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Feature-Length Voyage

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The Thai capital has convincingly acted as Saigon, Hong Kong, Pyongyang and other cities. No wonder in the role of itself Bangkok is a star

The Rooftop Sky Bar at the Hotel Lebua, State Tower

Total Recall

The characters from The Hangover Part II started off drinking beer on the beach seeing Stu off into married life and then woke up in the wilds of Bangkok with no recollection of what had happened the night before. A smoking monkey, a note that reads “Lebua Hotel, Sat. 6 PM” written on the belly of one of the group... and the severed finger of the bride’s brother are the only clues they have. A call from their concerned relatives is made when the friends are on the panoramic terrace somehow drawn into a war between local drug dealers. Sky Bar was a popular place even before the film, and now after 7.00 pm it is absolutely heaving.

The Floating Market Damnoen Saduak (100 km from the City Center)

Total Recall

The characters from The Hangover Part II started off drinking beer on the beach seeing Stu off into married life and then woke up in the wilds of Bangkok with no recollection of what had happened the night before. A smoking monkey, a note that reads “Lebua Hotel, Sat. 6 PM” written on the belly of one of the group... and the severed finger of the bride’s brother are the only clues they have. A call from their concerned relatives is made when the friends are on the panoramic terrace somehow drawn into a war between local drug dealers. Sky Bar was a popular place even before the film, and now after 7.00 pm it is absolutely heaving.

The Rooftop Sky Bar at the Hotel Lebua, State Tower

Clear the Way! Bond is Coming

In the 1970s, James Bond was still somewhere between superhero and cabinet klutz in depressingly cut tweeds, but he had already started frequenting exotic locations. In pursuit of The Man with the Golden Gun he checks out British stereotypes about Thailand as a land of passionate dancers with navel piercings and unbeatable karate masters. Getting away from the latter, he rushes through the narrow channel Dan on a long-tail boat (it got its name because its engine is mounted on a pole). In this scene, you feel sorry for the boy trying to sell a wooden elephant to tourists. With a sleight of hand, he started the sneezing motor and saved 007, but instead of the promised 20 thousand baht, he got a push on the chest and James Bond’s signature grin intended for unarmed citizens of the third world. It means, “I owe you.”

Soi Cowboy Street

Reprobate Countenance

In the viewfinder of film directors the Pang Brothers Bangkok is a dangerous city. There are pickpockets cleaning out gullible farangs, go-go girls hiding stolen jewelry in the dressing room, and red laser sights gliding over the heads of café visitors. The characters from Bangkok Dangerous, a killer and a pickpocket, meet on Soi Cowboy street, all 300 meters of which are occupied by half-naked beauties selling their affection for the price of three tequilas. The local rules of the game are not clear to all foreigners. That is why there often appear sparks from cultural tensions that, due to ignorance, may be mistaken for surging neon.

The Royal Barges Museum

My Kingdom for the Best Frame

In 1956, every prudent ruler wanted to see their country in the Hollywood adaptation of Around the World in Eighty Days. Collaboration with the filmmakers was ensured at the highest level and a large-scale cross-cultural film was shot in just 160 days. In the plot, Phileas Fogg did not even land in Thailand and in the film Bangkok is mentioned as “a place somewhere halfway to Hong Kong.” However, the young King Bhumibol staked everything for a single shot: he provided his personal barge, Suppanahong, and 50 Royal Guards to play roles of the oarsmen in order to sail the boat past his beautiful palace.

Bang Sue Station (Chatuchak District)

Down the Memory Rails

In Russia, distributors re-titled The Railway Man: it became the Revenge and therefore wholly expectedly was a box office flop. This title leads you to expect spectacular revenge from someone like Vin Diesel, and not from Colin Firth: a British intellectual with glasses. During World War II his character built the “Death Railway” to connect Bangkok with Rangoon; many years later he returned to Thailand to settle scores with the officer who tortured him. Some scenes of the railway being built were shot in an abandoned depot near the Bang Sue Station, where vintage trains beautifully rust from monsoon rains. It is unlikely that you can actually get there; but it is possible to travel along the famous railway on a tourist train (from Hua Lamphong Station) or on a suburban train.

Khaosan Road

Cheap and Cheerful

Everything is possible on Khaosan Road: you can sell and buy a passport, eat crispy cockroaches and drink snake blood, get fish pedicures or a henna tattoo. Backpackers, easy-going about the living conditions and eager for budget entertainment and action-packed adventures, love to stay here. It is from a guest of one of the guesthouses (the very real and still cheap On On Hotel that was effectively “cut and paste” from Phuket to Bangkok) the character of Leonardo DiCaprio learns about the existence of paradise cove in The Beach.

Теxt: Daria Knyazeva

Published on: December 20, 2017