A unique collection of art and textiles housed in a beautifully furnished home in Bangkok pays tribute to US expat Jim Thompson. A Western-influenced, Thai-designed house, home to some of the most exquisite examples of Thai art, offers insight into the unique history of the home, and the beloved local figure who created it.
Jim Thompson was a US-born expatriate who made Thailand home after serving with the US in World War II. He founded the Jim Thompson Thai Silk Company, and contributed to the worldwide recognition of fine Thai silk, but his story is legendary largely due to his peculiar death – he disappeared after a walk in Malaysia’s Cameron Highlands in 1967, never to be seen again.
Thompson’s legacy lives on in a unique museum in central Bangkok. Six complete Thai houses collected from various parts of Thailand during the 1950s and 1960s form a unique complex housing one of the biggest collections of southeast Asian art in Thailand. The focus of the collection is largely on textiles - Thompson devoted much of his life to reviving the craft of Thai hand woven silk, and was himself a highly gifted designer and textile colourist. However there is an exquisite collection of traditional and modern artworks of cloth, paper, wood and ceramics, as well as beautifully designed furniture.
The immense amount of cultural heritage stored in Jim Thompson House is accompanied by Western influence design – Belgian chandeliers hang above Italian marble tiles, creating a unique east-meets-west impression. It’s a unique adaptation of local Thai style to suite the comforts of Western living, giving visitors insight into Thompson’s refined tastes and welcoming personality. The Jim Thompson brand extends to an onsite souvenir boutique, café and restaurant, giving guests more than enough to occupy a few hours on a steamy Bangkok day.
Located in the centre of Bangkok, Jim Thompson House is best accessed by Skytrain – head to National Stadium and walk a couple of blocks down Soi Kasemsan 2 to reach the House.