Jim Thompson House in Bangkok
Museum & Art Centre in Siam
Jim Thompson House is the former home of the late James H.W. Thompson, an American businessman who dedicated over 30 years of his life to reviving Thai silk in the 1950s. The lovely garden-enclosed compound sits on the bank of the Saen Saeb Canal and houses 6 traditional Thai teakwood houses transported from Ayutthaya and Ban Krua Silk Village. It’s a museum and art centre showcasing Thompson’s collection of Asian antiques and Thai silk.
Highlights of Jim Thompson House in Bangkok
Jim Thompson House in Bangkok embodies Jim Thompson’s life-long passion and whimsical design choices. The house’s inconspicuous façade belies a tastefully decked entry foyer, an unconventional architectural feature in traditional Thai houses.
A clever lighting arrangement draws your eyes to 2 wall niches displaying a 17th-century standing Buddha and a hand-carved wooden figurine. High above your head, a Belgian chandelier hangs from the ceiling, while Italian marble tiles cover the floor, punctuating heavy wood accents on the walls and indoors staircase.
Head upstairs to find a series of decorative wall hangings that Jim Thompson acquired from various Buddhist temples. These tell stories of the Buddha’s previous and present lives, as well as his spiritual journey towards enlightenment. You’ll also find a solemn sandstone Buddha image guarding the entry to the Thai kitchen, which displays Jim Thompson’s collection of exquisite Benjarong porcelainware.
The dining room occupies a 19th-century teakwood villa, which Thompson transported from Ayutthaya. There’s a dining table fashioned from 2 Chinese mahjong tables, with a blue-and-white porcelain set laid out as if dinner is about to be served.
With a 4-metre-high ceiling and 1 open-sided wall, Jim Thompson House’s living room overlooks the Saen Saeb Canal. The living room is constructed from a 100-year-old wooden house that once belonged to the Ban Krua Muslim community, who were the first weavers of the Jim Thompson silk brand. Look out for 4 display niches displaying wooden sculptures of nats (Burmese guardian spirits).
How to get to Jim Thompson House in Bangkok
Jim Thompson House is located in Siam, though it’s closest to the National Stadium BTS Skytrain Station. Once you disembark from the train, take Exit 1 and turn right into Soi Kasemsan 2. Continue walking to the very end of the road, and the museum will be on your left-hand side.
Open: Daily from 9am to 6pm
Rama 1 Road