Infrastructure of Thailand
How it benefits Film Production Services
| 10 MIN READ |
Written by Marco Neveu
Transport in Bangkok
Transport Outside of the City
Electricity and Power
As a film production service company, we hope to fulfill your every need, wherever it is in Thailand. Yet the infrastructure in Thailand, a developing country, could be a serious handicap for film production. Time security is crucial when sticking to a tight deadline.
Thailand is currently planning on becoming a major regional economic player. As such, it needs to reflect that not only for its image but also for more economic opportunities that require better infrastructure or conform better to international standards. This is especially important when you consider the increased international scrutiny on the dangers posed by waste disposal, energy generation methods or the use of human capital. But when it comes to shooting a TVC or a music video, these aren’t really what we will be concentrating on. That is unless your morals and values or those of who you represent require something specific. If so, don’t hesitate to drop us an email.
In the meantime, I will run down the most relevant infrastructure systems in place in Thailand and how they can affect a film shoot.
Transport in Bangkok
Getting your film crew and equipment from A to B is precious time that can easily be wasted by inadequate infrastructure. With Bangkok being the city with some of the worst traffic in the world, Thailand can get a bad rep.
Yet we have repeatedly found ways around Bangkok’s crawling traffic for many of our advertising and film productions. Good planning and sticking as much as possible to timetables help us avoid overcrowded roads by adjusting. Our contracted drivers also know their way around the city better than your average “Bangkokian”. They repeatedly deliver directors, producers, cast and agency on set, on time.
Bangkok also has a sprawling highway and toll road system that rarely bottlenecks. It links major roads together in the city and also leads out of the city directly to many of Bangkok’s studios and sets.
Inside the city, there is also a wide variety of transport options and infrastructure in place for you to get around. Notably public transport to cabs and bikes who might use ride-hailing applications. With new laws and projects, these are consistently changing year by year. For example multiple major metro projects to open in the next decade.
Transport Outside of the City
Thailand welcomes millions of tourists each year, and its airports can sometimes be overcrowded. Bangkok’s two airports: Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi are facing large expansion projects. But in the meantime, we can get you fast track VIP passes for any incoming personnel like directors, DOPs, and producers. It is always best to avoid the endless lines of tourists at immigration.
These airports act like the core of the country’s growing air travel system with seemingly new ones being expanded near any tourist attraction or major city. As such we can get you virtually anywhere in Thailand in an hour with a short flight.
The tourism industry is heavily reliant on air travel and highways. This could seemingly be due to a rather lackluster railway system. While the core infrastructure is there, it offers no upside other than cost. Yet there are many planned or proposed projects in the works. This includes a Chinese backed pan-Indochinese peninsula railway system and Japanese funded Shinkansen lines linking to cities like Chiang Mai or a connection to the huge infrastructure project of Chachoengsao (a long story for another time, but please do go ahead and look it up!).
As for the highways themselves, there really isn’t much to complain about. They link every city together, with roads veining off them anywhere they can. But the more remote it is, the more likely there will be dirt roads which can be impassable for larger and heavier decor or film equipment semi-trucks especially with rain.
Electricity and power
To be able to shoot anything except maybe documentaries and other productions with smaller crews, it is imperative to have a stable power source to draw from. This might be the most unpredictable issue to deal with.
The biggest danger comes during the monsoon season between May/June and October or drifting typhoons and cyclones. While most of the city centre is transitioning to the more stable underground power lines, the rest of the country relies on overhead power lines susceptible to all kinds of storms.
If the worst comes to pass, depending on how remote the shooting location is, the outage can feel inconsequential or be a production nightmare. In cities and studios, it can pass over like a breeze thanks to backup generators and rapid response by the authorities. In a remote village though, you’ll be waiting it out like the villagers. But that would probably have been expected and prepared for.
It is our goal to make any production a success. And vital to that success is communication. On your arrival, our production house will hand you mobile phones with the local sim card to contact anyone locally. We’ll also hand you a pocket wifi to get some use out of your phones on the move. Furthermore, pretty much wherever you go in Bangkok you’ll be able to access wifi and have a constant four-bar 4G connection. Many places also let you benefit from an ultra-fast fiber connection. And connectivity here is much better than many European cities and on par with Seoul.
Like many countries, telecommunications are operated by private companies under license from the government. But the government keeps tabs on the goings-on in the ‘cyber-scape’. So don’t be shocked if you find that your favourite late night entertainment has been blocked by censorship in the name of public morals.
Leaving major cities and tourist areas, the quality of connectivity degrades rapidly. Simply loading Messenger or Whatsapp can feel like a godsend. But it wouldn’t necessarily always be worse than say rural Brittany in France.
Infrastructure is in many ways the fabric of modern society, and it evolves with it. Film production, much like any economic and artistic manifestations of human activity depends a lot on how that fabric is weaved together. Thailand has all its core infrastructure in place. And while transitioning into a new power structure and economic model, its infrastructure changes along with it. The next few decades will see Thailand and especially Bangkok transform. Its economic opportunities will diversify and multiply. That will of course greatly impact our video production service opportunities, as well as the Film industry in general.