Jim Thompson House


Jim Thompson Thailand House

James Harrison Wilson Thompson volunteered his services to the United States Army.  As a result, during World War II he was assigned to the OSS (Office of Strategic Services) of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).  It was an offer he could not refuse because it gave him the chance to see more of the world.  As a preparation for his mission, he underwent jungle survival training.  However, the war has ended so soon that he soon find out that he and his OSS men were on their way to Bangkok.  Later on he became the OSS Chief and was given instructions to go back to the United States.

Thompson realize that since the war had ended there were more opportunities for foreigners to travel to the Far East, in particular to Thailand which whom he had grown fond of.  During that time only a few hotels in Bangkok were up to the international standards.  It was only the Old Oriental Palace which overlooked the Chao Phraya River that could be considered as a good place for visitors to stay while in Bangkok.  Famous people like Charlie Chaplin were among its earliest patrons.  Thompson was excited about the prospects of bringing this old place back to life.

Jim Thompson had also dabbled into getting to know more about the other means of livelihood in Thailand.  He focused next on the manufacturing of Thai silk.  He decided to revive this old art.  He also build a house that gained popularity because of its exquisite beauty.  The house was formed by six traditional Thai style houses which have the prominent curved Thai roof ends.  The curved roof arches point towards the sky and have religious significance in Thai culture.  There is a practical aspect to its design too since it makes the air cooler inside the house.

It was surrounded by a backdrop of beautiful jungle foliage which can be seen from the house.  The house covers a half acre of land with luscious landscapes and vistas that surround it.  Thompson loved the jungle in the city theme.  This land was formerly a part of the Thai Summer Palace compound.  Thai law dictates that a foreigner can own no more than half acre of land for residential purpose as long as Thai citizens will approve.  Since by this time he has been acknowledge as Thai’s adoptive son therefore it was easy to grant him permission to build his home in the location that he choose.  It stands as a testament to his love for his adoptive country.

He was given credit as the Legendary American of Thailand because of his achievements while he lived in Thailand for 25 years.  Thompson met his demise while on Holiday in a northern Malaysian resort.  Right now the Thai court has appointed an administrator to take care of Jim Thompson’s property.  A foundation that bears his name was then built.  His house is now a Thai museum worthy of a tourist visit.  Looking at the house and its surroundings it is not hard to guess why Thompson had found his home among the Thai people.