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The Road Less Traveled

27 October; The Jim Thompson Experience

THAILAND | Friday, 27 October 2017 | Views [393]

Beautiful Silk Threads at the Jim Thompson House

Beautiful Silk Threads at the Jim Thompson House

The highlight of today was touring the home of the famous Jim Thompson in Bangkok.  While I have spent a lot of time in Bangkok, I have always wanted to come here, but never had the time.

Mr. Thompson’s story is a very interesting and lengthy tale. So, I'll offer a summary.  Jim Thompson was an officer in the Office of Strategic Services – which is the predecessor of the CIA and the U.S. Special Operations Command.  Mr. Thompson joined the OSS as WWII was ending, but was posted in Bangkok to monitor developments in SE Asia. His love for Thailand grew. Through his efforts, the Thai silk industry flourished globally. Mr. Thompson assembled a beautiful home from historic timbers and filled it with some of the best artwork from SE Asia. In 1967, while staying with friends in the Cameron Highlands of Malaysia, Jim Thompson went for a walk in the wilderness. He never came back. There was no trace of him. There was no evidence of a struggle, tiger attack, or anything. Gone. To this day, it is an unsolved mystery. Tour guides to the home never refer to Mr. Thompson's "death," only his "disappearance." His home became part of a foundation that exists today in Thailand and operates a museum and tribute to Mr. Thompson. It’s hard to tell his story in a few paragraphs. Therefore, I highly recommend the book, “The Ideal Man,” by Joshua Kurlantzick if you are ever looking for a solid book to read on Mr. Thompson’s life, his revival of the Thai silk industry, and the mystery around his disappearance.

In the afternoon, we rode went back to our favorite food court at Siam Center and got a snack. Later, we walked Sukhimvit road extensively and found a place to have dinner in the evening.  We hung out for a happy hour in the room together and then headed out to dinner.  We found our way to Via Vai Italian Restaurant on Sukhumvit Soi 8. However, we decided to have Thai food there. It was really delicious. The steamed white snapper with lime sauce was incredible. The Penang curry was great too. There were many people enjoying Italian, so we may have to try this again at another time for that fare.

All in all, a real solid day in Bangkok as we get ready for the next stop….. Karon Beach in Phuket.

Tags: bangkok, jim thompson, via vai

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