5 Famous Overseas Film Settings You Can Visit on Any Budget

By Nick Wharton on 26 December 2017 0 comments

Hollywood has a long history of filming movies overseas, with production crews having made journeys to every corner of the earth to capture scenes for iconic movies. Often it's because of the fantastic and unique locations available, but sometimes even Hollywood producers are after a deal, and filming in a cheaper country can drastically slash a budget. Here are five famous film settings that just happen to be in affordable countries.

Tomb Raider — Angkor Archaeological Park, Cambodia

Angelina Jolie's Tomb Raider series famously features the breathtaking backdrop of the world's largest religious monument, the Angkor temple complex. The majestic ruins of this vast 12th century complex, and specifically the Angkor Thom temple, are an integral part of the film's plot and helped to cause a huge explosion in visitors to the site. The intricate religious carvings, the trees whose tangled roots seamlessly entwine the temple walls, and the sheer size of the complex defy belief.

A day ticket to the UNESCO designated park will cost you $37, but the relatively high entrance price is offset by the good value you'll get for your dollar elsewhere. Numbeo puts the cost of living in Cambodia at almost 37 percent lower than in the United States. A meal at an inexpensive restaurant is priced at just $2.65, and a double room in a midrange hotel can be found for as little as $10.

I've traveled in Cambodia extensively and I find it to be one of the best value destinations in the world. (See also: Amazing Destinations You Can Go to With Rewards Points and Miles)

Eat, Pray, Love — Bali, Indonesia

Though the film Eat, Pray, Love wasn't a critical success, it captured audiences' hearts and minds and went on to become a box office smash. This was in part thanks to the depictions of the various locations Julia Roberts' character finds herself in. Filming took place in Italy, India, and Bali, Indonesia, where protagonist Liz Gilbert finally finds true love and the inner peace she's been searching for. You can satisfy your own wanderlust by visiting some of the key locations in Bali such as the gorgeous Padang Padang beach, and the town of Ubud.

Bali (and Indonesia as a whole) is an extremely cheap place to visit, with the cost of living 45 percent lower than in the U.S., according to Numbeo. I've stayed in some lovely places in Indonesia and in my experience, for a room in a hotel that looks similar to the villa where Roberts stays in the film, you'll pay around $20 per night. Entrance to the Ubud Monkey Forest featured in the movie is around $3.75 and a meal at an inexpensive restaurant in Indonesia will cost you less than $2. (See also: 5 International Destinations Anyone Can Afford)

Slumdog Millionaire — India

This colorful extravaganza, which won multiple Oscar awards, was set and filmed on location in Mumbai, India. For many, it managed to truly capture the magic and drama of this chaotic city. From the slums where the lead character Jamal was raised, to the scenes of the stunning Taj Mahal, the movie is beautifully shot. The closing scene where Jamal is finally reunited with Latika before they dance along with hundreds of extras was filmed at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, one of India's busiest train stations.

Entrance as a foreigner to the Taj Mahal will cost you around $15, but many of the filming locations are public places so they won't cost anything to visit. Numbeo shows the cost of living in India at almost 65 percent below that of the U.S., with an inexpensive meal coming in at around $2.30. Midrange hotel rooms are priced around $30. You can also go on a walking tour around one of Mumbai's slums for around $13, where much of the profits go back into the local community. (See also: 25 Incredible Places You Must Visit Before You Die)

Frida — Mexico City, Mexico

Based on the life of the popular Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, the movie Frida won wide critical acclaim and eventually went on to win two Oscars. Kahlo spent the majority of her life living on the outskirts of Mexico City, so it's only natural that this is where much of the shooting took place. The famous Casa Azul, where she lived with husband Diego Rivera and eventually died at age 47, is a museum you can visit for around $12.

A day trip to the awe inspiring Aztec pyramids of Teotihuacan, where Kahlo and Leon Trotsky get to know each other in the movie, will cost you around $40 for an organized tour. It's also possible to reach them by public, and the entrance fee is just $4.

Numbeo puts the cost of living in Mexico at over 50 percent lower than in the U.S., with a meal at an inexpensive restaurant coming in at around $5. A midrange hotel room will cost around $30 per night.

The Beach — Koh Phi Phi Leh, Thailand

The Beach is credited with driving a huge amount of tourism Thailand's way, as it introduced the wider world to the secluded and unspoiled magnificence of the country's islands. The island of Koh Phi Phi Leh, where most of the movie was set and filmed, is now one of the most popular places to visit in Thailand. It's no longer the deserted lagoon that's portrayed in the movie, but it's still as charming as ever. Visitors flock to enjoy the warm turquoise waters that lap the golden beaches, as well as the renowned island night life.

Koh Phi Phi Leh isn't actually an inhabited island, but is part of the Koh Phi Phi archipelago, which includes Koh Phi Phi Don, where most visitors stay. From here you can book a day trip to Koh Phi Phi Leh, which is a half-hour boat ride away. A sunset cruise, where you'll encounter fewer tourists and get to witness the bioluminescent plankton in the waters once it's dark, costs around $50 per person.

The cost of living in Thailand is more than 36 percent lower than in the U.S., with an inexpensive meal costing less than $2, according to Numbeo. For a double room at a midrange hotel or guesthouse on Koh Phi Phi Don, you'll pay about $30.

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