The Five Star Vagabond

Super travel tips, all road tested by David Herd. I'm an Australian guy who moved to Thailand in 2011 & still travel the world as often as possible.

Jim Thompson House Bangkok Museum

December 13, 2013 by David Herd

Jim Thompson House Bangkok Museum

Jim Thompson House Bangkok Museum

Jim Thompson House Bangkok Museum showing traditional Thai architecture combined with Western influences.   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.  

Jim Thompson House is a museum in Bangkok. It is a complex of various old Thai structures that the American businessman Jim Thompson collected in from all parts of Thailand in the 1950s and 60s.

Popular Thailand tourist destination.

Jim Thompson Bangkok Museum

Jim Thompson, an American businessman was perhaps ‘the best known foreigner in Bangkok, and possibly in Southeast Asia’. “In the twenty years before his ill-fated holiday in Malaysia, he had accomplished more than most men in a full life. He had built a major industry in a remote and little known country whose language he could not speak; he had become an authority on an art that, previously, he scarcely knew existed and had assembled a collection that attracted scholars from all over the world; he had built a home that was a work of art in itself and one of the landmarks of Bangkok; and, in the process of doing all this, he had become a sort of landmark himself, a personality so widely known in his adopted homeland that a letter addressed simply ‘Jim Thompson, Bangkok’ found its way to him in a city of three and a half million people.”

Living Room

Jim Thompson House Bangkok Museum

In 1958 this American businessman began what was to be the pinnacle of his architectural achievement, a new home to showcase his art collection. Formed from parts of six antique Thai houses, his home (completed in 1959) sits on a klong (canal) across from Bangkrua, where his weavers were then located. Most of the 19th-century houses were dismantled and moved from Ayutthaya, but the largest – a weaver’s house (now the living room) – came from Bangkuar.

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Silk Loom at Jim Thompson House.

Thailand tourist destinationWith his natural flair for design and colour, and driven by his single-minded dedication to reviving the craft, Thompson soon gained worldwide recognition for his success in rebuilding the silk industry in Thailand, for generating international demand for Thai silk and for contributing to the growth of the silk industry.

Spooling silk at Jim Thompson House

Jim Thompson House Bangkok Museum

Jim Thompson Bangkok Museum is only about 15 minutes walk from the MBK centre.

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Elevated rooms.

Jim Thompson Bangkok Museum In the hot and humid tropical climate, the airy, open quality of a Thai house and the broad overhangs of its roof protect the interior from both sun and rain. Elevated houses facilitate the circulation of air and offered a more comfortable living space. It was cooler to live in and protected the home from the risk of floods in the monsoon season. It also offered protection from hostile wildlife. The open space beneath the house was versatile. It was used as a living area in the hot season, as storage for the season’s harvest, and as a place to keep livestock.

All visitors have a guide.

Jim Thompson House Bangkok MuseumIt’s such a popular Thailand tourist destination you are not allowed to walk around the property by yourself, you must wait for a guide to take you in groups.

Rice storage.

Jim Thompson House Bangkok MuseumThis separate room was where they stored the rice. It is such a unique property in the heart of Bangkok, you can see why it’s such a popular Thailand tourist destination.

Entertainers at Jim Thompson Bangkok Museum

Jim Thompson House Bangkok Museum

These lads looked terrific in their traditional costumes.

Thai welcome at Jim Thompson House.


Here is a slide show.


Jim Thompson in 1962

Jim Thompson 1962 BKK

A rare old photo of Jim Thompson.

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David Herd Thailand
The best Bangkok budget hotel I have ever stayed in.

Thanks for visiting my Jim Thompson House Bangkok Museum photo blog.

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David Herd Thailand

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