By Kaila Krayewski
“What made you move to Thailand?” I’m often asked.
I’ve lived in this crystal shore-lined, palm tree-speckled country for over a decade now. So long that sometimes I have to scratch my head and take a beat to remember. And then it comes flooding back to me.
Leo running through the jungle, mad from the tropical heat. Julia Roberts frolicking under the moon on a Balinese beach. Diane Lane with her hair in a kerchief, renovating her new Tuscan fixer-upper. Scottie accidentally donning the new Pope’s hat in the Vatican…
These are the movies that ignited my wanderlust so many years ago. And now that the world has come to a standstill—and travel alongside it—it may just be time to watch them again…for the umpteenth time.
Let’s take a look at these four movies that you should binge right now, to satiate that wanderlust burning inside us all.
You can’t spend any time in Ko Phi Phi, without being subjected to this movie playing in pretty much every restaurant, bar or cafe you enter. And for good reason: it was filmed in this stunning (and protected) part of Thailand. Based on Alex Garland’s book, The Beach follows a young Leonardo DiCaprio in his quest to discover a secret hippie island. When he finds it and joins the commune, life is a dream—until it’s not anymore.
Thrilling scenes of epic waterfalls, white-sand beaches, bioluminescent moonlit shores, dance alongside shark attacks and drug gang chases, to an epic soundtrack. This adrenaline-pumping movie makes you feel like you’ve been to Thailand and home again to safety in its 1 hour 59 minutes’ of screentime.
Fun fact: The Thai government, trying to stimulate internal tourism during COVID, has re-opened Maya Bay, where the film was shot. Doesn’t help any of you at home, but I can visit and tell you all about it later! 😉
Eat Pray Love
I finished the book of this movie that inspired a generation to travel, soul search, fall in love, and, well, eat, the night before I hopped on a plane to backpack around Southeast Asia for a year. Based on a true story, Eat Pray Love follows Julia Roberts’ character Elizabeth, reeling from divorce, as she makes her way from Italy to India to Bali.
We fall in love with our heroine as she stumbles over beautiful Italian words, takes a vow of silence at an Indian monastery, and falls head over heels in the rice fields of Bali.
If you want to travel to some of the world’s most desirable locations without leaving your sofa, this is the cinematic journey for you.
Under The Tuscan Sun
Ever dream of running away from your life and buying a villa in Tuscany? Well, I sure have, and it’s all down to this movie! Similar to Julia in EPL, Diane Lane’s character runs away to Italy after a failed marriage. Her lesbian best friend surprises her with a gay tour package—ideal since she doesn’t want to be hit on—which whisks her past a villa that catches her eye.
Within what feels like seconds, she’s bought the place and sets to renovating her new abode. We laugh and cry with her as she experiences the trials and tribulations of life Under the Tuscan Sun—which, as beautiful as it is, comes with its share of frustrations. But hey, anyone who’s travelled knows that this is reality in another country and culture.
Most Europeans I’ve met haven’t seen this hilarious parody of what us North Americans think travel is like in Europe. And when I show it to them, they wonder how they had never heard of it before. EuroTrip follows Scottie, who doesn’t know that his girlfriend Fiona has been cheating on him (are you sensing a trend here with these failed relationships too?). When he finds out (from Matt Damon, who tells him in a song), he realises he has feelings for his German penpal Meike (who he thought was Mike—a male—up until that very moment). Scottie jets off to Europe to find her with his three best friends.
We follow their entertaining travels around the continent as they find themselves on a double-decker bus full of Manchester United football hooligans, in an underground sex club in Amsterdam, and living like Kings in Slovakia (where their dollar stretches laughably far). By the end, we feel like we’ve travelled with them, experiencing all Europe has to offer.
It sucks that we can’t travel, or even start to plan trips until we know more about where this pandemic is headed. But these four movies, whisking you from the stunning shores of Thailand to the lush valleys of Tuscany, to the colourful streets of India, to the interlinking canals of Amsterdam, will make you feel like you’ve travelled to the world’s top spots—at least for a few hours!