With beautiful natural advantages and warmhearted people, Vietnam has become an ideal land for many international filmmakers to shoot outdoors. This is considered a potential for Vietnam’s film development, and also a good way to promote tourism in Vietnam. In fact, Vietnam was chosen by many international film crews when setting up the film scene such as the Hollywood movie Kong: Skull Island (2017), Pan (2015), Indochine (1992); music videos such as Alone Pt. II by Alan Walker; etc. From that, we are proud to introduce to you the ultimate guide to filming in Vietnam – all you need to know!

The Ultimate Guide to Filming in Vietnam

You can see how majestic Vietnam is through the Hollywood movie Kong: Skull Island (2017)

Permit and Visa for Filming in Vietnam

When asking for filming in Vietnam, it is required by Vietnamese laws that you need to apply for Television & Film permits to the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism (MoCST) or Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA).

In particular:

  • For shooting, TV shows or commercials, reality shows, sports and entertainment events, documentary, news, entertainment, music videos (for e.g, video Alone Pt. II of Alan Walker with the image of Son Doong Cave in Vietnam), corporate videos, etc. you will submit the supplication for MoFA.
  • For filming feature films or movies like Kong: Skull Island (2017), Pan (2015), L’amant (1991), Indochine (1992); you will need to submit documents (script, shooting schedule, itinerary, locations, local contributors, etc.) to MoCST. Each member of the cast and film crew will also need journalist visas to enter the country for filming purposes.

Documents you will need to submit to MoCST include:

Vietnam Tours 2020
  • Request Form For Journalistic Activities in Vietnam
  • Synopsis of the show/ program
  • Daily shooting plan with detailed filming locations
  • Copies of passport of the crew members
  • List of equipment that you bring in Vietnam

How to get a journalist visa in Vietnam?

MoFA will request the Department of Immigration under the Ministry of Public Security to process journalist visas for each member of the crew. After processing, the Department of Immigration will issue a letter of journalist visa approval.

Or, you can let Paradise Travel help you with getting a journalist visa in Vietnam. Apply Vietnam visa online now to get your journalist visa approval letter right in your mailbox with just from $14/ person.

Besides, the stamping fee at the Landing Visa Counter at Vietnam International Airports is $25/ person.

Visa-exemption to Vietnam

Citizens from following countries holding diplomatic or official passport are visa-exempt to Vietnam:

Maximum StayCountries
Less than 90 DaysChile
Less than 30 DaysLaos, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Kyrgyzstan
Less than 15 DaysEuropean countries: United Kingdom, Sweden, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Norway, Finland, Denmark

Asian countries: Myanmar, Brunei, Japan, South Korea, Russia, Belarus

How long does it take to issue the Vietnam film permit?

From the day of receiving all necessary documents, it will take around 7-10 working days to issue the Vietnam film permit.

The Film Officer and film permit fee

MoFA will assign at least one Film Officer as an escort to accompany your filming time in Vietnam.

The film permit fee in Vietnam is usually charged on a daily basis. With a large-scale project, the fee is charged on a package basis.

Also, the fee will include the escort’s expense of travel, accommodation, meals and salary.

Customs clearance of equipment

The process of customs clearance of equipment at the airport is compulsory and a part of permit for filming in Vietnam. The appointed Film Officer will send the list of equipment to airport customs to do temporary importation before you come. Upon your arrival, a fixer and the Film Officer will show up at the airport to assist you in doing immigration procedure and customs clearance of equipment.

Permit for drone filming in Vietnam

Getting the permission for any drone flight is compulsory in Vietnam

Getting the permission for any drone flight is compulsory in Vietnam

You will need to submit an application to the Ministry of National Defense for any drone flight in Vietnam. The document includes the exact locations (longitude and latitude) where you would like to have drone flight in Vietnam. It will take about 10 working days to issue this kind of permit.

How about amateur shooting?

Flycam is a direct threat to aviation safety. Therefore, Vietnamese laws declare that ALL drone flights or fly-cam must be authorized. The Operations Department – General Staff of the Vietnam People’s Army will approve the flight permit application.

Hence, our advice is that you officially apply for permission of drone flights in Vietnam despite any purpose.

Some notes for filming in Vietnam

Climate of Vietnam

Characterized by a subtropical climate in the North and a monsoon climate in the South, Vietnam’s weather is different from North to South. In general, the best time for filming in Vietnam is from November to April, when the weather is neither too hot nor too cold and wet or dry.

When and Where is filming in Vietnam NOT allowed?

1. No filming, taking photos in restricted and army areas.

They are defensive works; defense and police industry areas; military zones, police zones, military barracks, police barracks, military airports, ports of military, military and police arsenal; national strategic reserve; constructions, particularly important political, economic, cultural and social objectives; border areas (except where allowed by the Government). Also, no filming, taking photos in places with “restricted areas” and “prohibited places” signs, with the signboards following the uniform regulations prescribed by the Minister of Public Security.

2. The shooting/ recording and use of the image of an individual must be agreed by that person.

“That person” here could be anybody, from a local citizen wandering around to a worker doing the mission. If you want to film or take photos of them, whoever they are, you must ask for their agreements. Otherwise, you will be punished by laws for your actions.

3. In spiritual places, you do not have an allowance to take photos/ filming/ shooting/ recording.

Vietnam is a country of great faith and worship culture. Therefore, places such as museums, temples, shrines, churches often limit filming, taking pictures; especially with flash.

4. Two locations that are prohibited from filming and taking photos in Vietnam

  • The Long Bien Bridge (Hanoi)
The famous Long Bien Bridge in Hanoi is gorgeous but not safe for filming/ taking photos

The famous Long Bien Bridge in Hanoi is gorgeous but not safe for filming/ taking photos

This used to be the second longest bridge in the world (just after the Brooklyn Bridge spanning the US East-River). With the beauty of coloring the time, the “horizontal Eiffel Tower” of Hanoi is associated with many memories of young people in Hanoi. Not only that, this is also considered the most famous virtual living corner of young people when visiting Hanoi capital.

However, with dozens of trains traveling back and forth every day, the act of standing in check-in on the rail lane between Long Bien Bridge becomes a violation of the Railway Law, endangering the lives of the visitors themselves and train passengers as well. Moreover, moving on the tracks is not easy, it is very easy to miss your feet. Not only causes traffic unsafe, visitors when visiting here also face many dangers when this bridge is always full of needles or sharp objects. Therefore, the ban on filming and taking photos at Long Bien Bridge has been put up.

  • Doc Nha Bo (Da Lat)

There are many accidents due to this steep slope, especially in the rainy season when the slope is even more slippery. Therefore, filming and shooting are banned at this site.

Transportation for Filming in Vietnam

There are several choices for transportation for filming in Vietnam:

1. You can rent a car with a driver in Vietnam to move around easily and conveniently while filming in Vietnam.

2. If you want to record Hanoi capital’s best scenery without using a drone, a two-stage bus in Vietnam is a good idea for you not only to film but also admire breath-taking views and atmosphere of this destination.

3. For water scenes, wandering around by boats or cruises in Ha Long Bay or Mekong delta will bring you the most magic water footage ever!

4. Traveling by train is also an ideal choice for both economical transportation and shooting some movie shots/ pictures. However, this will take you a lot of time to transfer due to its speed.

Holidays in Vietnam

Annually, Vietnam has a lot of traditional and cultural festivals. The biggest one is the Lunar Tet Holiday which often takes place in January or February. This is an important event of the Vietnamese, the time of family gathering to welcome a new year. Therefore, this is NOT a suitable time for filming in Vietnam since it will get very difficult to process any filming activities such as getting the filming permit, accessing tourism services, etc.

Filming in Vietnam

Needless to say, Vietnam with its abundant nature, beautiful scenery and friendly people has been the focus of Hollywood studios for decades. In the past, war was the factor that brought foreign film crews to Vietnam. But today, the majestic and diverse natural landscape becomes the attraction, turning Vietnam into a new destination for foreign filmmakers.

Besides seeing a beautiful Vietnam in Kong: Skull Island (2017), there are many other famous foreign films having also chosen Vietnam as a backdrop such as Pan (2015), L’amant (1991), Indochine (1992), etc.

The cast of Kong: Skull Island (2017) in Vietnam

The cast of Kong: Skull Island (2017) in Vietnam

The Hollywood blockbuster Kong: Skull Island was filmed in many famous tourist destinations in Vietnam such as Halong Bay, Trang An, Van Long Lagoon, Trang An Landscape Complex, etc.

In Pan (2015), the crew made a trip to Son Doong cave (Quang Binh province), Halong Bay and Ninh Binh province to film some scenes.

Or in Indochine (1992), there are some scenes in Halong Bay, Dien Hoa in Hue Citadel, Tu Duc Tomb (Hue), Tam Coc -Bich Dong in Ninh Binh. This is also the most successful film shooting in Vietnam by winning an Oscar for best foreign-language film.

A scene recording at Halong Bay in Indochine movie (1992)

A scene recording at Halong Bay in Indochine movie (1992)

Moving to music, we have “Alone Pt. II” by Alan Walker filming in Vietnam. If the Alone MV part 1 with nearly 1 billion views is one of the MVs that made Alan Walker’s name, the production of MV Alone part II is definitely an important project of this producer. Son Doong is the largest cave in the world with a lot of hidden values ​​such as primeval forests, large skylights, and rich vegetation. This gorgeous has attracted many world explorers to discover and communicate in the world.

Son Doong Cave in Alone Pt. II by Alan Walker

Son Doong Cave in Alone Pt. II by Alan Walker

Best Locations for Filming in Vietnam

Vietnam – A new destination for blockbusters

From Northern to Southern Vietnam, there are a wide range of filming locations. If you have an interest in an urban landscape or are looking for a specific natural feature.

Firstly, in Northern Vietnam, one of the most famous tourist attractions must be Halong Bay with its various off-the-beaten-path sites, calm water, caves, rivers, etc. Especially, when filming in Vietnam, you cannot miss the vast caves of Son Doong with underground watercourses and a reflecting emerald pool that are perfect for any movie scenes. Besides, there are other stunning and majestic Northern places that are suitable for filming in Vietnam such as Ninh Binh, Sapa, Ha Giang, etc.

Breath-taking landscape of Ninh Binh

Breath-taking landscape of Ninh Binh, an ideal and flawless destination for filming in Vietnam

Secondly, when coming to Central Vietnam, you will for sure get immersed into the poetic scenery, peaceful atmosphere and quiet people here with the region’s long-lasting culture and history. Hue, Hoi An or Da Nang will bring you different colors for your movie’s footage with both ancient and modern beauty in every step.

Moreover, in Southern Vietnam, the Pearl of the far East – Ho Chi Minh City will blow into your production a fresh wind with its high skyscrapers, busy markets and modern destinations. Otherwise, beach kingdoms such as Nha Trang, Phu Quoc, etc. are also perfect locations for filming in Vietnam.

1. Hanoi: The capital of Vietnam has its 36 old streets and many other historical sites such as Hoan Kiem Lake, Ngoc Son Temple, Duong Lam Old Village, etc. This is a perfect place for ancient scenes.

2. Halong Bay: This UNESCO Heritage Site has its calm and emerald blue water, surrounded by vast rocks covered in greenery and majesty. It’s a striking spot that is ideal for water scenes.

3. Phong Nha: This traditional small town is close to a huge national park with caves and lush green mountains. It would be great for any movie where you need strong, natural features.

4. Da Lat: The city of flowers owns so many beautiful flower gardens, Da Lat train station, coffee shops, the valley of love, majestic waterfalls and lakes, etc. This is a must-visit for any film crews looking for a poetic location for romantic or sad scenes.

5. Ho Chi Minh City: This bustling city has a great atmosphere, climate and many interesting places to film. The center of economy and culture of Vietnam is famous for its various modern, sleek skyscrapers and roads full of bikes and mopeds.

See more: Vietnam travel guides

Start planning your tailor-made Vietnam tour by contacting one of our specialists…

Bich Ngoc

As a true Vietnamese enthusiast of music, books and coffee, Bich Ngoc loves researching into those typical cultural characteristics of Vietnam as well as exploring further destinations in the country of thousand years of civilization.

Comments(2)

  1. I am a movie lover and i really care abt making my own drama project in Vietnam. seeking context for filming in Vietnam, i really am falling in live with everything there, scenes, mountains, seas, forests, citadels etc., i sent an email for enquiring you abt some detail of filming policy, please reply me soon. Many thanks!

    1. Thank you for your comment. I am thrilled to know that you are in love with the beauty of our country and that you have a plan to make your production in Vietnam. Please check your mail box and I will come back to you via email.

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