The first place I went to see in Bangkok was the Jim Thompson House & Museum. I took a bus going here and walked a small distance from the main road. The entrance fee is 150 Baht for Adults and 100 Baht for those under 22 years old. After I got my ticket, I went straight to the information desk where they asked me if I would like to join the tour and which language I prefer. I said "Yes and English". After a few minutes, those who were joining the English tour were gathered. We then headed to the storage area to deposit our things that include my camera and go pro. Picture taken inside the house wasn't allowed. We also left our footwear as well.
I was pretty much excited when the tour began. I have this question running in my mind for quite a while now. "Who was this JIM THOMPSON?" I was about to find out and this young lady told us all about him and how this place came to be.
Jim Thompson was an American architect, who joined the U.S. Army during World War II. He was sent to Bangkok a short time later after the war ended. That was when he fell in love with Thailand. After leaving the Army, he came back and lived in Bangkok permanently.
This dude is, in fact, famous for two reasons. One was that he help revived the Silk Industry during the 1950's and 1960's. Thus he was named as the "Thai Silk King". Because of this, he helped Thailand's economy flourished. The second was the unique construction of his house which we are going to dip deep a little bit.
Jim Thompson's House is a combination of smaller "teak houses" or wood houses which shows the traditional Thai architecture. These teak houses as explained by our tour guide were about two centuries old. That is the reason why going around the house takes precaution. Most were individually brought from far off places, one from the old capital of Ayudhya.
As you can see, the houses are elevated a full story above the ground. This is a typical Thai design to avoid flooding during rainy season. The roof tiles used were fired from Ayudhya - a design rarely used today. The red painting on the exterior walls is a preservative used on many old Thai Buildings. There was some art collection displayed on the lower part of the house that we were allowed to take photos.
As I entered this unique house, I was drawn immediately to the art collections displayed all over the place. Too bad I can't show you some photos. But there were different types of art that can be seen inside. the floor on the ground floor was made of black and white tiles. There were Buddha statues as well. Beautiful paintings hanged on the wall as you climbed on the wooden stairs. The dining area was charming with the matching chandelier. I felt like I time traveled to the 1950's. Some of the house pieces of furniture were also preserved up to this time. There were notable pieces of beautiful art
Being a Civil Engineer, I admired how the wood was connected with each other without the use of nails. The walls were also inclined to the center. The doors were shaped in a trapezoidal shape leaning towards each other. It was fun to see such Thai architecture and culture incorporated in the design.
Outside the house, I was like walking around a mini jungle. Tall plants were all over the place. There was just peace and serenity surrounding the place. There was a small pond, a spirit house and other small houses where art pieces were stored.
By the time our tour ended, I decided to head out to the other small houses in the courtyard to see the remaining works of art. There were more about the Silk making craft, some were clay statues, ceramic plates and other artifacts that dated ages ago.
The house and the art collection soon became open to the public and the proceeds were donated to Thai charities and projects tht preserve Thailand's rich cultural heritage.
I'd say this place is remarkable. Besides the house itself, the art collection inside, the reviving of the Silk making industry. It was the man behind all of this - the legacy he established. This place is worth visiting indeed.
So if you want to get away from the bustling city of Bangkok for a while and time travel for a short time, then head over to Jim Thompson's House & Museum! I'm pretty sure you will find it very interesting! The garden will give you the relaxation you need. There is a restaurant inside and a souvenir shop as well. Also when visiting, please give some respect. If they say, you are not allowed to take photos, then don't. A female traveler who was with my group tour had to be told a couple of times to keep her phone and it was really annoying.
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