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I almost didn’t visit the Jim Thompson House in Bangkok’s Siam District, assuming that it was going to be just a disappointing tourist trap complete with an inflated entry price – you can only visit the grounds by buying a ticket for the guided tour.
But I’m so glad I did. In fact, it’s now one of the few things I consistently recommend to do in Bangkok and everyone I’ve sent there has been just as impressed as I was with its mix of history, mystery and luxury. If you have any interest in architecture, history or Thai design, you can’t miss it. It’s also a surprisingly affordable stop at just 100 baht (about $3.25) a ticket. Worth it.
Completed in 1959, the project (which is now entirely a museum) was the dream home of American expat, Jim Thompson, who almost single handedly revived the Thai silk weaving practices and turned them into a global business. After growing his company in Bangkok, the former architect brought in five traditional, teak wooden houses from different parts of Thailand and connected them together with few modifications.
The massive home is filled with antiques, art and furniture with silk details…and. is. GORGEOUS. You shuffle through the house barefoot and can’t help but notice the smooth, cool feel of the marble and teak floors as the soft-spoken guides explain the meaning of why the house is shaped the way it is (doorways have a raised block at the bottom keep babies in and ghosts out, naturally), where all the art pieces have come from and details about Thompson’s unusual life – he mysteriously disappeared in Malaysia’s Cameron Highlands in 1967.
Jim Thompson’s House is situated on a quiet soi (street) minutes away from Siam Square, and opposite from the National Stadium BTS station, on Kasemsan Soi 2 . Tours (around 45 minutes) run from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. everyday and cost 100 baht ($3.25). There’s also a restaurant and gift shop onsite.
Visit the house when you’re in the center of town checking out the large shopping centers and art museum. There’s also a fun hostel just around the corner, Lub d, that’s more like a boutique hotel than hostel, if you want to stay in the main commercial area of the city and not on Khao San Road.
Have you been to the Jim Thompson House? What did you think?
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