Friday, 10 December 2010

Jim Thompson’s House

Jim Thompson’s House is a collection of traditional Thai style houses that were transported from various parts of the country and reassembled. They are interconnected and these days are a museum to his life and also Thai culture and artefacts.

Jim Thompson himself is the man credited with reviving the Thai silk industry. He disappeared one day while walking in the Cameron Highlands, Malaysia and was never heard from again, presumed dead. His family gave the house to the Thai Fine Arts department who converted it into a museum.

I was surprised how peaceful it is here, given its central Bangkok location. It is at the end of Soi Kasem San 2, just off the main Rama I - Phaya Thai intersection and a stones throw from National Stadium skytrain station.

You have to join a guided tour, available in several languages. This makes for a nice, cool and relaxing way to spend a couple of hours. You take a tour around the house, with the usual roped off walkways ensuring you can’t touch anything. The tour ends in the shop (as they usually do!) which sells some very nice, but very expensive silk related products.

This is one of the top sights in Bangkok, for a window into traditional Thai architecture and way of life. But at the same time it isn’t too crowded (at least not when I went!) and is an ideal tonic to the general craziness of Bangkok.

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