By Tey-Marie Astudillo
WITH its beautiful backdrop of luscious mountains, aqua blue water beaches and vibrant city lights, Malaysia is an ideal location for any director wanting to take advantage of the already perfect sets that naturally exist.
The country offers a multitude of sights that would capture the attention of any audience. And if you’re a movie buff, odds are you’ve already seen much of Malaysia and don’t even know it. But don’t take my word for it, just see for yourself.
Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia’s world famous Petronas Towers were at the center of suspense in the film Entrapment during its final heist scene. The towers are shown lit up at night as an art thief (Sean Connery) and an investigator (Catherine Zeta Jones), who is pretending to be a thief as well, try to escape after robbing a bank.
There was no need to for Hollywood embellishments on these beauties (the towers, not the actors of course) as their vibrant luminosity can be seen exactly as in the film every night for those who come to visit the tallest twin buildings in world.
The Petronas Towers at night. Pic: Dcubillas/Wikimedia Commons
More than just grandiose views, the towers are packed with tons of things for visitors to do and experience, such as the six-level Suria KLCC mega shopping center complete with luxury retail shops, department stores, a cinema, concert hall, art gallery, cafes, restaurants and an underwater aquarium.
As if that wasn’t enough, there is also a 17-acre park with lakes, water fountains, waterfalls and reflecting pools, jogging and footpaths, a children’s playground and a mosque.
The Sleeping Dictionary, starring Jessica Alba, is a heartfelt story about an Englishman who is sent to Sarawak in the 1930s. The Englishman eventually falls in love with a local woman, played by Alba, but their love is forbidden.
The film was entirely shot on location in Sarawak, a Malaysian state located on the island of Borneo. Most of the movie was shot in the capital, Kuching, which is also the most populous city of Sarawak.
The Sarawak River flowing through the Kuching city centre. Pic: CoolCityCat/Wikimedia Commons
Kuching is home to various cultural and history museums including an Islamic museum, planetarium, a cat museum, textile museum, timber museum and Chinese History Museum, among others. There are also many historical sites.
Along the oldest street of the city, Main Bazaar, you can also find countless Chinese antique and handcraft shops.
This city is no stranger to movie sets. It has been a filming location for various local and international films such as Indochine (French), Anna and the King (American) and Lust, Caution (Chinese) directed by Ang Lee.
So what makes Ipoh such a hot spot for moviemakers? For those who’ve been there, that’s probably not too hard of a question to answer. But let me break it down for those of you who haven’t.
First, it has an aesthetically delightful appeal. The mix of colonial and modern style architecture throughout the city often uses bright, vivid colors that are very pleasing to the eye.
And even though Ipoh is one of Malaysia’s largest cities, there are still plenty of natural and serene places to be found.
For example, the city is surrounded by limestone caves, which have become a popular tourist attraction and offer a tranquil escape from the bustling city life.
Probably the most notable is the Tempurung Cave, which is the largest and deepest in Peninsula Malaysia.
An interior view of the Gua Tempurung Caves. Pic: Calvin Teo/Wikimedia Commons
Around and within many of the caves are Chinese temples as well. There is also Lang Mountain located just outside of Ipoh.
Restoran Soo Kee, Kuala Lumpur
This Chinese restaurant in Jalan Medan Imbi, Kuala Lumpur was used in the fifth and final installment of the famous Chinese gangster film series known as the Young and Dangerous Series.
It’s also a well known local and tourist spot to get some good and simple Chinese food, most of which consists of noodles.
One of its most famous dishes is the Beef Hor Fun Noodles.
Eighty percent of the film Don, a Bollywood action thriller released in 2006, was shot in Malaysia. One of these locations was Langkawi Island, located in an archipelago off the northwestern coast in the Andaman Sea.
One of the scenes of the movie features the Langkawi Cable Car, the base of which is located at the Oriental Village and goes all the way up to the top of Mount Mat Cincang, the island’s second highest peak.
At the peak sits the SkyBridge, allowing visitors to walk above the rainforest’s canopy. Not a bad place to shoot a movie scene if you ask me.
Langkawi Cable Car. Pic: RoB/Wikimedia Commons
Tey-Marie Astudillo is a freelance journalist and videographer currently living and working in Seoul, South Korea. She has published stories for AOL Politics Daily, McClatchy, Military Times, Northwest Indiana Times, Chicago Journal, Austin Weekly, TCPalm.com, The Stuart News and CNNGo. She received her M.S. in international reporting from Northwestern University and B.A. in communication and multimedia studies from Florida Atlantic University.
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