Tips and What to Expect:
- In most significant rooms, where art pieces date close to a millennium, no photos are allowed.
- Foot wears are not allowed. There are dedicated shoe cabinets secured by locks given to tourists before the start of the tour
- Entrance fee is THB150 only and purchasing it from the house museum itself is no sweat.
- Accessbile throught he MRT but you have to walk some 100 meters more. Unless you are armed with a map or are travelling in group (unlike me) best if you take the more expensive Grab or Uber.
- Be aware of the Tuk Tuk Scam. Read about it here on my previous blog post.
- Try the restaurant! C’mon, you’re already there. The customer service and the food is worth every baht.
- If money is not an issue, a genuine silk scarf or any silk item, I should say is the one must-have souvenir from Jim Thompson House or from Bangkok itself. Prepare THB3500-5,000.
From the flyer attached to the receipt of the entrance fee, one can find the following bits of history:
You are now in the Thai home of Jim Thompson, an American who was born in Greenville, Delaware, in 1906. A practicing architect prior to World War II, he volunteered for service in the U.S. Army, campaigned in Europe and was later sent to Asia. However, the war ended before he saw action. He was sent to Bangkok a short time later as a military officer and fell in love with Thailand. After leaving the service, he decided to return and live here permanently.
The hand weaving of silk, a long-neglected cottage industry, captured Jim Thompson’s attention, and he devoted himself to reviving the craft. Highly gifted a s designer and textile colorist, he contributed substantially to the industry’s growth an dot the worldwide recognition accorded to Thai silk.
He gained further renown through the construction of this house combining six teak buildings, which represented the best in traditional Thai architecture. Most of the houses were at least two centuries old and were easily dismantled and brought to the present site, some from as far away as the old capital of Ayudhya.
In his quest for authenticity, Jim Thompson adhered to the customs of the early builders in most respects. The houses were elevated a full story above the ground a practical Thai precaution to avoid flooding during the rainy season. The roof tiles were fired in Ayudhya employing a design common centuries ago but rarely used today. The red paint on the outside walls is a preservative often found on many Thai buildings. The chandeliers were in the concession to modern convenience, but even they belong to a past era, having come from 18th and 19th century Bangkok palaces.
All the traditional religious rituals were followed during construction of the house, and on the spring day on 1959, decreed as being auspicious by astrologers, Jim Thompson moved in The house and the art collection soon became such a point of interest that he decided to open his home to the public with proceeds donated to Thai charities and to projects directed to the preservation of Thailand’s rich cultural heritage.
On march 26th 1967, Jim Thompson disappeared while visiting to the Cameron highlands on Malaysia. Not a single valid clue has turned up in the ensuing years as to what might have happened to him. His famous Thai house, however, remaining as a lasting reminder of his creative ability and his deep love of Thailand.
In 1976, the Thai court appointed administrator of the property of Jim Thompson received permission from government ministries of the Kingdom of Thailand to legally established the James H,W. Thompson foundation.
By virtue of its presence and the dictates of this charter, the foundation is committed to the preservation of Thailand rich artistic and cultural heritage. The foundation supports a wide variety of research, publication and seminar projects in furtherance of this aim.