The Jim Thompson House

Compared to other fantastic destinations in Bangkok such as The Grand Palace, Wat Pho, and Wat Traimit; the Jim Thompson House seems to be a little less perfect. However, visitors will never have to regret coming here because of its unique and precious historical value. 

The Jim Thompson House is a delightful Thai-style house with a charming garden. Thanks to the rare antiques and arts that filled up in the house, strolling around the house and garden will give you a glimpse into Thailand’s past.

The king of Thai silk Jim Thompson


Behind Jim Thompson is a fascinating story! Jim Harrison Wilson Thompson was born to successful American parents, in Delaware, in 1906. At the age of 22, he graduated from Princeton University with a degree in architecture and became a successful architect, before deciding to enlist in the army in 1941.

During his time in the army, he was recruited by the OSS, (Office of Strategic Services) which is the forerunner of the CIA. Afterward, he had to go to many places around the world to accomplish his missions. Moving to Sri Lanka, he worked on his mission to help liberate Thailand from the occupying Japanese Army. 

Eventually, after the liberation of Thailand and the end of the Second World War, Jim made his way to Thailand in 1945. Working here, he found opportunities to set up a business in this amazing country. 

So when his military service was over, he came back to Thailand, planning to invest in the hotel business. But after a disagreement among the group of investors, Jim decided to give up his shares in the company and follow his interest in Thai silk. 

Together with his good friend, George Barrie, he founded the Thai Silk Company Limited in 1948. His business thrived and became an international hit when his creations were used in New York.


At that time, Jim helped thousands of poor Thai people out of poverty by giving them occupation. He was very clever as he allowed the women in the countryside of Thailand to weave silk at home. That way, without having to move to Bangkok, they could be a housewife but also have an income. 

Mysteriously, on Sunday, March 26th, 1967, while being on holiday in the Highlands of Malaysia with friends, Jim Thompson goes for a walk after lunch and never returns. 

The Jim Thompson House

Jim Thompson built his house in 1958-59 on a plot of land across the canal, from the Bahn Krua silk weaving community. As an ex-architect and an antique lover, he didn’t want to build a normal house to live in. Therefore, he came up with the idea of an old traditional antique wooden Thai house, using parts of old houses found up north. 


He then gathered six old teak buildings from various places in Thailand, some from the ancient capital of Thailand – Ayutthaya. All of the houses had the traditional Thai architecture style and had been constructed for at least two centuries. 

The six houses were dismantled and transferred to Bangkok on the canal. Arrived at its destination, the pieces were assembled and became Jim Thompson House. It only took 7 months for the construction of the house to be completed. 

During the construction of this architectural masterpiece, Jim also contributed his creations and ideas. For instance, he put a central staircase indoors rather than outside, which is more common in old Thai houses. He also used different objects that he had collected over the years as decoration in the house. As his plan, the Jim Thompson House was painted “barn red”, except for some walls inside which were generally left unpainted, or sometimes oiled. 


Jim Thompson House was a harmonious blend of traditional Thai culture, combined with some Western characteristics. The house is now open to the public for tours and visits thanks to the family of Jim Thompson who donated it very generously, as it is an important historic symbol of Bangkok.

Visitor information

Opening hours: Every day from 10.00 AM to 6.00 PM, the last guided tour start at 5.00 PM.

Entrance ticket: 

Adult: 200 baht for each person.

Visitors under 22 years: 100 baht (ID required) for each person.

Free entry for children under 10 years old when accompanied by an adult.

No reservation required.

How to get there

Located in the center of Bangkok, Jim Thompson House can be reached by car, taxi, tuk-tuk, and the BTS Sky Train(National Stadium station exit no.1)

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