The top 5 film destinations to visit this year
From exotic beach locations and steep snowy summits, to rolling countryside and Vegas hotels, we pick our top five film location holiday destinations.
Phi Phi Lay, Thailand
Film location for: 2000 thriller/adventure The Beach, starring Leonardo Di Caprio
Why: OK, yes, there are quite a few deaths in this film, some mild hallucinations and, yes, a couple of shark attacks. But putting aside the more gory elements of The Beach, the film location for this movie is arguably one of the most beautiful and memorable locations in film history. Shot on Maya Beach on the island of Phi Phi Lay in Thailand, this destination is the epitome of seclusion; crystal-clear blue waters and soft white sands enclosed by green 100 metre-high cliffs.
Whilst camping on the island is no longer an option, Maya Bay Tours offer trips to the island either on a Sunset Cruise or an Overnight Sleep Aboard tour, where guests can enjoy the stars and views of the bay, without the groups of day-trippers.
For more information, visit: mayabaytours.com
Matamata, New Zealand
Film location for: The Shire as seen in The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Why: The rural town of Matamata is home to the fictional village of ‘Hobbiton’, complete with rolling farmland and lush green pastures, Matamata is a picture of rural bliss.
Lord of the Rings enthusiasts can actually tour the film set to view the hobbit holes, visit the Green Dragon Inn, the mill and the Party Tree.
If you’re not interested in treading in Bilbo’s footsteps, then it’s worth exploring the rest of the Hamilton and Waikato region, stopping to take a kayak tour down the iconic Waikato river.
For more information, visit: hamiltonwaikato.com
Film location for: 1969 Bond film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, starring George Lazenby
Why: No, of course we don’t think George Lazenby was a good Bond but it’s still hard to forget the sight of 007 bombing down the Schilthorn, the 2,970 metre high summit of the Bernese Alps. Filmed above the village of Murren, the Schilthorn is home to the Piz Gloria restaurant, Europe’s first ever revolving restaurant and setting for hideout of Bond villain, Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
As the highest ski-region anywhere in the Bernese Oberland, the Schilthorn promises an active day of snow-sports. If you truly want to wind down the day secret-agent style, it’s certainly worth paying a visit to the nearby romantic Obersteinberg Hotel, which is entirely illuminated by candlelight.
Caesars Palace, Las Vegas
Film location for: 2009 comedy, The Hangover
Why: It was a very dark day when we discovered that the extravagant Caesars Palace suite, Suite 2452, destroyed in The Hangover is not an actual room. In fact, the suite was constructed on a soundstage specifically for the movie, drawing inspiration from some of the finest rooms in the hotel.
However, Caesars Palace is still the backdrop for a considerable part of the movie and guests can attempt to recreate scenes with a bit of Blackjack in the casino, a visit to the hotel lobby or, if you’re feeling adventurous, by sneaking up to the roof for a quick toast to the wolf pack.
For more information, visit: caesarspalace.com
Film location for: 2008 Batman film, The Dark Knight
Why: Several locations have been used to create the fictional city of Gotham in the past. In Batman Rises and The Dark Knight, Chicago is one of the locations most predominantly used.
Unlike previous Batman films, some of Chicago’s most recognisable buildings were not edited out of the footage, meaning visitors to Chicago can retrace Batman’s lycra-bound steps by visiting The Richard J.Daley Center in Daley Plaza, which provided the background for Wayne Enterprises, or taking a (definitely within the speed limits, safe and legal) ride down Lower Wacker Drive, backdrop to one of the many car chase scenes in The Dark Knight.
For more information, visit: choosechicago.com