Vintage Cinematic Treasures: Discovering Bangkok's Cinematic Time Capsules

The beautiful legacy of Bangkok’s movie theatres

          Today, amidst the convenience of movie theatres within shopping malls, there exists a yearning for the days when standalone cinemas were the norm. The majority of these classic movie theatres have faded into obscurity.  Koktail will transport you back to the cinematic experiences of the past showing theatres that still preserve the architectural elements and ambiance of a bygone era.

Lido: Classic Movie Theatre in the Heart of Siam Square

(50 Years of Unconventional Elegance)

          June 1968 was when the Lido Theater debuted. Its first screening featured the movie "Guns for San Sebastian" (also known as "Battle of Sebastian"). Lido, located at the heart of Siam Square, has been a beloved hangout place for Thai teenagers for a long time. The theatre drew its name from France's renowned Cabaret Theater "Le Lido" in Paris. The unique identity of it is showing unconventional films to expand viewers' choices beyond mainstream trends. With cheaper prices and the staff's signature yellow attire, this place became a familiar sight.

          Although Lido ceased operations in 2018, it resurfaced in 2019 as "Lido Connect," maintaining its original decor. Evolving into a communal area, it facilitated musical performances, workshops, and more. However, the film screenings have stopped, creating uncertainty about upcoming shows. Nonetheless, you can still appreciate some of the building's beauty and its enduring old-world atmosphere.

Chinatown Rama: An Old-Fashioned Movie Theatre in the heart of China Town

(Over 70 Years of Silver Screen Splendour)

          Chinatown Rama, an over 70-year-old establishment, is the standalone movie theatre within the Seng Heng Li Building, located at the heart of Yaowarat Road. In the past, this movie theatre was very successful as the only theatre in Yaowarat. Incredibly, this movie theatre survives! For just 60 baht, you can take any open seat and enjoy movies, and occasionally, you might even get to watch two movies for that price.

          This distinct and vintage ambiance, a rarity in contemporary times, has led numerous individuals, both local and international, to choose this place as a backdrop for their films.

Open: Everyday

Open Hours: 12pm-9pm

Sala Chalermkrung Royal Theatre: An Old Hub for Thai Film Industry

(90 Years of Majestic Entertainment)

          The Sala Chalermkrung Royal Theatre was built in the Modernist style on Charoenkrung Road and opened in July, 1933. Sponsored by King Prajadhipok to celebrate Bangkok's 150th anniversary, the King invested nine million baht of personal funds. At that time, the theatre was equipped with the latest sound and lighting system. The neon lights on the top of the front facade displaying in Thai the name Sala Chalerm Krung were the largest in Asia. It also offered modern air-conditioning which was a novelty at the time. All of these factors made it a hub for the film industry.

          Nowadays, Sala Chalermkrung changed its role from a cinema to a cultural venue, it exhibits traditional Thai dance but still maintains its architectural elegance for film lovers to visit and reflect upon the past era.

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