Friday, December 23, 2005

Jim Thompson House, Bangkok

The Jim Thompson HouseWellcome to Jim Thompson House at Bangkok, Thailand, Jim Thompson House is ancient Thai House. After leaving the service, he decided to return and live in Thailand 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 as a designer and textile colorist, he Stairwaycontributed substantially to the industry's growth and to the worldwide recognition accorded to Thai silk.

Life and Legend of Jim Thompson

Jim Thompson or James Harrison Wilson Thompson was born in Greenville, Delaware in 1906. He attended public schools in Wilmington, went on to boarding school at St. Paul's and attended Princeton University, the family university, from 1924 to 1928. Although Thompson had a keen interest in art, he chose to become an architect and went on to study architecture at the University of Pennsylvania. He was a practicing architect in New York City until 1940. With the escalation of the war in Europe in the early 1940s, Thompson volunteered for service in the United States Army, an important turning point in his life. During the Second World War, Thompson was assigned to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), a move which offered him an opportunity to see more of the world. Thompson as a member of an OSS group was assigned to work with French forces in North Africa. His assignments also took him into Italy, France and Asia. To prepare for his mission, Thompson undertook rigorous training in jungle survival. He completed the course successfully. However the war ended abruptly as Thompson and the other OSS men were en route to Bangkok. A few weeks later, he assumed the duties of OSS station chief. In late 1946, he received orders to return to the States to receive his military discharge. Thompson was confident that with peace restored and the expansion of air travel, there would be a significant increase in leisure travel to the Far East. Upon their arrival in the capital, these travelers would need acceptable accommodation. Few hotels in Bangkok could then even be considered of international standard. Only one had an ideal location -- the old Oriental, a former palace overlooking the Chao Phraya River that flowed through the capital. Noel Coward It was a meeting place for travelers and a social center for the foreign community. Charlie Chaplin, Noel Coward and Somerset Maugham were just a few of its famous patrons. Excited by the prospects presented, Thompson became actively involved in the reorganization of the Oriental Hotel. By this time, Thompson had developed a certain fondness for the country and its people. He began to seriously contemplate settling down and going into business in Thailand. He foresaw a promising future for the country and wanted to be a part of this process. He decided that upon leaving the service, he would return and take up residence in Thailand permanently.

JIM THOMPSON THAI HOUSE

The Jim Thompson House is the home of James H.W. Thompson, a self-made American entrepreneur who was the founder of the world renowned Jim Thompson Thai Silk Company. Thompson's achievements during his 25 year stay in the Kingdom of Thailand have won him much fame as the "Legendary American of Thailand". For his contribution to the development of the Thai Silk industry, Jim Thompson was awarded the Order of the White Elephant, a decoration bestowed upon foreigners for having rendered exceptional service to Thailand. Thompson's success story in Thailand has become one of the most popular postwar legends of Asia. In 1967, Jim Thompson went on holiday with friends to the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia. There he set out for a walk in the surrounding jungle but never returned. Thus began the Jim Thompson legend. Since his disappearance in 1967, little has changed in the home that was the 'talk of the town' and the 'city's most celebrated social center'. Even today, the charming Thai style house continues to be a key stop for visitors to Bangkok.

Visitor Information

The Jim Thompson House is located on Soi Kasemsan (2) Song, opposite the National Stadium on Rama I Rd. Opening Hours : 09:00 to 17:00 everyday with the last Guided Tour at 16:30* Getting to the Jim Thompson House : Located in the center of Bangkok, it is conveniently reached by car, taxi, Tuk tuk, or the Sky Train (Bangkok Transit System). Admission : Adult 100 baht; Students 50 baht * Compulsory guided tours around the house.

Contact information:

Jim Thompson House 6 Soi Kasemsan 2, Rama 1 Road, Bangkok Tel: (662) 216-7368 Fax: (662) 612-3744

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1 Comments:

At 2:08 AM, Blogger Shawn T Lippert said...

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