Movies Made in Chiang Mai

There have been quite a lot of movies filmed, or partially shot, in Thailand over the years. Gorgeous beaches, dense jungles, and fairly low production costs are just a few reasons why producers have chosen the Land of Smiles for their location.

Did you know though that some of these movies have been filmed in Chiang Mai?

The next time you watch one of these films, look out for familiar scenes!

Air America

Despite the story being set during the war in Vietnam, parts of this film were shot around Chiang Mai Airport, as well as other places in the north of Thailand.  Other filming locations included LA and London.  A 1990 action comedy, the plot deals with an unemployed helicopter pilot being posted to Laos on a secret mission, drug smuggling, arms deals, time with a rural tribe, setups, cover-ups, crashes, … and more.  Veteran pilots were used for some of the tricky manoeuvres and the cast included Mel Gibson, Robert Downey Jr., Lane Smith, Art LaFleur, and Nancy Travis.

The Man with the Iron Fists 2

Recently released directly on video in April 2015, this movie is the sequel to The Man with the Iron Fists.   Almost everything was filmed around Chiang Mai, and you may recognise the stunning caves where the miners work.  Featuring RZA, Sahajak Boonthanakit, Pim Bubear, Ocean Hou, Grace Huang, and others, it is a high energy martial arts movie.  The main plot deals with a battle against evil powers, and, despite being filmed in Thailand, the story is meant to take place in a Chinese mining area.

The Letter

A 2004 Thai adaptation of a South Korean favourite, The Letter is a romantic-drama

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focused around a chance meeting at a Chiang Mai funeral.  A distance relationship was started and eventually the pair got married, but not until after a few dramatic events.  The relationship is brought to an abrupt end when the husband dies.  The wife then receives letters from her dead husband that he had penned whilst still alive.   She moves past her pain, with the help of the letters, and gives birth to a child that she raises in Chiang Mai.  The award-winning movie starred Anne Thongprasom.

Rambo / Rambo IV

Filmed in Chiang Mai, as well as other places around the world, this was the fourth Rambo movie.  It was made in 2008 and featured Sylvester Stallone, Paul Schulze, Julie Benz, Graham McTavish, and Matthew Marsden, amongst others.  The main story is about attempts to rescue missionaries who were kidnapped by Burmese soldiers.

Lost in Thailand

An incredibly popular Chinese comedy, Lost in Thailand was released in 2012.  The story is about  two businessmen searching for their boss in Thailand, and then meeting a tourist who was keen to explore the Land of Smiles.  It starred  Xu Zheng (who also directed the movie), Huang Bo, and Wang Baoqiang.

Sniper 3

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Featuring Tom Berenger, John Doman, and Byron Mann, this 2004 action / drama / thriller used Chiang Mai as a film location in place of Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City.  The plot is about a CIA sniper sent to Vietnam to eliminate a merciless drug dealer.  The target subsequently turns out to be someone that the sniper knew in his past.

American Gangster

Based on the life of career-criminal Frank Lucas, the movie tells of his drug smuggling and other acts.  Released in 2007, the film starred Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington.  The first parts of the movie were shot in New York, with latter scenes filmed in Chiang Mai.

No Escape

After a name change and an alteration to the release date, No Escape is due to be released in September 2015.  The film is about being trapped in a war-zone and it features Owen Wilson, Pierce Brosnan, and Lake Bell.

Do you know of any other movies that were filmed in and around Chiang Mai? 

What’s your favourite?

Where you in any of them?

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4 thoughts on “Movies Made in Chiang Mai”

  • James Schipper

    A movie from 2013 called The Hunters has quite a bit filmed in and around Chiang Mai. I haven’t been able to watch the entire film, but the opening scenes are filmed all over town.

    Related: last week’s episode of the American TV show Castle mentions Chiang Mai as a major story line, though I don’t think any filming was done here.

    • Perfect Homes (Chiang Mai Properties)

      Thanks for the thoughts. I will have a look at the hunters.
      But why is the American TV show mentioning Chiang Mai? Where does Chiang Mai fall into the story line?

      • James Schipper

        It was strange and random. He was kidnapped and gone for a long time with no memory of the events that transpired. They get some random video that showed a license plate, and the NYPD detectives said “it’s Arabic” and I yelled at the tv that it is a license plate from Chiang Mai. And then they corrected it. Usually yelling at my tv does not produce such results.

        Also, on a show called The Americans recently, a former FBI boss says he’s going to visit his wife’s family in Chiang Mai. There is a scene in a hotel room that is supposed to be there, but it was probably shot on a sound stage in Van Nuys, so this is largely irrelevant to the conversation 😀

  • Shane

    This was filmed in Chiangmai almost 60 years ago.


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