Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Jim Thompson House, Thai Style - Bangkok - Thailand

Jim Thompson House Bangkok ThailandDespite the name, Jim Thompson's House is one of the best-preserved examples of the traditional Thai house in the city. Once home to the American silk entrepreneur Jim Thompson, this remarkable house-cum-museum accommodates Thompson's vast collection of antiques and artworks from all over the Southeast Asian region. Notable items include priceless examples of blue and white Ming porcelain and 19th century jataka paintings, which cover the walls of the rooms. Don't miss the headless Buddha figure in the garden, which dates from the 6th century. This early Dvaravati image is one of the oldest surviving Buddha statues in the world. Perhaps even more fascinating than the house itself is the tale of the mysterious owner, American Jim Thompson. A former member of the US Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the forerunner of the CIA, Thompson revived the flagging silk weaving industry at the end of the Second World War. His marketing skills helped turn the fortunes of the ailing Thai silk industry around, and Jim Thompson is to this day regarded as the very finest brand of Thai silk. As his business grew, Jim Thompson became a well-known Bangkok socialite, dedicated to reviving Thai crafts and arts. Much of his art collection is still on display at his Ayutthayan house in Bangkok's Rama I Road area. Jim Thompson disappeared under mysterious circumstances whilst on a walk in the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia in 1967. Many theories have been put forward to explain his disappearance but the truth remains a mystery. Suggestions of a conspiracy involving his CIA connections have been proposed in explanation, but so too have jungle tigers, heart attacks and Communist insurgents.Second Floor Jim Thompson House Bangkok Thailand Dinning Jim Thompson House Bangkok Thailand LOCATION: 6 Soi Kasemsan 2, Rama I Road, Bangkok. Tel: 216-7368, 215-0122 GETTING THERE: Jim Thompson's House is at the end of a small lane opposite the National Stadium. You can either get off the sky train at the stadium or nearby Siam Square. OPENING HOURS: Open every day at 9 a.m. The last tour begins at 4.30 p.m. ADMISSION: 100 baht

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