Tie a thai

I first encountered the name Jim Thompson while holidaying in Thailand over a decade ago – I vividly recall the exquisite silk interior furnishings, a riot of iridescent shimmering hues, while visiting his sumptuous teak mansion in the heart of Bangkok, wishing for all the world I owned it and all the priceless artifacts contained within! I settled for a cushion cover, but the name, and particularly the story behind it, has intrigued me ever since.

An American entrepreneur with an infatuation of South East Asia, the former architect, hotel owner (he once had a stake in The Oriental Hotel, colonial jewel on the banks of the mighty Chao Phraya river), army officer and one time spy settled in the Thai capital after military service where he lived happily for 25 years. In this time he had amassed an unrivalled collection of antiques and fine art, intent on preserving Thai treasures for future generations. 

In 1967, while on holiday in the Cameron Highlands in neighbouring Malaysia, he mysteriously went missing while taking an afternoon stroll, never to be found. Despite the biggest land and sea search ever witnessed in Malaysian history, it appears he simply vanished without trace in the jungle.

His legacy – he was responsible for virtually single-handedly reviving an ailing Thai silk industry in the 50s and 60s affording him worldwide recognition, lives on in the Jim Thompson Museum. He became one of the best known farangs (foreigners) in the Far East, bestowed with the prestigious Order of the White Elephant, a decoration awarded to foreigners for having rendered exceptional service to Thailand. 

On my most recent visit over Christmas and New Year I fell in love with the gentlemen’s silk accessories the company now offers in-store.

“Sadly there is no online store as yet to purchase from abroad, but if you ever find yourself in Bangkok seek out some of the best value silk ties on the market (think Hermès but a quarter of the price) and pocket squares at (I’m almost too embarrassed to write) 275 Baht (£5.50) – an absolute steal.”


Jim Thompson House (Museum and Shop)
Thanon Rama I, แขวง วังใหม่ เขต ปทุมวัน Bangkok 10400, Thailand
Tel: +66 2 216 7368
Open: Daily 09:00-17:00

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