The Scala Cinema in Siam Square offers a more modest one-screen movie theatre experience compared to the large complex situated in Siam Paragon, just across the road. Built in 1967, this exquisitely maintained movie theatre is worth a trip not only for the bargain-priced seats and popcorn but also for the cool retro setting.
From the tickets to the theatre’s building, everything here has been preserved and it’s worth a trip just to stand in the domed-ceiling entrance and be transported to another era.
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Scala Cinema - a rarity
The cinema is easy to find, just 5 minutes’ walk from the BTS station at Siam. Simply come down the stairs on the opposite side of the road to Paragon and head towards Siam Square Soi 1. From the outside, the cinema looks old-world – there are no digital displays here and the name of the film showing is displayed in red letters, each put up by hand.
On Siam Square Soi 2, The Lido Cinema was its partner in crime, which closed down in 2018. Both cinemas used to show an eclectic range of films together, from large blockbusters to more independent movies from Asia and Europe. Now on its own, The Scala Cinema is a rarity in Thailand, one of the last movie theatres from times gone by still standing.
Scala Cinema features
Once you enter the Scala, you’re greeted by a gigantic chandelier that swoops to almost head height over the double staircase. The entrance hall is the highlight of the cinema, which is a lofty space with a vaulted ceiling and with large art deco bronzed flowers hanging from each dome. It gives the room an almost religious feel – this is definitely a cinema for those who worship the silver screen.
Tickets are ripped from a booklet and your seat number is scrawled on it (no printers are necessary here). The ticket and concession stands are large wooden art deco monuments, and above the entrance is a 10-metre sculpture showing a potted history of Thailand.
Vintage movie experience at Scala Cinema
The gentleman who takes your ticket usually sports a very snazzy yellow jacket and bowtie combo, and it feels that he too may be stuck in the time warp that is the Scala Cinema. It’s well-known that those who work at the cinema tend to stay in the job for life, adding to the history of the building.
Inside the cinema is no less impressive, with around 1,000 red velvet seats curving around the large theatre. The owners of the cinema haven’t left everything frozen in time, making sure that technology is regularly updated to offer viewers the best experience they can.
Although there may be less legroom than in other cinemas across the city, a visit here is a real treat. Whether you come for the arthouse movies, the architecture or some of the cheapest tickets in the city it would be a shame not to experience such a significant part of Thailand’s movie history.
The Scala Cinema
- Opening Hours: movie showing times vary
- Location: 184 216 Rama I Rd, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
- BTS: Siam
- Tel: +66 (0)2 251 2861