It’s funny nowadays how many attractions become ‘popular’ just by being listed and reviewed on Tripadvisor. If you go to Tripadvisor and see the top sights and landmarks of Bangkok, Jim Thompson House will figure at number 5, right after the Grand Palace and the riverside temples like Wat Pho. I have never been convinced but still had to cover Jim Thompson House at least for the sake of this blog. Therefore, after my one dozen trips to Bangkok, I decided to go see what Jim Thompson House was all about. As the name suggests, the house was built by James Harrison Wilson Thompson, an American born in 1906 who later decided to settle in Thailand and founded the Jim Thompson Thai Silk Company. The house was his residence that was built in the traditional Thai style using a lot of teak wood. Construction of the house was completed in 1959 and Jim Thompson lived there until 1967 when he suddenly disappeared in 1967 during a holiday trip in Malaysia. Presently the house is a sort of a museum which is nothing but a former residence with some old furniture intact, surrounded by a compound with a lot of greenery. There are a gift shop and a restaurant too on the premises. The house is open for visitors every day from 9.00am to 6.00pm. The restaurant opens from 10.00am to 5.00pm for lunch and 6.00pm to 10.00pm for dinner. An entry fee of 200 THB has to be paid (credit cards accepted) for seeing the museum but I guess one will be able to access the restaurant without paying the entry fee.
Visitors are taken to the museum, barefoot, in groups led by official guides. A new tour starts every 30 minutes during the day and your entry ticket will have the tour timing written on it. Visitors are free to walk around and take pictures in the open areas before and after the guided tour. That means one can remain on the premises for as long as desired.
The Guided Tour
The guided tour starts with a small background story of the house and its former occupant. Then the visitors are asked to deposit their shoes and cameras at the designated counter and are led up the house. There are a few rooms and a few exhibits but the guide is not able to say much about them. Apparently, there is not much to say. Surprisingly, the guide in my tour spent a lot of time talking about some emergency crap-pots kept in the rooms. I was already eager to climb down and put my shoes back on.
The Silk Exhibit
This real exhibit of boiling cocoons of silkworms (with the actual insect boiling inside) and the silk being extracted was an eye-catcher.
Getting To Jim Thompson House
One needs to get down from the National Stadium BTS Station Exit Number 1 and look for Soi Kasem San 2. The house is inside the soi, about 200 meters. There is a free tuk-tuk service to ferry visitors to and from the main road.
I guess it would be OK to go to Jim Thompson House if one is in the area and has nothing else to do but it will help to keep one’s expectations low. It is just a Thai house converted to a public place after the disappearance of the owner. The entry fee of 200 THB (100 THB for age under 22, children under 10 go free) seemed a little too much to me. Official website: http://www.jimthompsonhouse.com/index.asp