This exquisite collection of traditional Thai house stands as a museum to the man who revived the Thai silk industry after the Second World War. The story of James H.W. Thompson is one upon legends are made. After serving in the U.S.A. armed forces, Jim Thompson settled in Thailand and found the tremendous opportunity to re-establish the Thai silk industry. In recognition of his services to the country, he was bestowed the royal award of The Order of the White Elephant.The company he founded, Jim Thompson Thai Silk, is recognized worldwide for its brilliant creations.
He was an avid collector of Asian artifacts and antiques and The Jim Thompson’s House is possibly the epitome of his collection.
Before his mysterious disappearance in the Cameron Highland in Malaysia in 1967, his house was the talk of the town where he entertained his friends and visitors including the like of Somerset Maugham.
The house sits on approximately a half acre of land on Mahanak Canal. Ban Khrua village where his silk weavers lived and worked. Is just on the other side of the canal. To build the house he gathered 6 original traditional teak structure from different parts of the country and brought carpenter from Ayutthaya who completed the house in 1959.
The gardens are equally impressive with a lush tropical jungle imitating nature’s haphazard beauty right in the center of the city.
Jim Thompsons connoisseur collection of antiques and artifacts is on permanent exhibition, making this a magnificent museum of the lifestyle of the legend.
Jim Thompson was born in Greenville, Delaware, in 1906. He was an architect prior to the Second World War. During the war he came to Asia. He arrived to Bangkok as an intelligence officer a short time after the war ended. After leaving the service, he decided to settle in Thailand permanently.
His most valuable contribution was the revival of the Thai silk industry. He implemented the use of wider, more efficient looms, and color-fast chemical dyes instead of the traditional plant-derived dyes that faded quickly unless carefully protected. He also designed new patterns and sent his ware to European fashion centers, gradually building international fame for Thai silk. A breakthrough came in 1950, when an international costume designer chose his silk to be featured in a Broadway show called “Blue Night” (the music of which was composed by King Rama IX himself!). A year later, it got even more exposure when featured in the costumes for the controversial “King and I”. As a result, Thai silk became famous, fashionable and profitable, a trend that continues today.
He gained further renown due to his efforts to preserve ancient Thai architecture. He collected derelict teak houses from various places in Central Thailand (Ayutthaya province and Baan Khrua), brought them to their present site and assembled them in 1959 in the most authentic way possible.
He mysteriously disappeared during a visit to the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia in 1967, leaving behind an impressive legacy of art and architecture, and this house as his memorial.
THINGS TO KNOW:
Address: Soi Kasemsan 2 , Rama 1 road, opposite National Stadium, Pathum Wan
Tel: (02) 216-7368
To get there :
Taking Skytrain to National Stadium BTS Station or taking bus routes 15, 47, 73, 204
Open: 09:00 am – 05:00 pm every day
Admission: 100 baht for adults and 50 baht for under 25.
Website : www.jimthompsonhouse.com
English, French and Japanese guided tours available.
Scam alert! Beware of nearby touts telling that the house is closed.
No shoes are allowed to be worn inside
No photography is allowed inside the buildings.