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8 movies where scenery is the star

Maya Bay, Thailand

Photo: Antti Pulkkinen/Shutterstock

5 of 10

'The Beach,' Krabi, Thailand

This film, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, was shot on location in Thailand. Based on the Alex Garland book of the same name, much of the story takes place on Koh Phi Phi Le, a Thai island in the popular Krabi province. Though DiCaprio was arguably the biggest movie star in the world in 2000, when "The Beach" was released, the location itself steals the show. The titular beach made its own headlines, first when its sand dunes were altered during filming, angering environmentalists and drawing lawsuits. Then the Indian Ocean tsunami devastated the island in 2004. However, the disaster also had a strange benefit: It restored the sand dunes.

The Beach movie posterToday, the lush jungles, fine sands, blue lagoons and unique limestone formations fit perfectly with many people's definition of a tropical paradise. It is possible to visit Phi Phi Le to see the exact spot where the movie was set, but the attraction of this part of Thailand is that there are numerous islands with similarly idyllic landscapes (shown here is Maya Bay on Koh Phi Phi Le). Some are popular with tourists and others are more wild, with hidden beaches and plenty of opportunities for kayaking, swimming, climbing and diving.