bangkok: jim thompson house, a buddhist temple and the banyan tree bangkok

Saturday, January 19:  This morning most of our Study Abroad group takes flights back to the USA.  My ticket is booked for Monday morning, so I have two more days to explore Bangkok on my own.   I’ve never traveled alone before, so this is a bit scary for me; however, I manage to make my way around to see some of the sights.  This gives me a bit of confidence which serves me well later.

The first place I visit is the Jim Thompson House, the home of James H.W. Thompson, a self-made American entrepreneur who was the founder of the world-renowned Jim Thompson Thai Silk Company. Thompson’s achievements during his 25 year stay in the Kingdom of Thailand have won him much fame as the “Legendary American of Thailand.” (Jim Thompson House: Museum)

I love the complex of Thai-style teak houses and the lush gardens.  It’s such a peaceful setting.

Entering the Jim Thompson House

Entering the Jim Thompson House

Jim Thompson House

Jim Thompson House

Jim Thompson House

Jim Thompson House

Our guide at Jim Thompson House

Our guide at Jim Thompson House

on the porch at Jim Thompson House, looking out at the gardens

on the porch at Jim Thompson House, looking out at the gardens

For his contribution to developing the Thai Silk industry, Jim Thompson was awarded the Order of the White Elephant, a decoration bestowed upon foreigners for having rendered exceptional service to Thailand. Thompson’s success story in Thailand has become one of the most popular postwar legends of Asia, according to the Jim Thompson House website.

pottery and art at Jim Thompson House

pottery and art at Jim Thompson House

a table in one of the rooms

a table in one of the rooms

Jim Thompson House

Jim Thompson House

Jim Thompson House

Jim Thompson House

Me at Jim Thompson House

Me at Jim Thompson House

In 1967, Jim Thompson went on holiday with friends to the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia. There he set out for a walk in the surrounding jungle but never returned. Thus began the Jim Thompson legend.

Jim Thompson House

Jim Thompson House

gardens at Jim Thompson House

gardens at Jim Thompson House

Gardens at Jim Thompson House

Gardens at Jim Thompson House

Jim Thompson House

Jim Thompson House

The house consists of a complex of six traditional Thai-style houses, teak structures that were purchased from several owners and brought to the present location from various parts of Thailand. Construction of the Thai house was completed in 1959 (Jim Thompson House: Museum).

After walking around through all the houses and gardens, I decide to have a little lunch on the grounds.

I have some lunch at Jim Thompson House

I have some lunch at Jim Thompson House

more of Jim Thompson House

a pond near the restaurant at Jim Thompson House

After my visit to the famous house, I get back on the Bangkok sky train.

Bangkok sky train

Bangkok sky train

I head to a Buddhist temple I’ve heard about and check out the active worship going on there as well as the elephant statues playing sentinel out front.

Elephants in front of the temple

Elephants in front of the temple

Elephants

Elephants

Elephants

Elephants

Flowers for offerings

Flowers for offerings

After wandering around this temple, I take a tuk-tuk to the Banyan Tree Bangkok, where I have a drink at their bar and enjoy the amazing views of Bangkok.

tuk-tuk driver

tuk-tuk driver

the tuk-tuk I take to Banyan Tree

the tuk-tuk I take to Banyan Tree

On top of the Banyan Tree Bangkok is the Vertigo and Moon Bar, a rooftop open-air grill and bar – the first of its kind in Asia.  Here, I have a drink and sit outside with hordes of people and enjoy a great view of the city (Banyan Tree: Vertigo and Moon Bar).

Me heading to Banyan Tree Bangkok

Me heading to Banyan Tree Bangkok

Banyan Tree Bangkok

Banyan Tree Bangkok

On this night, I call R, the man I have been seeing since May of 2007, and I have a terrible conversation with him.  I have a dark foreboding about this relationship, which proves to be true upon my return to the USA.

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Categories: Asia, Bangkok, Banyan Tree Bangkok, Jim Thompson House, Thailand | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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