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6 Dreamy Filming Locations to Add to Your Holiday Wishlist

6 Dreamy Filming Locations to Add to Your Holiday Wishlist

6 Filming Locations to Add to Your Holiday Wishlist

Watching a good movie is one of the best stress-therapy sessions in the world. Period. Whether you end up crying or laughing at the end of a movie, nothing beats away your problems and frustrations like a well-written plot, great acting and breathtaking vistas. In fact, good movies do more than take your mind off things – they educate, motivate and inspire you to do things you’ve never imagined. They serve as eye-openers to the people, things and places you never imagined. In fact, you’ve probably done this before – imagine yourself visiting the very place where your favourite movies were filmed. How cool would it be if you could stand on Platform 9¾? Or, if you could grace the very rooms where Keira Knightley played Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice?

Well, why not? Instead of the regular – and incredibly crowded – tourist destinations, wouldn’t it be amazing to visit the places which gave life to your favourite cinematic works? Of course, there’s a bit of a problem if you don’t happen to know where certain scenes were filmed – or even if the “locations” actually existed (yes, green screen, we’re talking about you).

So we’ve compiled a few filming locations from local, international and classic films that are set to take your breath away with their grandeur, lush landscapes and surprising simplicity.

 

1.       Harry Potter – Warner Bros. Studio, Leavesden

Formerly known as Leavesden studio, it is located 20 miles north-west of London and is linked to Watford Junction train station by a shuttle bus service. Warner Bros studio has served as a filming site for Inception, The Dark Knight, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, and most notably all eight films in the Harry Potter franchise.

Warner Bros. StudioCastle Model

The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London offers an insight into the authentic sets and behind-the-scene secrets from the Harry Potter film series. Each tour session typically lasts three hours, with major sets, props and costumes on display, including Dumbledore’s office, Diagon Alley and a 1:24 model of Hogwarts castle. There is even an exterior set consisting of ten houses along a street, which represents Privet Drive in the series. On a side note, you can also see props and costumes from Christopher Nolan’s Batman films on display. Platform 9 ¾, located at King’s Cross Station, is roughly 20 miles away from the studio.

Platform 9 3-4

 

Warner Bros. studio is open all year long, except on Christmas and Boxing Day. Tickets must be pre-booked – none are sold at the studio – and start at £30 per adult. Look out for family deals, group tickets and studio tour packages. Then sit back, relax and relive the magical moments from your favourite Harry Potter films.

Note: While in England, drop by at Chatsworth House (Pride and Prejudice, many other English classics) for a visit. The halls and rooms are decorated in finesse and exude English elegance as well as flair. There are also plenty of activities (and occasionally events) to keep you entertained. Check out http://www.chatsworth.org/ for more details!

 

2.       The Journey – Chew Jetty, Penang/ Aur Island, Johor

As the highest-grossing Malaysian film of all time, The Journey not only touched many lives, but also opened our eyes to the beautiful sights and festivities in Malaysia. Cinema-goers were treated with lovely views and the oh-so-familiar local dialects and jokes throughout the movie. As an avid fan of the movie myself, I caught myself wondering how I never even knew such amazing places existed in Malaysia. Chew Jetty, Penang and Aur Island, Johor (especially the latter) are lesser-known destinations but are definitely not less amazing destinations.Chew Jetty

Chew Jetty is one of the five remaining clan jetties in Penang. Situated near Weld Quay, Chew Jetty is somewhat a “village” built on stilts, with houses built on either side of a narrow wooden bridge. At the end of the bridge is a vast expanse of sea. Chew Jetty is also located conveniently close to the Georgetown heritage zone, within walking – or the latest trend in Penang, cycling – distance.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Aur Island, Johor is some 80km east of Mersing jetty. Getting there will be a bit difficult as boats travelling to and fro are irregular, but you can opt for hiring a boat (along with some friends or family) to ferry you there. Once there, you can join in with weekend dives or snorkelling activities held by dive operators from Singapore or Malaysia. Though slightly costly, the trip will be worth every penny after experiencing the relaxing vibe and local hospitality. Do check out http://www.journeymalaysia.com/MI_aur.htm to help you with planning the trip.

 

3.       Lord of the Rings – New Zealand

Even if you aren’t a fan of Lord of the Rings, the majestic landscapes in the movie are bound to take your breath away. From the lush greenery, to turquoise-blue rivers and snow-white mountains, the natural landscapes of New Zealand breathed life into the Lord of the Ring film series (literally). Expect to be awestruck during every leg of a Lord of the Rings tour.

HobbitonArgonathIsengardMisty Mountains

From left to right: Hobbiton, Argonath, Isengard and Misty Mountains.

If you’re planning on taking your own Lord of the Rings road trip though, here are some suggestions. Matamata, Waikato (The Shire and Hobbiton), Milford Sound fjord, Fjordland National Park (Isengard, Amon Hen), Kawarau River, Otago (Pillars of the King), Mount Victoria, Wellington (Osgiliath Wood, Paths of the Dead) and Mount Sunday, Canterbury (Edoras) offer amazing sights and hiking trails. If you feel like getting an eagle’s eye view, you can even catch a helicopter at South Island to see Dimrill Dale (Mount Olympus and Mount Owen) and the region’s national parks.

A lot of websites and agencies are offering tours with various itineraries for you to choose from, including http://www.lordoftheringstours.co.nz/. Check out this website – http://www.newzealand.com/int/feature/lord-of-the-rings/ – for suggestions on how to get to certain filming locations and things to do there.

 

4.       Spirited Away/ Howl’s Moving Castle – Jiu Fen, Taiwan/ Colmar, France

I know these are animated films, but they were in part, inspired by real-life locations. Spirited Away (the first and only Asian animated film to win an Oscar) was based on Jiu Fen, Taiwan, while Howl’s Moving Castle drew inspiration from Colmar, France. Both places were strikingly similar to their animation counterparts, and just as stunning.

Jiu FenSpirited Away

Jiu Fen has an interesting history. It was a prosperous gold mining town until the 1950s, and nearly became an anonymous ghost town if not for the tea houses and amazing views of the Pacific Ocean. Ironically, in Spirited Away, Jiu Fen is depicted as a ghost town. Two pedestrian streets cover Jiu Fen’s historic commercial district, and there is an array of food offered in Jiu Fen. Jinguashi (a park with access to surrounding mountains), Shengping Theatre and the City of Sadness Restaurant (where a movie of the same name was filmed) are also nice places to visit.

 

 

Howl's Moving CastleColmar

Colmar, France is the real-life equivalent to a scene from a fairytale town. Colmar – a medieval town – even boasts a “Little Venice” where tourists can cruise around town in canals. On Tuesdays, local villagers hold dance performances in the town square. It is also home to the international summer festival of classical music Festival de Colmar. In fact, I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

 

Some movies are real, some movies are fictional (and some are animated). But one thing remains the same – the world is a magical and beautiful place. Even in your backyard.

 

Photo credits:

Feature photo – http://forum.pchome.com.tw/content/74/78304

Chatsworth – http://pemberley-state-of-mind.tumblr.com/post/33069528110/in-pride-and-prejudice-chatsworth-was-used-as

Warner Bros. Studio and Platform 9 ¾ – Adam Khoo

Chew Jetty – http://www.visitpenang.gov.my/portal3/what-to-see/attractions/chew-jetty.html

Aur Island – http://divescover.com/diving/malaysia/peninsular-malaysia/pulau-aur

Hobbiton, Argonath, Isengard, Misty Mountains – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/13/lord-of-the-rings-new-zealand_n_782367.html#s180003&title=Milford_Sound_Fjordland

Howl’s Moving Castle, Spirited Away, Jiu Fen – http://whenonearth.net/places-inspired-9-studio-ghibli-movies/

Colmar – http://www.golberz.com/2010/06/meet-city-colmar-france.html

1 Comment

  1. Jing Xuan
    / Reply

    True, good movies do inspire us in many ways though we aren’t willing to admit sometimes. In fact, I used to be deeply inspired by the pure uncontaminated kindness of Frodo in the Lord of the Rings. How pure kindness will lead us unconsciously to become a better person, a worthier person. And oh the scenery!!! It’s heaven like!!! Now I know some of them were taken in New Zealand sure I am going to add it into my holiday wish list!!!

    You’re undoubtedly right about one thing– the world is a magical and beautiful place!! I am just grateful that we are born with eyes so we can fully absorb the pure beauty of it. :)

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