Coronavirus Update: Filming is possible in Thailand. Applications for entry from incoming cast and crew for feature films are being approved. The Royal Thai Embassy or consulate consider entry visas on a case-by-case basis taking into account the urgency, need and reasons. Filming permission from the Thailand Film Office and accompanying letters is needed for production and crew members to be approved visas. Your local coordinator will need to work out a schedule of movements in Thailand which will be included in the application. The approval process takes approximately seven working days and applicants are contacted when approved.
There is a mandatory fourteen-day quarantine for all cast and crew and a negative Covid-19 test taken within a seventy-two-hour window must be shown upon arrival. Guidelines for productions are in the process of being approved.
Thailand has welcomed a range of large international productions in recent years, with Fast and Furious 9 shooting across the south of the country in 2019 and Spike Lee’s American war drama Da 5 Bloods following a long tradition of being used as a stand in for Vietnam War-era films including Good Morning Vietnam and The Deer Hunter.
The launch of a 15-20% incentive in 2017 made the country even more attractive option for doubling much of Southeast Asia. The country’s varied landscapes include the mountainous regions in the north, and rice fields and flat fertile plains in central and south Thailand. The southern peninsula’s coastline and surrounding islands have been immortalised on film in productions including Danny Boyle’s The Beach, where the paradise location was found in Ko Phi Phi Leh and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason in Phuket. Bangkok is the political and cultural capital and its vibrant locations are often used by incoming productions.
Japan and India are some of Thailand’s biggest international production clients with Indian productions Junglee, The Forgotten Army and Race3 among the first to access the rebate filming after it launched in 2017.
European and US productions are also frequent visitors. BBC One and Netflix co-production The Serpent, an eight-part series filmed on location in Thailand. The series, inspired by real events, sees a young diplomat based in Bangkok who stumbles into a web of crime around unsolved murders of young Western travellers across India, Thailand and Nepal in the 1970’s.
The formal incentive is comprised of a base 15% cash rebate. Uplifts of 3% and 2% are provided to productions that hire local talent/labour and promote Thailand as a tourist destination respectively. Incoming shoots to have received the benefit include those that show off Thailand. To be eligible for the incentive, a minimum local spend of more than THB50 million (approx. GBP1.22 million) and there is a maximum rebate per project of THB75 million (approx. GBP1.83 million).
Thailand has a tropical climate, with annual temperatures hot all year round but peaking in April and May at about 30C. The summer months through to October are monsoon season, when heavy rains punctuate the high temperatures and humidity.
Rainfall tends to be heaviest in September and 90% of the country’s annual rainfall comes down during this monsoon season.
January and February are generally the driest months. A north-east breeze has a cooling effect from November to February and the humidity goes down during this period as a result. Much of Thailand experiences flooding during the monsoons.