Watching a movie in Bangkok

Watching a movie in Bangkok

Vintage or VIP?

More on Bangkok

Movie theatres in Bangkok run the gamut from shining multi-screen palaces to aging-yet-still-grand examples of 1960s architecture. You can catch a flick in English (with Thai subtitles) at any major mall in Bangkok, but there are a few theatres that we always come back to.

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Arthouse followed by dancehouse
House RCA screens Thai and foreign arthouse and indie films, exclusively, and is conveniently located near a bunch of badass nightclubs on Royal City Avenue. Start with dinner at nearby Taksura, Anothai or Fatty’s, then head over to House RCA to watch a thought-provoking film for 120 baht before finishing up at major clubs like Slim and Route 66, which start thumping right about the time the late show gets out. It’s all a short taxi ride from Phetchaburi MRT Station.

Old school. : Samantha Brown.
Old school. Photo: Samantha Brown

Gleaming modernity
The modern cinema at Terminal 21 is pretty typical by Bangkok standards, which makes it many times better (and cheaper) than your average movie theatre in the West. A sprinkling of Thai films join the latest international blockbusters and tickets start at just 120 baht with cushy sofa seats fetching more cash. Throw in dinner at one of the quality eateries on Floor 5 and a browse through the boutiques featuring fashions by Thai designers, and you can have a full-on date night under one roof.

Movies of the rich and famous
Siam Paragon has two tiers of luxury cinemas that are the movie theatre equivalent of the royal treatment. You’ll feel positively posh watching a film in a personal reclining Barcalounger with blankets and pillows after your free foot massage and complimentary glass of wine. The cheaper option goes for 1,100 baht per seat or 1,800 baht per couple—and do expect mostly couples here. Couples with more cash to splash could pay 3,500 baht to sip top-shelf cocktails and nibble on antipasti served by a personal butler in the top-end theatre.

The cinema sometimes more classic than the film. : Samantha Brown.
The cinema sometimes more classic than the film. Photo: Samantha Brown

A vintage vibe
Set amid the bustle of Siam Square and drawing giggly students from nearby Chulalongkorn University, the Lido and Scala theatres both bring a taste of what Bangkok was like in the 1960s. The Scala’s single theatre is enormous and it’s simply riotous at a blockbuster screening. The Lido has three smaller theatres that mix in some indie, arthouse and documentary offerings among the mainstream flicks. The Apex group runs both theatres and tickets start at 80 baht—still the cheapest movie seats in Bangkok.

Blue Ribbon Screens and Enigma at Paragon Cineplex: Fifth floor, Siam Paragon (attached to Siam BTS Station), Rama I Rd ; http://www.majorcineplex.com/en/cinema/paragon-cineplex
House RCA: 31/8 RCA Rd, Huai Kwang; (T): 02 641 5177; http://www.houserama.com/
Lido Theatre and Scala Theatre: Siam Square Soi 1 and Soi 2 (next to Siam BTS Station); T: (02) 251 2861 (Scala); (02) 252 6498 (Lido); http://www.apexsiam-square.com/
SF Cinema at Terminal 21: Sixth floor, corner of Sukhumvit Rd and Asok Montri Rd (attached to Asok BTS Station and Sukhumvit MRT Station); http://www.terminal21.co.th/asok/home/th

Reviewed by

David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.

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