On the trail of the stars: famous movie sets around the globe

On the trail of the stars: famous movie sets around the globe
Travonto.com Team
Travonto.com Team

To stand just once in the spot visited by Leonardo DiCaprio in his role as the dropout Richard in the film “The Beach” – that’s on the bucket list for many travellers. Famous filming locations can often be the impulse behind a memorable trip. From “Hangover 2” to “Gladiator”: these movie locations have awakened our wanderlust! 

1. Lebua at State Tower (Bangkok): “Hangover 2”

The impressive golden dome of this famous skyscraper in the Thai metropolis of Bangkok can be seen from miles around. The rooftop restaurant “Sirocco,” housed within, has enjoyed a high level of fame since 2009 thanks to Bradley Cooper and Co. The “Hangover” protagonists were famously filmed at this dizzying height.

Since then, the restaurant and its Sky Bar have been visited by hundreds of tourists every day, many of whom enjoy sipping a “Hangovertini” at the bar. If you have enough spare change and want an even more immersive “Hangover” experience, consider a night in the Lebua’s “Hangover Suite.” Here, film fans can slumber at a height of over 250m2.

Foto: iStock/stelianospicture

Hobbiton (New Zealand): “The Lord of the Rings”

Diehard fans of the “Lord of the Rings” franchise will need to take a deep breath now. The oversized oak tree in the land of the Hobbits isn’t actually real – it’s made of plastic. But don’t worry, there’s a silver lining: because you can still visit the film set of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy and get a glimpse behind the curtain.

The tour through “Hobbiton” takes about two hours. Behind every curve, every house and every hill await new discoveries and surprises that will transport fans of the film trilogy to a state of pure euphoria. Included, of course, are Bilbo Baggins’ house and the Green Dragon Pub, where the tour draws (much too quickly) to a close.

Foto: flickr/Tom Hall, "Hobbiton", CC BY 2.0 license
Photo: flickr/Tom Hall, “Hobbiton”, CC BY 2.0 license

3. Park Hyatt (Tokyo): “Lost in Translation”

In the film “Lost in Translation,” Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson meet for the very first time in front of the backdrop of Tokyo’s glittering night skyline. Although the worldwide success of this Oscar-winning film from star director Sofia Coppola isn’t necessarily due to its filming location, the spot has nevertheless earned a certain degree of celebrity thanks to the movie: a large part of the movie was filmed in the luxury “Park Hyatt” hotel in Tokyo.

In this hotel in the heart of the Shinjuku district, bursting with energy, travellers find a welcome retreat, just like the two protagonists of the film. In the New York Bar, film fans can leave the chaos of the city far behind and follow in the footsteps of Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson: chatting about life over a cocktail.

Foto: flickr/Nacho, "New York Bar", CC BY 2.0 license
Photo: flickr/Nacho, “New York Bar”, CC BY 2.0 license

4. Aït-Ben-Haddou (Morocco): “Gladiator” and “Game of Thrones”

At the foot of the Atlas Mountains, about 200 kilometers southeast of Marrakech, lies a city which has served as a set for countless Hollywood productions since the 1960’s. Standing before the doors of Aït-Ben-Haddou, it’s instantly clear why filmmakers return again and again to this tiny speck of earth. With its impressive, shimmering red earthen buildings, Aït-Ben-Haddou conjures a historic, ancient charm from the very first moment.

The fight scenes in the blockbuster movie “Gladiator” – with Russel Crowe in the title role – were actually filmed in a custom-built arena outside the doors of the city. And Aït-Ben-Haddou has also been a filming location for the successful fantasy series “Game of Thrones.” By the way, there’s an additional highlight here for film fans. Atlas Studios is home to countless film sets and can be visited by tourists – although unfortunately there are no productions running at the moment.

Photo: Romeo Felsenreich

5. Maya Bay (Thailand): “The Beach”

We have to admit: in the film, it appears as if the beach where the character Richard (Leonardo DiCaprio) lands is a place of complete isolation. But given the unparalleled beauty of the tropical Thai island of Koh Phi Phi, it has understandably become a known destination for tourist masses. If you show up expecting a beach all to yourself – just like the movie’s protagonist – you’re likely to be disappointed.

But nevertheless, film fans from across the world are drawn to this Thai island. If you want to avoid the tourist hordes, it’s worth it to arrive early in the morning or, alternately, to book an overnight tour onboard a boat. This will allow you at least a small taste of the isolated island life.

Foto: flickr/Kevin Tao, "Maya Bay; aka "The Beach", CC BY ND 2.0 license
Photo: flickr/Kevin Tao, “Maya Bay; aka “The Beach”, CC BY ND 2.0 license

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