While most of us only recognise Thailand as the bustling metropolitan it is today, have you ever imagined what life was like in rural Thailand before technology or social media even came into the picture? From haunting stories of Mae Nak Phra Khanong to nostalgic first-loves, here are some classic Thai movies that will take you back to the good old times when life was much simpler. Even if you do not live in Thailand, there are definitely some parts that you can still relate to.
#1: Fan Chan (My Girl) 
Set in rural Thailand, Fan Chan is a simple but sentimental story about Jeab, who goes back to his hometown after hearing that his childhood friend, Noi-naa, is getting married. With befitting Thai pop from the 1980s, travel back in time with Jeab as he reminisces about his childhood adventures. With a blend of funny and heart-aching moments, Fan Chan perfectly captures the beauty of raw moments shared between first childhood best friends, feelings that you’ll cherish no matter how many years have passed by.
#2 Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior 
Released in 2003, Ong-Bak is the epitome of an “Old But Gold” Muay Thai movie. Starring Thai legendary martial artist Tony Jaa, the movie takes us through Ting’s (played by Jaa) adventures as he hunts down a thief who stole the head of Ong-Bak, a statue that is sacred to the villagers of Ban Nong Pradu. From competing against intimidating fighters to chasing the bad guys in a lengthy tuk-tuk chase, Ong-Bak is an exhilarating, action-packed movie that fans of Donnie Yen or Jackie Chan shouldn’t miss out on.
#3 Bangkok Traffic (Love) Story 
Out of all the rom-coms I have watched, Bangkok Traffic (Love) Story easily tops the charts of being one of my favourite movies of all time, and offers an interesting perspective of how commuting by BTS Skytrain is like in Thailand. Unlike any other girl-meet-boy cliché story plots, this movie portrays the journey of 30 year-old Mei Li who encounters a guy named Uncle in probably the most unflattering way possible. Determined to find true love, Mei Li tries all sorts of antics to get closer to Uncle. From digging his past secrets to ‘accidentally’ bumping into him in the BTS Skytrain, the unique story of Mei Li and Uncle is one that can make you laugh out loud and catch the ‘feels’ within mere seconds.
#4 First Love/ A Little Thing Called Love (2010)
As the title suggests, First Love is about a 14-year-old girl called Nam, who falls head over heels for one of the most popular seniors in school, P’Shone. Once called ‘ugly’ with a bad fashion sense, Nam tries everything from reading love guidebooks and joining school clubs to get P’Shone’s attention. With friendship dilemmas and potential love interests in between, First Love is a simple yet heart-wrenching story about a complicated thing called Love.
#5 Pee Mak 
If you are familiar with the story of Thailand’s folklore Mae Nak Phra Khanong, you’ll definitely love Pee Mak’s creative yet emotional re-make of this famous tale. Similar to the original, the movie begins with a pregnant young woman named Nak who is waiting for her husband, Mak, to come back from the war. However, when Mak came back, the villagers started to avoid him as there have been rumours that Nak had died from childbirth. With the perfect balance of jumpscares, phenomenal facial expressions and sentimental moments, Pee Mak takes us through the wild adventures of Mak’s comrades as they attempt to break the news to Mak that he is living with a ghost.
Whether it be horror or romance, you are bound to find some movies in this list that’ll keep you entertained. If you would like to learn more about Thailand, or just have a good time in general, feel free to add these movies into your watchlist! Since we can’t travel back in time, why not watch a classic Thai movie or two with your loved ones to reminisce the good old days?