Whether you prefer a relaxing beach getaway or an action-packed holiday weekend, the silver screen is a fantastic place to look for travel inspiration. Films often capture the soul of a bustling city or the scenic beauty of a natural paradise. Often with so many options to choose from, one can get overwhelmed and it can be a little tough to decide on the perfect destination.
This is no longer a challenge as leading online travel agent, ZUJI, has handpicked five iconic destinations from favourite Hollywood hits that will take you on your next great escape. These could make great options for short getaways over long weekend breaks, such as the upcoming Labour Day holiday in Singapore. Special deals, similar to how ZUJI is offering up to $210 off any travel bookings [i], also often emerge for these long weekend bookings.
- Beijing, China – The Last Emperor
Be transported in time as you enter the gates of the Forbidden City in Beijing. Showcased most elegantly in the Oscar-winning film, The Last Emperor, the vast imperial palace cannot be missed on any tour to China. Reined by 24 emperors during the Ming and Qing dynasties, it lived up to its name for five and a half centuries where no one could enter or leave without the emperors’ permission.
Now known as the Palace Museum, it is to the north of Tiananmen Square. Rectangular in shape, it is the world’s largest palace complex that covers 74 hectares of land. Today, fans of the film and globetrotters alike can easily explore the former residence of Chinese emperors with the help of a private guide. Be in awe of the intricacies and the majestic way of life for the emperors.
- Queenstown, New Zealand – Lord of the Rings
You only need to walk through the countryside of New Zealand to get a taste of J.R.R. Tolkien’s vision of Middle Earth. With its dramatic and diverse scenery, the vast countryside is full of trails that take you past silver lakes, fiery sunsets, verdant hills and smashing waterfalls. Picturing Frodo and Sam on an adventure would not be a stretch of the imagination.
For many people the idea of visiting New Zealand was planted by the Lord of the Rings trilogy and to some people the trip can be considered a pilgrimage. Hop on the local tour to visit Matamata, the home of Hobbiton and The Shire, hike through Tongariro Crossing to immerse yourself in the isolation and atmosphere in Mordor, or go “behind-the-scenes” at the Weta Workshop and their Cave Museum in Miramar. This adventure is one that’s not to be missed!
- Kyoto, Japan – Memoirs of a Geisha
Home to quiet temples, sublime gardens, beautiful shrines and dainty geishas, Kyoto is a must see for those making a trip to Japan. Walking along the popular district of Gion in Kyoto, movie buffs will surely remember the gorgeous scenes in the award winning Memoirs of a Geisha. Lined with ochaya (tea houses), guests can be entertained by kimono-clad geishas while indulging in a traditional Japanese cultural experience.
Another memorable location from the film is the Fushimi Inari shrine, where a young Sayuri is seen running through to wish for a better life. Visitors can walk through the trail framed by thousands of red gates, otherwise known as tori, to make a wish or pray for help to overcome challenges in your life. Take a stroll through the shrine and you will be encapsulated unto a world of its own.
- Siem Reap, Cambodia – Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Thanks to the 2001 Hollywood hit, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Ta Prohm is also known to tourists as the “Tomb Raider Temple”. In the action-packed film, Angelina Jolie is seen dodging booby traps through the temple while racing against the Illuminati to find the severed Triangle of Light. Contrary to this, only peace and quiet fills the temple with it being especially serene and beautiful in the early mornings.
Located southwest of the East Mebon and east of Angkor Thom, Ta Prohm is accessible by tuk tuk or car. With massive roots and huge trees hugging its untouched structure, the temple is shrouded in dense jungle and conjures up a mystical yet romantic aura. If you’re looking for an adventure in Asia, or perhaps are on a quest for antique treasures, this might just be your ideal getaway.
- Bali, Indonesia – Eat, Pray, Love
Whether you’re aiming for self-discovery or a revitalizing vacation, one will always find Bali to be the ideal holiday destination. With lush rice paddies, spiritual temples and long golden beaches, be immersed in Bali’s rich culture in the style of Eat, Pray, Love.
Like Elizabeth Gilbert, played by Julia Roberts in the film, travellers can set up base in Ubud, the centre of the island. Also being the cultural heart of Bali, there are plenty of enriching activities – from yoga classes to philosophy discussions, or surfing to cooking classes. If you’re looking for your future to be told, tourists can also visit Ketut Liyer, the medicine man and self-proclaimed psychic made famous by the hit book and movie. Bali offers a holistic holiday experience where everyone gets to live, laugh and love.
For more information on travel sales and long weekend deals, travellers can log on to the ZUJI website and Facebook Page, or for fantastic bundle deals, visit ZUJI Exclusives. Short on getaway inspiration? Browse for interesting travel stories at the ZUJI Passport blog.