from Bangkok Honeymoon Planner
Bangkoks best-known American businessman, Jim
Thompson, remains its most mysterious. A former architect, Thompson first
saw Bangkok during World War II as an intelligence officer and returned
to make the country his home after the war. Convinced that leisure travel
to Asia would be on the rise, he worked on the relaunch of Bangkoks
Soon, however, Thompsons attention was drawn to the local silk,
a product hand-woven and dyed in brilliant colors. In 1947, he ordered
some silks and took them to New York to test market the product. Soon
the Jim Thompson Thai Silk Company was born, and Thompson brought the
local fabric to the attention of the world. Thompson maintained many traditional
methods but added standardization, modern dyeing methods, and an inspection
process to meet demands of a worldwide market.
In the late 1950s, Thompson moved to a Thai-style residence he had constructed
from six traditional homes. The businessman became known as Bangkoks
leading farang (foreign) host. Mysteriously, in 1967, the charismatic
businessman disappeared while on walk in Malaysia; no trace of Thompson
has ever been found.
Even without Thompsons personal touch, the local silk industry continues
to grow, employing approximately 20,000 families. The businessmans
former home is now one of the citys top attractions, offering tours
as well as special events. The Thai Silk Company continues to thrive,
with 13 stores in many of the citys top hotels as well as in many
Thai resort areas as well as in Singapore and Malaysia.
For more information, see www.jimthompsonhouse.org/.