After our canal ride in Bangkok we didn’t really have a plan for what we would do next. We had quick walk through Patpong Road famous for it’s nightlife, which was very quiet during the day. A little further up the road we sat down on some steps to rest and look at our map again. It just so happened we were right outside the Jim Thompson Store. (The third floor of the store pictured above.) I couldn’t resist going inside after seeing the beautiful silk pillows and scarves displayed in the window. Browsing through this gorgeous and inspiring store I picked up a map to visit the Jim Thompson House, which is now a museum in another part of Bangkok. We had read about the Jim Thompson House but not sure why we didn’t plan to go there. A visit in the store had changed that and we set off to find our way there.
It was a bit of a hike on foot, in fact these well worn shoes of John’s had had enough. I didn’t cry that they had met their end (ha, ha.) it was pretty funny at the time and one of those things you definitely remember later on. There was still enough shoe left so we kept on going.
As we are known to do accidentally and on purpose sometimes, we missed a turn. We ended up going past the house and over the canal. We found ourselves in a maze of narrow streets where the silk workers used to live.
It was very interesting seeing the local way of life and some of the delicious-looking food offered for sale on the tables of the confined streets. I was beginning to wonder if we were going to find our way out of the complex, but alas we did.
We could see the house across the canal and finally made our way there. (Below looking back at where we had just been.)
I had read that the house was a tranquil oasis in the middle of busy Bangkok, but was not convinced until we experienced it for ourselves. It really was a quiet, restful area and we were glad our wanderings brought us here. Below is the entrance to the Jim Thompson House. It is a complex of various old Thai structures that the American businessman Jim Thompson collected from all parts of Thailand in the 1950’s and 1960’s.
This lovely gal was demonstrating silk weaving and later shared her graceful Thai dancing with us.
There was a timed entry system to tour the house with a well informed guide. We waited in the courtyard for our time.
The Jim Thompson house is the home of James H. W Thompson a self made American entrepreneur who was the founder of the world renowned Jim Thompson Thai Silk Company. Thompson’s achievements during his 25 year stay in the Kingdom of Thailand have won him much fame as the “Legendary American of Thailand.” If you are interested you can read more about this interesting man and the museum on their website here.
Pictured below looking at the open air drawing room from the rear courtyard. Mr. Thompson was also an avid collector of art and antiques throughout Asia. He was a popular host and entertained many people at his home. It was a very informative tour with tales of his home and life and how he revived the silk industry in Thailand after WW 2. What he accomplished and his legacy were fascinating stories to hear as well as inspiring. Sadly adding to his story and to the intrique is the fact that he mysteriously disappeared while in the Cameron Highlands with friends in 1967. An extensive and extended search failed to reveal any clues about his disappearance.
Figures in the spirit house on the property.
We were one of the last ones to take the tour for the day. We decided to stay and have dinner at the on site restaurant which we thoroughly enjoyed.
Back near our hotel and the street markets were still in progress.
A long day and time for some rest. Sometimes days without a plan turn out to be the best. Dreaming of the gorgeous silk fabric now and happy to recommend visiting the Jim Thompson House. Put it on your agenda if you ever go to Bangkok.