As part of my stay at Siam@Siam in Bangkok, the hotel arranged for me to visit Jim Thompson House. Now I admit I had never heard of Jim Thompson before in my life, and now after visiting the house I am intrigued as to the mystery that surrounds this man.
James H.W. Thompson (Jim), was a self-made American entrepreneur who founded the Jim Thompson Thai Silk Company. Because of his great achievements during his 25 year stay in the Kingdom of Thailand he became the "Legendary American of Thailand". He was awarded the Order of the White Elephant, a decoration bestowed upon foreigners for having rendered exceptional service to Thailand. In 1967, Jim Thompson went on holiday with friends to the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia. During his stay he went for a for a walk in the surrounding jungle and never returned. I heard many stories from the locals on what happened to Jim Thompson including that he was a CIA Agent, eaten by a tiger, kidnapped and more.
Jim Thompson House is the house of my dreams. I always think about living in a tropical area in a tree house and surrounded by lush gardens. Now this house isn't exactly a tree house; it's a traditional Thai house designed by Jim Thompson himself. It is constructed with beautiful timbers and full of Asian antiques. I was not permitted to take photos of inside the house unfortunately, so I will try and describe it as best I can.
Photo: This fish is an Oscar in one of the ponds. Put your finger in at your own peril. He chases you and will bite!
Think of wood and open windows! Wooden stair cases, and nothing but timber and terraces. Some of the rooms you have to step into by climbing over a wooden panel. The home is full of beautiful Thai antiques and artwork. This house is without a doubt the home of high society in the 1950's and 60's. I found each room fascinating and can only imagine how splendid Jim Thompson's life was in those days.
Jim Thompson House is surrounded by lush gardens, ponds and is next to a canal. As I explored this magnificent home I imagined myself living here, in the tropical heat (which I love), the open windows, the sweet smell of the flowers and the sound of the birds and music of the monks. Every morning I have been in my room at Siam@Siam I have heard beautiful chants and music which I presume is coming from one of the Monk's temples.
This photo shows one of the houses next to the canal from one of the terraces of Jim Thompson House.
Jim Thompson House consists of a complex of six traditional Thai-style houses, teak structures that were purchased from several owners and brought to the present location from various parts of Thailand. The house was completed in 1959.
Apart from the tour of the house, visitors can enjoy walking through the lush greenery, enjoy eating in the restaurant and visit the Thai Silk shop on the premises. If staying at Siam@Siam Designer Hotel in Bangkok it is just a short walk. In fact I can see Jim Thompson House from my room here; I look down to a mass of greenery that I wondered what it was when I first arrived. Now I know!
Jim Thompson House is a must see when staying in Bangkok. Not only for the exquisite beauty but for the history of Thailand that you will discover in some of the artwork and paintings. You will need to book a tour. You will asked to remove your shoes when entering the house (Thai custom) as well as locking bags in a secure locker.
Located on Soi Kasemsan (2) Song, opposite the National Stadium on Rama I Rd.
Opening Hours : 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. everyday with the last Guided Tour at 6:00 p.m.*
Getting to the Jim Thompson House : Located in the center of Bangkok, it is conveniently reached by car, taxi, Tuk tuk, or the Sky Train (Bangkok Transit System).
Admission : Adult 150 baht; Students (under 22 years old) 100 baht Compulsory guided tours around the house.
Contact information: Jim Thompson House 6 Soi Kasemsan 2, Rama 1 Road, Bangkok Tel: (662) 216-7368 Fax: (662) 612-3744
Photos above: Traditional Thai Silk Spinning and Silk Worms
Thanks also to our Partner, Roam Resorts and Hotels