thoroughfares. However many sois will remind visitors from western countries more of alleyways. There are no sidewalks in sois, and they are often too narrow for cars to easily pass one another. The sois follow no particular grid pattern, and they are abundant with food vendors, shops, markets, and salons. Some visitors never venture off the beaten path to see this slice of Thai life. In our opinion, sois are some of the best filming locations in Bangkok. They can’t be missed to fully appreciate the city’s authenticity!
3. Bangkok Markets
Few cities in the world do markets like Bangkok does markets. This is a shop til you drop kind of a place. Here, bargaining is a hobby that is elevated to the level of an art form. This city is a global touristic destination, a regional hub, and the second-largest city in the ASEAN region. Many who roam its streets are on a mission for just the right item, the right meal, the right souvenir or gift to bring home.
When we say that Bangkok has markets like no place else, this statement is supported by fact. Chatuchak Market, to the northern part of the city, is the largest open-air pedestrian market in the world! Every weekend it features 15,000 stalls, 11,000 vendors, and welcomes over 200,000 visitors. Items on sale at Chatuchak include plants, fashion, antiques, consumer electronics, cosmetics, pets, food and drinks, fresh and dry food, ceramics, and furniture. It truly has to be seen to be believed.
Some modern markets catering to a young and hip crowd have started to pop up in Bangkok as well. These include the train markets of Srinarin and Ratchada. Here students, young professionals, and office workers go to decompress, socialize, drink and eat. These train markets are the perfect setting for any TVC seeking to connect with a hip audience or even for a romantic comedy feature film. Another kind of market that is indigenous to Bangkok are the famous floating markets. These are very traditional, stemming from a time when farmers just across the river brought their daily harvest to the city center.
4. The Chao Praya River
Any conversation about the best filming and television locations in Bangkok is not complete without mentioning the mighty Chao Praya River. This river is the lifeline to the city and indeed for the entire nation. It forms the largest watershed in Thailand and its low alluvial plain quenches the thirst of the country’s most thriving industry, the agricultural sector.
In Bangkok, the Chao Praya endows the scenery with an air of riverine commerce and lifestyles preserved in time. Despite the rapid development along its shores, some locals here seem to be living the same way their great grandparents may have. Some of the city’s most historic and rare architectural treasures also dot each side of the river. These include the Danish East Asiatic Company headquarters and the Old Customs House, built in 1888.
Other magnificent buildings filling the background scenery along the Chao Praya include the famed Wat Arun and the Assumption Cathedral. The Grand Palace is also here, a Thai royal residence and ceremonial hall since 1782. New sites are being built at a swift pace as well, making a slow boat ride along this mighty river almost akin to a journey in a time machine. The Chao Praya undoubtedly stands out as one of the best filming locations in Bangkok!
It doesn’t stop there, because Bangkok also has one of the world’s largest canal systems. The city was once nicknamed the ‘Venice of the East’ for good reason! While many of those canals were long ago filled in and turned into roads, a number remain. This canal system features boat services and the scenery along it is truly unique to Bangkok’s atmosphere.
“Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.” Any fan of classical Hollywood cinema will know where that line of dialogue came from. And perhaps no other five words in the English language capture the essence of Chinese ethnic enclaves all over the globe, where everything seems to operate on a different level or in a different dimension. Bangkok’s Chinatown is no different. Known mainly as Yaowarat Road, this area has been a mercantile epicenter from the city’s earliest years.
Now more of a gastronomic, tourism, and shopping destination, BKK’s Chinatown is still thriving. Yaowarat Road is full of life, with multiple markets catering both to legions of visitors and local shoppers alike. These bazaars enliven any story with a sense of ingenuity, industriousness, and commercial activity. Interior locations in the area include exotic seafood restaurants, hotels, and traditional shophouses reflecting the earliest years of Bangkok’s history.
As mentioned before, this is only a partial list! Mbrella Films has in house location scouts that know Bangkok well and can help you choose the perfect setting for your next project. We also have years of experience expediting the permitting processes for any available Bangkok filming locations, so you can set up the tripod as soon as you land! Call or email us anytime!