Bangkok

A perfect day in Bangkok – third stop

2 pm – 4 pm: Jim Thompson House. Where east meets west. We started early this morning in the Lumpini Park. Then we went to the mighty and dirty Chao Praya river, had lunch by the pier, and now there is time for something else, a house or rather a mansion, in the centre of Bangkok. It was a rainy day when I first came there, and I will never forget it. Everything about this house was fascinating, the rooms, architecture, garden and of course the mystery connected to the owner, an american who just disappeared one day in 1967.

jim thompson 3

Jim Thompson House is a complex of various old Thai structures that the American businessman Jim Thompson (pictured above) collected from all parts of Thailand in the 1950s and 60s.
As Thompson was building his silk company, he also became a major collector of Southeast Asian art, which at the time was not well known internationally. In 1958 he started to build his mansion. It was supposed to be both a private home and a museum for his art collection. Formed from parts of six antique Thai houses, his home was completed in 1959.

Jim Thompson (born 1906, disappeared 1967) was an American businessman who helped revitalize the Thai silk industry in the 1950s and 1960s. At the time of his disappearance he was the most famous American living in Asia. Time magazine claimed that he «almost singlehanded saved Thailand’s vital silk industry from extinction». (wikipedia)

East is east an west is west, and never the twain shall meet, wrote Rudyard Kipling. Jim Thompson House is a proof of the opposite.

The myths and mysteries connected to Jim Thompson fate (he had a background in the army during the war, and also in the intelligence after the war) add of course to the fascination when you visit his home. Why did he disappear? Was he murdered? And if he was murdered, why? And by whom? But first of all his mansion speaks for itself. The contrasts are immense, a dynamic american businessman surrounded with ancient south-east asian culture. East is east an west is west, and never the twain shall meet, wrote Rudyard Kipling. Jim Thompson House is a proof of the opposite.

Jim Thompson House 1

jim thompson 2

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