When Jim Thompson arrived in Thailand in 1948, he recognised not only the beauty of the Thai people, but the beauty of Thai silk, establishing a business which allegedly saved Thai silk from extinction. Having seen stunning traditional Thai dress across Thailand, we were keen to visit his home and witness the elegant yet vibrant silks being manufactured.
His home was fantastic to look around; a complex of six teak houses set in gardens. The tour guides were really enthusiastic about showing us all the different artefacts inside and telling their colourful stories. However, we were marginally horrified to discover that Jim Thompson had been the proud owner of an ‘entertaining’ Chinese mouse house. Imagine a television, but instead of a movie, imagine a maze, and instead of watching actors move around, imagine watching mice. Yes, that was apparently a popular form of entertainment!
The gift shop was also a sight in itself: scarves, ties, clothing, handkerchieves, make up bags… our purses took a slight hit!
Whilst it was a pleasure to learn about the house, the silk and the history of the Jim Thompson business, most intriguing was the mysterious disappearance of the man himself. On Easter Sunday in 1967, Jim Thompson disappeared whilst visiting a friend in Malaysia. Following the biggest manhunt Malaysia has ever seen, rumours and theories about what may have happened to him during his weekend walk in the Cameron Highlands are still accumulating over 40 years later. His body was never found and no substantial evidence has yet led to the solving of the case…
Charlotte & Sarah x