Skip to content

10 Best Documentaries About Thailand (In 2024)

These documentaries about Thailand show a captivating land of vibrant culture, stunning landscapes, and a rich history.

Countless documentaries have aimed to capture the essence of this Southeast Asian gem, delving into its diverse tapestry of traditions, bustling urban centres, and serene natural beauty.

From the bustling streets of Bangkok to the tranquil shores of its tropical islands, these documentaries about Thailand provide an immersive journey into the heart of the country, exploring its unique blend of ancient traditions and modern dynamism.


Documentaries About Thailand

Whether uncovering the intricacies of Thai cuisine, examining the spiritual allure of its temples, or shedding light on the challenges faced by its people, these documentaries about Thailand offer a window into the soul of a nation that continues to captivate and enchant global audiences.

On a personal note, I have been visiting Thailand since 1998 and have lived in Bangkok and Chiang Mai for several years. The documentaries about Thailand that I’m recommending cover many different aspects of the country and will give you better insight for any visit to Thailand.


Thailand: Earth’s Tropical Paradise (2017)

Thailand: Earth’s Tropical Paradise is a three-part documentary series produced by the BBC Natural History Unit and explores the diverse ecosystems and wildlife of Thailand, showcasing the country’s rich natural beauty.

The series covers various aspects of Thailand’s geography, from its lush rainforests to its pristine beaches and coral reefs. It delves into the lives of the unique and sometimes elusive wildlife that inhabits these environments, offering viewers a closer look at the country’s biodiversity.

The Rescue (2021)

The Rescue is a documentary film directed and produced by Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi. It was released in 2021 and focuses on the dramatic rescue of the Wild Boars soccer team from the Tham Luang Nang Non-cave in Thailand in 2018.

The documentary provides a detailed account of the international rescue effort that captured global attention. The rescue operation involved expert cave divers, including members of the Thai Navy SEALs and divers from various countries.

The young soccer team and their coach were trapped inside the cave complex due to rising floodwaters. The documentary captures the challenges, risks, and complexities involved in the mission to bring the boys and their coach to safety.

This is one of the best recent documentaries about Thailand to watch as it is gripping to see how intense the rescue was.

Railway Sleepers (2016)

Directed by Thai filmmaker Sompot Chidgasornpongse, this documentary is a meditative exploration of people’s lives along the Thai railway. It beautifully captures the landscapes and stories of those who live and work near the train tracks.

The film is known for its unique structure, as it features 2,000 people recounting their dreams while riding the train across Thailand. Each dream story is presented through a single static shot, providing a diverse and intimate glimpse into the dreams and aspirations of the people.

This is an exploration of the cultural and social landscape of Thailand, capturing the dreams of individuals from different backgrounds and perspectives. It offers a poetic and contemplative look at the dreams of ordinary people, creating a mosaic of stories that reflect the complexities of life.

Buffalo Girls (2012)

Buffalo Girls explores the world of Muay Thai boxing in Thailand, focusing on the lives of two eight-year-old girls, Stam and Pet, who are professional child boxers.

Muay Thai is a traditional Thai martial art, and the documentary delves into the cultural and societal aspects surrounding the participation of young girls in this sport.

The film raises ethical questions about child labour, exploitation, and the impact of cultural traditions on the lives of the young girls involved in Muay Thai.

Buffalo Girls sheds light on the challenges faced by these young boxers and provides a platform for discussions about cultural practices, gender roles, and the rights of children.

Thailand’s Ancient Modern Kingdom | Ayutthaya (2020)

This is a great documentary if you have any interest in the history of Thailand. The host of the documentary, Peter Lee, travels around Thailand to see how the ancient kingdom of Ayutthaya came to be.

Ayutthaya, with its 1 million residents, was the capital of one of the great empires of Asia which controlled much of Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. This gives a great insight into that past and its influences that still linger to this day.

You can watch the full episode on YouTube:

Legend Kru Yodthong Senanan – Muay Thai Documentary

This is another excellent Muay Thai documentary that you should watch. One of the founders of the Kru Muaythai Association (KMA), Kru Yodthong, who is a legendary Thai Muay Thai boxer, teaches his craft and shares the true art of Muay Thai in this documentary.

This video also features the first World Amateur Thai boxing competition held in Bangkok in 1995 by General Tienchai Sirisambhand.

This is a must-watch if you have any interest in Muay Thai.


Have a read of my article about learning Muay Thai in Chiang Mai as a beginner.


The Sacred Tattoos Of Thailand (2018)

This is a very short documentary that takes a look at the traditional tattoos of Thailand called a Sak Yant, which is deeply connected to the Buddhist culture in the country.

They are given by masters and monks and are a mix of art and Buddhism and are believed by Thai people to have magical powers that can help with many aspects of life, such as protection, good fortune, power, etc.

This documentary also shows the l Wai Khru ceremony where wearers of Sak Yant tattoos come to pay respect to their tattoo masters. It’s a sight to see!

Thailand’s Fearless Cop (2022)

Out of all these documentaries about Thailand, this is one of the darkest to watch. It follows a police officer, Paween Pongsirin, who is in charge of an investigation into a human trafficking network, where mass graves were found.

He comes into difficulty with some of the country’s elite after it is discovered an army general may be linked to the case and he flees to Australia fearing for his life.

In Australia, he tells everything that he knows and follows his fight for justice in Thailand.

Thailand – The Wild Heart – Wildest Indochina (2022)

Let’s finish these best documentaries about Thailand with another wildlife and nature documentary, as Thailand is so beautiful.

Description from the YouTube video:

Thailand lies at the heart of Indochina. It’s a melting pot for wildlife from across the region. Tigers still roam, maintaining the status quo as apex predators, and Assamese Macaques live in large troops to avoid such threats.

The range of wildlife here creates great biodiversity but also presents huge challenges. Thailand is a land with extreme environments and remarkable creatures; they all play their part in maintaining the balance of their worlds.

Watch the full episode on YouTube:


Thailand

Thailand truly is a gem of a country to visit and a personal favourite of mine as I have been visiting here since 1998. I love the people and their culture.

It’s called the “Land of Smiles” for a reason.

For more reading on Thailand take a look at the 10 best books about Thailand.

Also for more on the region have a read about the 10 best documentaries about Cambodia.


Share these best documentaries about Thailand:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Get the occasional email with some awesome new travel articles to check out.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Shares