Malaysia is a multicultural country that is blessed with an abundance of natural resources and also beautiful landscapes. Mother nature shapes Malaysia in a way that nature-lovers admire and the architectures of Malaysia provides a picture-perfect backdrop.
Filming crews and companies can take advantage of the wonders of what Malaysia has to offer and display them on the screen. Malaysia is a location scout’s dream come true.
Besides, you get a 30% rebate when you decide to film anywhere in Malaysia! The crew will also have a fantastic time visiting Malaysia and its natural wonders. This will definitely boost their morale while working!
We took the time and effort to bring you the best places Malaysia has to offer for your filming. Here are some locations that you would probably have never thought existed in Malaysia.
1. Building and Architecture Locations:
Jonker Street is the Chinatown street of Malacca. Once known for its antique shops, it is now filled with restaurants, various crafts and clothing stores. The night time of the street also comes alive with its weekly night market on Fridays and Saturdays that sells everything from tasty eats to cheap keepsakes.
Situated in Malacca town, it is an hour’s drive from Kuala Lumpur. Jonker Street would be suitable for movies that portray the heritage elements of a conventional 19th-century Baba-Nyonya scene. A scene from the Hong Kong movie – Summer Holiday (2000) was shot at a restaurant on Jonker Street.
Situated in Gombak, Selangor, Batu Caves is an iconic and popular tourist spot in Malaysia. Thousands of Hindu worshippers gather at the shrine especially during the annual Hindu festival, Thaipusam. Batu Caves is known for its large statue of Lord Muragan at its entrance and 272-steps stairs.
Only a 20-minute drive from the heart of Kuala Lumpur, the Batu Caves is an excellent shooting location for documentaries or Bollywood movies.
Kellie’s Castle was built by William Kellie Smith, a civil engineer from Scotland for his family back in 1915-1926. Its construction wasn’t complete but the ruins showcase architecture from Moorish or Indo-Saracenic references. It is now a popular tourist site located in Batu Gajah, Perak.
Popular movies shot there include Anna and the King (1991) and Skyline Cruisers (2000).
Known for its haunted element, Kellie’s Castle is suitable for shooting horror films as well. Action and romance scenes are also suitable.
d. Negeri Sembilan Minangkabau houses
The Minangkabau tribe or People of the Victorious Buffalo of Negeri Sembilan is known for their “buffalo horns” houses. Also known as Minangkabau houses, it is the proud contribution of the people from West Sumatra.
The most notable Minangkabau house is in located within the Negeri Sembilan State Museum and Complex Centre.
Though not filmed locally, the Minangkabau houses of West Sumatra are featured in the movie Surga di Telapak Kaki Ibu (Heaven Lies Beneath Your Mother’s Feet).
2. Highlands and Tropical Rainforest
A 3 and a half hours drive from Kuala Lumpur, Cameron Highlands is one of Malaysia’s notable highland where tourists and Malaysians alike can enjoy the cool breeze.
One iconic scenery of Cameron Highlands is the lush tea plantation which is used in scenes in The Journey (2014) and Find My Dad (2015).
Cameron Highlands would be the perfect backdrop for romantic and family scenes.
b. Taman Negara
About 3 and a half hours drive from Kuala Lumpur lies Taman Negara or Malaysia’s National Park. Located in Kuala Tahan, Pahang, it is a sprawling tropical rainforest that’s said to be 130 million years old. The park is home to tigers, macaques and birdlife, as well as the enormous flowers of the Rafflesia plant.
For a film that centres around greenery and the lush tropical forest, choose Taman Negara instead.
Tasik Raban or Raban Lake is situated in Lenggong, Perak, a 3 hours drive from Kuala Lumpur. The lake offers visitors an insight into the lives of the villagers who stay in Kampong Batu Ring-Beng. The lake is also an income source for the villagers, selling the famous ikan pekasam.
d. Niah Cave
Discover the wonders of East Malaysia, Sarawak! Niah Cave is located within Niah National Park and it is a sight to behold. The cave has several high voluminous ceilings and locals still use the traditional methods in extracting bird nest from the cave’s ceiling.
Niah Cave’s breathtaking view is best used for documentaries or films on pre-historic settings.
3. Islands and Beaches
a. Floating Village Bodgaya Island Sabah
The Floating Village of Bodgaya Island is located off the east coast of Sabah, Malaysia. The settlers are also known as sea gipsies or Bajau Laut, and are stateless. The settlements live their lives on the sea and survived on fish and trade.
The sunset view at Bodgaya Island provides a beautiful setting for romantic films.
b. Kudat, Sabah
Kudat is located on the northern tip of the Borneo Island. It is a small town and inhabited mainly by the Rungus ethnic people—a sub-group of the indigenous Kadazan native.
Kudat is also famous for its Rungus longhouses, traditional gong-making villages, and the Tanjung Simpang Mengayau. Not forgetting its picturesque beaches such as Bak Bak, Pasir Putih, Kalampunian and Torungkungan.
Kudat can be another option for a romantic film setting.
Maiga Island is situated next to Bodgaya Island and is covered in white shimmering sand. A perfect spot for picnic lunches and snorkelling, Maiga Island covers an area of ~20.16 hectares.
If you would like to have a white sandy beach as your background, choose Maiga Island!
A popular tourist spot, Cenang beach in Langkawi is a must-go. There is a diverse mix of restaurants, duty-free outlets and various souvenir shops. It is just a 10-minutes drive from the Langkawi airport.
A few scenes were shot here in the Hindi movie Yaadein (2001).
4. Landscapes and Villages
Timah Tasoh Lake is a man-made reservoir in Perlis, Malaysia built-in 1992 to supply water to the people of Perlis as well as to prevent any flood occurrences.
Filming related to fishing can be shot here.
Bukit Wang is located 40km away from Alor Setar, Kedah. It’s a recreational spot where families and outdoor enthusiasts can come and bask in the wonders of nature. There is also a long bathing area suitable for all ages.
Bukit Wang would be a suitable scene for jungle trekking and other recreational activities.
Sarawak Cultural Village is possibly the finest “Living Museum” in South East Asia. It is the perfect introduction to Sarawak, and you get first-hand insights into the longhouse lifestyle or a taste of lively Sarawak hospitality.
It’s located in Pantai Damai, Kuching, Sarawak and it’s only a 45 minutes drive from Sarawak.
Films that focus on the Sarawakian culture can be shot here.
The Shah Alam Botanical Park is a plant-themed leisure park where the public can enjoy walks around the garden, rent bikes, go for a high rope course or fish in the lakes. The park is huge, covering a total of 817 hectares.
For a shot of any outdoor activities, come over to The Shah Alam Botanical Park!
5. People and Culture
Also known as the pearl of the Orient, Penang is one of Malaysia’s most well-known iconic tourist location. It is only an hour by flight from Kuala Lumpur. Penang Island is listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 2008 and offers an abundance of cultural sights and natural scenery.
Movies shot there include Anna and the King (1999), Lust, Caution (2007), etc.
From a bird’s eye view, this bustling wet market has everything you need, from fresh produce to traditional crafts and cakes. It is named after the Prophet Muhammad’s wife, Siti Khadijah as most of the sellers here are female. The Siti Khadijah Wet Market is located in the heart of Kota Bharu, Kelantan.
For a unique wet market scene, try the Siti Khadijah Wet Market.
Kuching is a unique capital of Sarawak, Malaysia. It’s a 1 hour 45 minutes through flight from Kuala Lumpur and the city displays a melting pot of cultures. Take a sampan down the Sarawak river, and you get to see picturesque Malay villages (kampungs), a golden-domed mosque, a Victorian fort, a whole street of 19th-century Chinese shophouses and an imposing wooden-roofed palace.
The Sleeping Dictionary (2003) was filmed on location in Sarawak, Malaysia.
d. Kundasang, Sabah, Malaysia
Kundasang is a town located just below 6km away from the Kinabalu National Park. It is the closest town to Mount Kinabalu has a panoramic view of the Mountain. It is also the highest settlement in Malaysia, with an elevation of almost 1,900m.
Kundasang also features a dairy farm, a war memorial centre and a golf course.
6. Modern Cityscapes
Putrajaya is only a 45 minutes drive from Kuala Lumpur and it is built on an expansive marshland and former oil palm estate in Selangor. Putrajaya also takes over the administrative functions of the capital city Kuala Lumpur. Putrajaya has many modern government builts as well as many advanced infrastructures.
Nothing beats being in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. This is the epitome of Malaysia’s city life. Being the capital of Malaysia, its modern skyline is dominated by the 451m-tall Petronas Twin Towers and the 420m-tall Kuala Lumpur Tower.
Popular films that were filmed in Kuala Lumpur include Blackhat (2015), Don (2006), Entrapment (1999), Roy (2015), etc.
Kuala Lumpur International Airport or KLIA is Malaysia’s main international airport. It’s the largest and busiest airport in Malaysia. It is also the world’s 23rd-busiest airport by total passenger traffic.
To get a filming permit for either location, one should go here for more information. One can also get more precise location by calling the specific management of the location to ask about the filming location prices.
For more information on the requirements, go here.