When I first read about the Jim Thompson House in our Lonely Planet guidebook, I thought that the kind words used to describe the House must be exaggerated. I expected the place to be touristy and tacky. Nevertheless, I was intrigued by the story of the remarkable man and marked it in the schedule for our second day in Bangkok. As we walked into the lush gardens of the House, I realized how wrong I was. The Jim Thompson House was really way beyond my expectation.
The view from the Art Gallery
Jim Thompson was an American architect who was enlisted in the army during the 2nd World War. He arrived in Thailand in 1945 and immediately fell in love with the people, culture, art, handicraft and everything else that was Thailand. So much so that when the war ended, he decided to permanently stay in Bangkok. He built his home, incorporating European elements into the traditional Thai Teak House. Jim Thompson loved Thai Silk and made it world-famous especially after demand for it expanded following the extensive use of the material in the stage and film version of "The King & I". Sometime in 1967, Jim Thompson mysteriously disappeared whilst on a holiday with friends in Cameron Highlands. His body was never found. His home is now a museum kept in memory of the man who loved Thailand so passionately.
Tea at the Terrace
It is difficult to describe the House in a single word. When something is created from the heart, with so much thought and love, the result is just too special for words. The Jim Thompson House is an experience of a man's life journey. It is truly beautiful and serene, in stark contrast to the ultra modern, cold metal structures that is Bangkok surrounding this sanctuary. The ambience of the whole area is one of warmth, peace and tranquility. The Main House is so graceful and elegant, with carefully selected ancient ornaments displayed thoughtfully on the walls and corners. When I looked out the window of his study, I could see why he made Thailand his home. The view of the tropical garden was breathtaking! Heliconias and orchids were flowering everywhere. Pink and white Lotus floated in huge ceramic vases at every nook and cranny.
Gorgeous Lotus everywhere
The pond adjacent to the terrace is home to
a giant stingray which delighted the boys!
Under the Main House
Kids waiting to go :-)
Wish I could take the Orchids home
Hakim wondering why the heliconias
were much bigger than ours at home
There is a gift shop at the entrance, quite unlike the usual touristy ones that you would expect of Bangkok. I fell in love with almost half of the stuffs there instantly but unfortunately most of them were pricey. I bought a few cards and notebooks and they were all carefully wrapped by the cashier in classy gift envelopes, complete with gold stickers! In case you miss it, there is another Jim Thompson boutique at the airport & the prices are 15% cheaper. Don't miss that one :-)
For me, the Jim Thompson House was the highlight of our trip. If not for the kids (who couldn't really see why the House was so interesting apart from the giant stingray), I would have begged AZ to stay there longer and would have had tea and scones at the terrace.
This place is a must if you are ever in Bangkok (^_^)