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Thailand

Thailand Film & Photography Production Services & Camera Crews

Are you a media company, brand, ad agency or production company looking for film / photography production support or shooting crew in Thailand? Contact us for trusted fixers, producers, directors, DoPs, videographers, photographers, and full shooting crews tailored for the specific needs of your project.

Filming in Thailand

For an introduction to shooting in Thailand see below notes on film locations, permits, when to shoot, unique local stories, costs, tax incentives, crews, talent, equipment, communications, art department, studios, post facilities, visas and work permits for filming, transport, film-friendly accommodation, and safety advice.

Thailand Film Locations

Offering uniquely Thai looks as well as a range of locations that easily double for other countries, Thailand is one of Asia’s most popular film production services destinations.

Thailand is known for its palm-fringed paradise white sand beaches, turquoise waters, spectacular underwater photography, islands, modern villas, limestone cliffs, caves, tropical forests, mountains, picturesque waterfalls, exotic street markets, Buddhist temples and traditional villages.

Agricultural film locations include rice terraces, as well as plantations of rubber trees, sugarcane, soybeans, palm oil, and cassava (tapioca). Industrial locations include machinery, automobile and electronics manufacturing plants.

Thailand has a long history of hosting international productions including Extraction (2020), Fast and Furious 9 (2020), The Impossible (2012), The Hangover II (2011), Rescue Dawn (2006), Alexander (2004), The Beach (2000), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), Street Fighter (1994), Good Morning, Vietnam (1987), and The Deer Hunter (1978), to name a few.

Film regions of Thailand include:

North

The northern region includes the provinces of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Kamphaeng Phet, Lampang, Lamphun, Mae Hong Son, Nakhon Sawan, Nan, Phayao, Phetchabun, Phitsanulok, Phichit, Phrae, Sukhothai, Tak, Uttaradit, and Uthai Thani.

Northern Thailand is a thickly forested part of Thailand known for its mountains and cooler temperatures. Chiang Mai is the largest city in northern Thailand. It is known for its hundreds of elaborate temples including Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, Wat Phra Singh, and Wat Suan Dok. The Chiang Mai Night Bazaar is a colourful location. Chiang Rai is famous for the Wat Rong Khun. National parks of note include Doi Inthanon National Park, Doi Phu Kha National Park, and Sukhothai Historical Park.

Northeast

The northeastern region includes the provinces of Amnat Charoen, Bueng Kan, Buri Ram, Chaiyaphum, Kalasin, Khon Kaen, Loei, Maha Sarakham, Mukdahan, Nakhon Phanom, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nong Bua Lamphu, Nong Khai, Roi Et, Sakon Nakhon, Si Sa Ket, Surin, Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani, and Yasothon.

Northeastern Thailand is the less-explored corner of the country. Mostly rural, filmmakers and photographers can find vast rice fields, buffalo in muddy ponds, and Mekong River vistas. Of note are Pha Taem National Park and Khao Yai National Park.

Central

The central region includes the provinces of Ang Thong, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Bangkok, Chachoengsao, Chai Nat, Chanthaburi, Chon Buri, Kanchanaburi, Lop Buri, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Pathom, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Prachin Buri, Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Ratchaburi, Rayong, Sa Kaeo, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkhram, Saraburi, Sing Buri, Suphan Buri, and Trat.

Bangkok is the capital and main production centre where gear and crew travel from. Bangkok doubled for Saigon in Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), Good Morning, Vietnam (1987), and The Deer Hunter (1978). The metropolis offers a wide range of looks all blended in together. Chaotic markets, roads and waterways contrast the scenes of saffron-robed monks praying in magnificent Buddhist temples. Rooftop lounges in modern towers overlook ramshackle shanty-towns and river stilt houses. Locations of particular interest include the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Wat Arun, Thonburi, Chatuchak market, Lumphini Park, and the Maeklong Train Market

Outside of Bangkok film locations of note include Ayuthaya (Siam’s former royal capital), Bang Pa-In Royal Palace, Kanchanaburi’s Burma Railway, Bang Kwang Prison (“Bangkok Hilton”), Khao Yai National Park, Erawan National Park, Amphawa and Damnoen Saduak Floating Markets. Khwae Yai (River Kwai) was filmed for the prison camp Russian roulette scene in The Deer Hunter (1978).

South

The southern region includes the provinces of Chumphon, Krabi, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Narathiwat, Pattani, Phang Nga, Phatthalung, Phuket, Ranong, Songkhla, Satun, Surat Thani, Trang, and Yala.

Southern Thailand is known for its spectacular limestone islands with white sand beaches and turquoise seas. Much of The Impossible (2012) and The Beach (2000) were filmed in southern Thailand. Phuket and Krabi are the largest cities and main entry points by air. The Gulf of Thailand is known for the islands of Ko Samui (luxury homes, beach bungalows, and night markets), Ko Pha-ngan (the party island), Ko Tao (underwater photography and rock climbing), and Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park. On the Andaman Sea side of Thailand, paradise islands of note include are Ko Phi Phi, Ko Lanta, Ko Lipe, Koh Yao, Ko Kradan, Ko Lao Liang, Ko Chang, Ko Payam, and the Surin and Similan Islands. Railay Beach is a mecca for rock climbers. Maya Bay on the island of Phi Phi Leh, famed as the paradise beach in The Beach (2000), is now closed to the public.

Thailand Film Location Permits

Thailand is a film friendly country with a straight forward permitting process. Filming permits for TV shows, documentaries and corporate videos take about 3-5 days, TV commercials and TV dramas take about 10 days, and atature films take about 3 weeks to process. Special permits are required for filming in National Parks and Historical Parks. Bangkok does not offer any city-wide permits, so you will need permits for each location you want to shoot at.

Filming topics including anything to do with the monarchy or religion are the most problematic for obtaining permission. Some locations have restricted hours of use such as Chinatown which can only have traffic controlled on weekends or nights.

Please contact us for more location specific information.

To apply for film permits, our Thai service producer / fixer will require a final list of locations, crew and talent list, complete schedule, passport scans and current photos of visiting crew. Processed permits can be changed with a few days notice, depending on the extent of the changes.

A fee must also be paid for a Film Board minder who will be assigned to check on your project.

When To Shoot?

Thailand is a tropical country with a hot, humid climate particularly in the jungle interior, with cooler temperatures on the coast and in the mountainous north. The best time to shoot for weather is during the warm, dry season from November to February. Thailand gets very hot and humid from March to June. The monsoon wet season runs from June to October. Underwater photography is possible all year round with the best visibility in the Gulf of Thailand from May to September, and the Andaman Sea from October to April. For monthly weather statistics please see here. 

Most festivals and events are based on Thailand’s Buddhist traditions.

• Magha Puja is a Buddhist festival in February / March.
• Songkran is held in April.
• Bun Bang Fai Rocket Festival in Yasothon takes place during a full moon in May.
• Phuket Vegetarian Festival takes place in October
• Loy Kratong is held in November.
• Surin Elephant Round-up also takes place in November.
• Ko Pha Ngan’s Full Moon Parties take place every month.

Public holidays may affect timing, availability and costs. See here for public holiday dates in Thailand.

Unique Local Stories

Brands are looking for local stories that match their brand narrative. Our local teams are a great lead for sourcing those unique stories and characters.

If you are looking for stories for your next shoot, send us your brief and we will pitch you ideas.

If you have a unique story you would like to pitch to a brand anywhere in the world, pitch us your idea. We have well-established processes to ensure that your ideas are properly seen and protected.

Costs & Tax Incentives

Costs. Thailand is one of the more expensive countries to shoot in South East Asia. On the whole, compared to other countries offering the same high standard of production services, Thailand offers very good value for money. Our Thai fixer / service producer will negotiate local deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget.

Tax Incentives. Thailand offers a cash rebate of 15% to any production that incurs a minimum local spend of THB50 million (USD1.5 million), with an extra 3% if a production hires local talent in lead roles, and another 2% if the project is deemed to promote tourism to Thai. The incentive is available to feature films and TV productions.

Film Crew & Talent

Crews. Thailand has some of the best DoP’s in the region as well as some of the most highly awarded directors in the world. There are no unions as such, rather an unwritten accepted rate and working hours. Thailand has very experienced English speaking crews (including stunt crews and riggers) so there is no need to bring in key crew unless the shoot requires something very specific. Local crews have a reputation of being professional and a pleasure to work with.

Contact us if you are looking for a Bangkok based director, DP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, or any other film crew for your shoot in Thailand.

Talent is non-union and buyouts are negotiable. Thais make up the majority with Thai Chinese and other South East Asian looks also available, including colourful hill-tribes (Akha, Lahu, Karen, Hmong, Mien and Lisu). Thailand also has a regular flow of European and South American models and actors who live and work in Thailand for extended periods of time. This is also supplemented by the large number of tourists visiting Thailand, who can be street-cast if needed. Thailand also has a pool of animal actors including Asian elephants.

Thailand Film Equipment

Equipment. Thailand is Arri based. Most standard camera, grip and lighting equipment is available in Thailand including some more specialised gear such as Motion Control, underwater housing, Baan Rig, Super Techno 30 crane with 3-axis Z-Head, and 3-axis stabilised Flight Head III (Filmotechnic). There are also many options for drone photography. Additional gear can easily be brought in from Hong Kong or Singapore. For productions looking to bring in film equipment, Thailand is an ATA carnet member country.

Communications. Communication is key. Our agility and global experience allows us to customise the right communications systems for every shoot.

Web posted casting, scouting, and videoconferencing.

For clients that are unable to attend set we offer a virtual video village solution. This dedicated and secure high-resolution video streaming platform allows clients from one or multiple timezones to view setups without compromise and to participate in real-time with the team on set. Separate systems can be set up for the discrete conversations that are required to make a job run right. Working remotely with our local teams reduces your content production costs, turnaround times, carbon footprint, and risks associated with unpredictable global events.

Art Department, Studios, Backlots, & Post Production

Art department. Thailand has some very experienced art department key crew. Set construction crews are hard working, flexible and experienced. Thailand is also a great place to rent otherwise difficult to access props, such as F16 jet fighters, and other sophisticated military equipment.

Studios. MoonStar is the largest studio compound available although there are several other studios scattered around Bangkok.

Backlots. At present no backlots exist.

Post Production. Processing and post production facilities are of an international standard.

Visas & Work Permits

Entry is subject to regulations from country of origin. Crews entering on Western passports can enter Thailand visa-free. If the visiting crew is working less than 15 days, permission must be sought from the Department of Employment. Crews planning to stay for longer than 15 days need to have a work permit. Our local Thai fixer / service producer is able to apply for permits on behalf of visiting crew members. Contact your local Thai embassy / representative for more information.

Transport & Accommodation

Transportation Infrastructure. Majors roads are paved and up to international standards. Rural roads can be slower going, particularly during the monsoon season. Bangkok has heavy traffic congestion but police escorts can be organised for a small fee. Bangkok International Airport is a major international hub. Several airlines service low-cost domestic flights throughout Thailand.

Accommodation. Contact us for film friendly hotels and residences in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Ko Samui, and other parts of Thailand. Hotels of note include:

Mandarin Oriental Bangkok

Final Notes

Safety. See here for up to date travel advice.

Final Notes. Delicious Thai cuisine, friendly people, agreeable weather and a vibrant nightlife help make Thailand a great place to shoot.

Projects. For an example of TV commercials, stills campaigns, online content, corporate videos, virtual reality 360 content, feature films, TV series and documentaries shot in Thailand, please see below:

Hire Thailand Production Support & Shooting Crew

If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company, line producer or fixer for your shoot in Thailand, please contact us.

If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in Thailand, such as a director, DoP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, please contact us.

We are able to provide you with answers, references and bids quickly.