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While Bangkok offers luxurious movie going options, it also has a couple of old school movie houses as well. Owned by the Ajax Group, The Lido and The Scala used to have a partner in crime called The Siam, but it was burnt down in the 2010 Red Shirt unrest. It was a loss, to be honest, as these three theatres have resisted the relentless wrecking balls of retail development and condo construction, bringing a little taste of what Bangkok was like in the late 1960s.
The Scala and the Lido are different styles of theatre, but both hail from the same late 1960s era. The Scala is enormous, featuring a main floor and a balcony. If you’re young enough to not remember when there were two Germanys, then you’ve probably never watched a movie in a cinema that can seat a thousand — if you go to a blockbuster screening, it’s riotous. The modern “world of tomorrow” architecture of the Scala is great; it’s well preserved and it suits the space perfectly. The Lido was damaged in a fire and when reconstructed its main theatre was split into three. The theatres are a bit smaller and less grand than the Scala, but it allows them to screen more choices. While the Scala screens quite a few blockbusters, both theatres show an eclectic mix of art house, documentary, and foreign (meaning non-Hollywood and non-Thai) films.
How to get there
Check out both theatre's schedules as well as upcoming premiers here. Both are located in the Siam Square area, easily accessible from Siam BTS station.
Scala Theatre: Siam Square Soi 1, Rama I Rd (Siam Square), T: (02) 251 2861.
Lido Theatre: Siam Square Soi 2, Rama I Rd (Siam Square), T: (02) 252 6498.
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