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Jim Thompson House is a peaceful respite in the maddening crowd of the busiest part of the city. It was built in 1959, and the Jim Thompson House is one of the top attractions in Bangkok. This place will give you deep insight into Thai history, architecture, and crafts.
Its perfect location, the landscaped grounds, and tranquil garden make it a convenient escape for tourists who begin to get impatient and nervous from the hectic market and megamalls in the area.
Jim Thompson was an American entrepreneur who is known for reviving the Thai silk industry in the 1940s. He has been an architect, adventurer, entrepreneur, art collector, socialite, and military intelligence officer with the OSS (a forerunner of the CIA). Later, he disappeared mysteriously on March 26th, 1967, after he went for a stroll in Malaysia’s Cameron Highlands. His life journey makes for an exciting read.
The mystery of Jim Thompson’s disappearance in 1967 remains unsolved. It seems like a Hollywood like story that involved the murder of his sister, CIA involvement and the mysterious disappearance of a high-profile millionaire.
Thomson quit his architectural career to join Delaware National Guard for more excitement. His grandfather James H. Wilson, the Union general whose men captured Confederate President Jefferson Davis. During World War II, Jim Thompson served as an operative for the Office of Strategic Services (the predecessor of the CIA today).
He set up OSS office in Bangkok after Japan’s surrender. After leaving service, he founded the Thai Silk Company Limited in 1948 with his partner. He had accumulated an intimate knowledge of the region with extensive travels in Southeast Asia. Resultantly, the Thai Silk Company became very profitable.
He collected antiques and artwork and ultimately constructed Jim Thompson House in Bangkok to showcase them. On March 26th, 1967, he went for a walk from Malaysia's Cameron Highlands and never returned. Investigation and search for years produced neither explanation nor body.
His older sister was also murdered in her Pennsylvania home a few months after his disappearance. This case also remained unsolved.
The Thai silk industry of today is the outcome of American's foresight and hard work. Thomson's legacy stays here, and his magnificent home has been converted into a museum. Thai tradition and craftsmanship are visible in Jim Thompson's house amid Bangkok’s hectic life. Most buildings were built over 200 years.
Thompson constructed his house from wooden panels and walls from old structures he found in Thailand. The design of the home is awe-inspiring because he built it with architectural fervor in multiple styles. While traveling in Southeast Asia, Jim collected rare artwork and antique Buddha statues apart from paintings and porcelain. Its furniture is intricately carved. You will also find old looms and colorful silk.
The six teak structures symbolize building styles from various parts of Thailand. You will also learn about traditional silk-weaving techniques.
Unattended viewing is not allowed due to the valuable artworks and intimate nature of buildings. You are free to see around the front part of the garden unaccompanied. For the inside of the house, you must take a guided tour.
You can pay 100 Baht to avail of regular and frequent guided tours in languages such as English, Thai, French, Chinese, Japanese, or German. Since the layout of the building does not allow large groups of people to halt long in any one spot at a time, so the tour appears a bit rushed. You can feel free to look around and take your time.
The last tour begins at 6 pm. You may have to return for your tour at a given time, depending on how occupied the museum is. Try to be back 10 minutes early.
Get your carry bags deposited in lockers before beginning the tour. You can take a camera, but you are not allowed to click photos in the main buildings. However, you can click on the grounds and some small buildings. You can savor snacks and tea at the coffee shop and restaurant within the grounds. Please do not miss to visit the excellent store where everything carries the hallmark of Jim Thompson's quality. Please take off your shoes at the start of the tour.
Timings are subject to change. You will be automatically booked into a time slot as part of the check out process. Please visit the official website to confirm the time slot before your visit.