Uncover the story of the legendary “Silk King” of Thailand, Jim Thompson, and discover the rich history of Thai silk.
If you’re looking for a truly unique Thai experience during your next visit to Bangkok, the must-see attraction on your to-do list has to be the Jim Thompson Heritage Quarter. Located in the heart of Bangkok, this Thai landmark offers a rare opportunity to delve into the life of a cultural icon and explore a traditional Thai compound that is hard to find in the bustling metropolis.
Wander the old teak houses to discover an extensive collection of unique Asian art and antiques. Take a guided tour to learn the fascinating stories behind the artworks then explore the captivating exhibitions that tell the story of the “Silk King”. It’s the perfect place to indulge your passion for fashion and see a wealth of Thai treasures.
A must-see attraction in Bangkok
The newly revamped Jim Thompson Heritage Quarter is a must-see for anyone looking to connect with Thai culture and shop for authentic Thai silk. At the heart of the quarter is the original Jim Thompson House Museum, a collection of six traditional teak Thai-style houses that host an array of art and artifacts surrounded by jungle-like gardens right in the heart of Bangkok.
Sitting by the banks of one of Bangkok’s oldest canals, the house offers a glimpse into a bygone era of the Thai capital. It celebrates the vibrant life of Jim Thompson, an American ex-pat famed for reviving the art of silk weaving in Thailand. The original house is nestled bank side opposite the district of Ban Khrua, an area that’s housed the workshops of silk weavers for centuries.
Who is Jim Thompson?
An intelligence officer in the US Army, post-World War II, Jim Thompson became a silk entrepreneur, art collector, and a prominent socialite in Bangkok. His interest in Thai crafts led him to develop close relationships with the silk-weaving community in Ban Krua. It’s here he discovered traditional silk-making techniques that he championed. His love for Thailand extended to Asian art, antiques, and religious statues all of which you can peruse within the Jim Thompson House Museum. In 1967, Thompson mysteriously disappeared in Malaysia’s Cameron Highlands while hiking – and remains one of the most intriguing unsolved cases of all time.
The Jim Thompson exhibitions
‘The Man Himself’ charts the journey of Jim Thompson fabrics from their origins in the Bangkok silk-weaving community on to their global success as one of Thailand’s premier lifestyle brands. On display are vintage Jim Thompson dresses and outfits from the 1960s, old fabric samples, and photographs dating back almost 100 years. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the fashion and style that has stood the test of time.
‘The Evolving World of Jim Thompson Textiles’ exhibition delves deeper into the story of the Thai Silk Company Limited. Highlighting the brilliant minds that have helped to shape the company in more recent years. Delve into the new designs and see how the company has flourished over the past sixty years. It shows how Jim Thompson’s legacy continues to shape the fashion and design world in Thailand and around the world.
The Art Centre, operated by The James H.W. Thompson Foundation, is more than just an exhibition space. It regularly hosts a wide range of events, including lectures, workshops, and seminars. All designed to bring artists and the community together with exhibitions showcasing the works of local and emerging artists.
The Iconic Store
The visually breathtaking Iconic Store is an unparalleled shopping experience in Bangkok. Spanning two levels and featuring over 6,000 products, it’s the go-to shopping experience for a classic – and stylish – souvenir. Dedicated to everything silk, from menswear and womenswear, bags, accessories, homeware, and exclusive collections found only at this Bangkok location.
Silk Café and Jim’s Terrace
Grab a light snack at the Silk Café set amongst the lush jungle-like gardens. Its menu boasts freshly baked croissants, homemade ice creams, and an extensive drinks list including freshly brewed coffee. The new Jim’s Terrace serves up delicious Thai Tapas ideal for sharing. Plus offers a menu of homemade, traditional dishes made with premium local Thai ingredients.
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