Catch the ferry back to the left bank, then jump into a tuk-tuk – those bastions of Bangkok street travel – for a THB100 ($2.80) blast through the vehicular chaos and within half an hour you’re in a small soi, or side street, that runs north from Rama I Road.
Hidden away in this“backwater”of the city center is Jim Thompson’s House, actually a collection of teak houses built alongside a small klong, or canal, in the traditional central Thai fashion.Thompson was a NewYork architect who spent World War II in Thailand working for the OSS (which became the CIA). He fell in love with the country and stayed on after the war, reviving and developing Thailand’s now famous silk industry.
A 30-minute guided tour through the main house – which is made almost entirely from golden teak and other tropical hardwoods, and filled with an exquisite collection of Khmer sculpture, Chinese porcelain, Burmese carvings and Thai scroll paintings – is a wonderful antidote to the noisy bedlam of the 21st century outside. At the entrance a large shop sells all manner of splendid silk products from the Jim Thompson Company, and there is now a bar and restaurant on site to serve the thirsty and hungry as well.
Soi Kasemsan 2 (opposite the National Stadium Skytrain terminus); open daily 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM; entry THB150 ($4.20);