Geek out Your Trip and Visit These 5 Filming Locations from Your Favorite Movies
These On-Screen Destinations are a Must-See
You’ll recognize these famous movie locations from their starring roles in “Star Wars,” “James Bond” and “Indiana Jones.” While it might be the movie connection that made them into top travel destinations, these locations are fantastic attractions in their own right and offer so much more to discover.
Maya Bay, Thailand
Featured in: “The Beach”
In the film “The Beach” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, a group of young idealistic backpackers set off to find a remote and unspoiled paradise in Thailand — only to find themselves in more danger than they expected. The movie isn’t great and gets pretty weird by the end, but the image that no one can forget is the white sand and turquoise water of the hidden beach the young travelers find.
This fictional paradise exists: it’s called Maya Beach and it’s only a short boat ride away from the popular backpacker party island of Koh Phi Phi in Thailand. The beach isn’t exactly the same as it looks in the film — another large rock was added in post-production to make it completely secluded.
Also, these days it’s busy with sunbathing backpackers as it’s one of the more famous movie locations to visit, so if you want to see it in an uncrowded state you’ll need to go as early in the morning as possible.
Make sure you bring along snorkeling gear and plenty of water (there are no shops on the island). Hire a private long-tail boat with a few friends and split the cost; it will be cheaper than the package tour and you can take your time enjoying the beach for as long as you like.
Then, go on your own adventure to one of Thailand’s less touristic islands and see if you can discover a quiet beach of your own.
Photo Credit: iStockPhoto
Featured in: “James Bond: Skyfall”
When Daniel Craig and Dame Judi Dench were filming “Skyfall” in Glencoe in the Scottish Highlands, the cast and crew were stunned by the breathtaking scenery.
The 2012 film has 007 returning to his Scottish ancestral home. Ian Fleming was so impressed by Sean Connery’s portrayal of James Bond in the film “Dr. No” in 1962 that he wrote in some Scottish heritage for the famous spy character.
You can follow in the footsteps of Bond with a road trip through the rugged Glencoe peaks and waterfalls of the A82 road. In contrast to the hauntingly harsh and desolate highlands, the Scottish people are warm and friendly and are sure to make you feel welcome.
While you are in Scotland you can also visit Eilean Donan Castle, which was used as the Scottish headquarters of M16 in the 1999 Bond film “The World Is Not Enough.” While you are there, treat yourself to some quality Scottish whiskey rather than a martini (shaken not stirred).
Photo Credit: iStockPhoto
Matamata, New Zealand
Featured in: “The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy
Do you remember seeing the first “Lord of the Rings” film, “The Fellowship of the Ring,” and falling in love with the pastoral charm of The Shire? Home to Bilbo, Frodo, Sam and the other hobbits, Hobbiton is a peaceful and lovely village of quaint underground homes nestled in the green hills and marked with round doors.
The good news for Tolkien fans is that you can actually visit the hobbit village — it’s still there in the farmland of New Zealand where it was filmed.
When Peter Jackson saw this farm, owned by the Alexander family, in an aerial search for locations, he though it looked like “a slice of ancient England.” At this spot within the green pastures of the Hamilton-Waikato region you’ll find 44 unique hobbit homes, including Bilbo’s house at Bag End.
There are guided tours through the village where you can learn about how it was all created. You should probably book your tour in advance, however, as it’s one of the most famous movie locations.