To learn about the emergence of the Thai silk industry, one should pay a visit to the Jim Thompson House for a tour. This stunning, traditional Thai teak house right in the centre of Bangkok has been on the tour circuit for a number of years and comes complete with an inspired Southeast Asia art collection and quaint gardens.
The former Secret Service agent set up the Thai Silk Company in Bangkok after his time working for the US Secret Service in WWII. History has it that Mr Thompson returned to Thailand and had his house built in the 1960s, only to later disappear in the wilds of Malaysia under suspicious circumstances.
The Thai Silk Company today is world renowned, with shops all around the globe as well as a number of restaurants and bars in Bangkok. The silk is of the highest quality and there is a demonstration loom, while visitors learn the basics on a tour of the house. The all-teak building is well constructed using traditional jointing methods.
The site features several separate, recycled Ayutthaya-style houses on the grounds, which were brought down from the ancient Thai capital. The main house is Bang Krua style weaver’s house from a local Bangkok Muslim community. Thompson was an avid collector and the artwork here is a draw in itself, with relics from around the region, including from Myanmar, Cambodia and China. A centuries old Buddha image in the garden is a talking point.
The house is surrounded by leafy gardens far removed from the bustle of nearby Siam Square, its malls and Skytrain. It resides in a quiet corner on the banks of the the Saen Saeb Canal and was typical of a wealthy Thai family of the day. Also on site are a Thai restaurant and a pretty gift shop with stunning silk items and keepsakes. The shop also sells maps from the 20th century.
The only way to visit Jim Thompson’s House is on a tour, which is best pre-booked to avoid long lines and annoying touts, seeing as the house is one of inner Bangkok’s main sights. We can organise a Jim Thompson Tour for you individually or as part of your holiday package, which may also include hotels and city transport. People who book a Jim Thompson Tour might also be interested in a visit to the Grand Palace, or indeed a day out at a nearby spa.