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Thailand forum

Jim Thompson House - BK Tourist Trap?

Posted by altmtl on 26/9/2012 at 22:33

As issues of age and comments regarding posts have come up recently maybe I should point out - http://www.tripadvisor.in/ShowUserReviews-g293916-d447276-r140544378-Jim_Thompson_House-Bangkok.html#REVIEWS - this tourist attraction gets glowing reviews and attracts many older visitors, personally this place is of no interest to me - It's a tourist trap as far as I'm concerned. Same Same, but different as we all like to say - as the FMP for the "tourists"

#1 altmtl has been a member since 18/5/2009. Location: Canada. Posts: 992
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Posted by busylizzy on 26/9/2012 at 22:51

It's funny that you say that because I also had written it off as a tourist trap, and never bothered going. But a recent thread on this site also had favourable comments from people that kind of surprised me. Will be interested to follow this discussion!

#2 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
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Posted by altmtl on 26/9/2012 at 22:58

Many touts about I hear & akin to the gem scam...

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Posted by exacto on 27/9/2012 at 00:35

most of the regular contributors here are old enough to be the parents of your average backpacker, and most of us are either currently expats or have been long-term SEA residents. our views are going to be different that most backpackers. that's fine, but at least try to keep that in mind.

as for jim thompson's house? i guess by definition is it a tourist trap, because it is designed to attract tourists. but all the people i saw at the puppet museum in jakarta and the j.e.a.t.h. museum in kanchanburi were tourists too. you could say the same about the gateway arch in st. louis, chitchen itza, and the eiffel tower. exit through the gift shop. but they are still worth visiting, don't you think?

maybe it is mostly older folks who enjoy jim thompson's house because of their interest in history. nice link to tripadvisor by the way. i noticed that well over 90 percent of the reviewers said the experience was very good or excellent. tourist trap and all. regards.

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Posted by altmtl on 27/9/2012 at 00:58

This given there are also many people who say the FMP was their greatest experience ever. I think off the beaten track travellers are something different, no FMP, no Thompson house, just experiencing everyday life, like locals and avoiding tourist traps.

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Posted by wanderingcat on 27/9/2012 at 04:16

OP:
As issues of age and comments regarding posts have come up recently

which thread is this referring to? (not been on Tfish much of late, too many 'please plan my entire itinerary & everything else for me' type of queries :P)

not old enough to be a parent of any backpacker yet :P anyway i visited Jim Thompson House in my early 20s (typical backpacker age?) with my younger sis & both of us liked it.

some scattered thoughts:
we come from a big sterile city filled with concrete high rise housing, so we like looking at wooden houses in a garden setting with interiors full of beautiful traditional art objects, the more intricate/ornate the better...stuff we can only dream of in our country & look at in the pages of architecture/interior design magazines.

found the idea of a guided tour rather restrictive, though it did give some useful info, the guide was good & we didn't feel hurried (we were afraid that we'd be rushed through with 'automated parrot' style commentary, given the no. of times the guides have to repeat the same thing day in day out), & turns out that we were free to explore on our own after the tour was over.

i like textiles & didn't come away feeling disappointed even though have seen more amazing stuff elsewhere in Thailand & Laos. but the only thing i could afford from the souvenir shop were 10-baht a piece postcards :P overall you feel that it's a place targeted at those with pockets deeper than a backpacker's.

somehow, JT House doesn't seem to be a place that registers on Thai peoples' radar? been going to Thailand since i was 6 & my Thai folks had brought me along to Muang Boran, Bang Pa-in, Phu Ping, Grand Palace (several times), etc, but they'd never mention JT House. & i don't recall seeing many (or any?) Thai visitors at JT House when i was there. maybe the JT story is more well-known among foreigners? & maybe Thai people are more into visiting places associated with Thai royalty, so no Thai school groups here? so i got to step into JT House only when i was old enough to wander around Thailand on my own without my Thai folks getting paranoid, even though i've been to that part of Bangkok countless times.

not that i would return for a second visit, it's the 'once is enough' kinda place. but i wouldn't advise others against visiting the place, especially if it's their first time to Thailand. though i found JT House rather crowded, so maybe Suan Pakkad or M.R. Kukrit Pramoj's House would be better for those who want a quieter experience?

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Posted by MADMAC on 27/9/2012 at 04:55

"I think off the beaten track travellers are something different, no FMP, no Thompson house, just experiencing everyday life, like locals and avoiding tourist traps."

I agree. But there aren't many of those altml. Most want to either hit the beach, chase the nookie, or go see things like Angkor Wat. The number of people who want to interact with your average Thai, make Thai friends, experience urban or rural Thailand in a place like Sakhon Nakhon, are few and far between. They talk about it, but they don't really want to do it. Which is why they don't.

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Posted by chinarocks on 27/9/2012 at 05:52

Are the poor old timers starting to feel their age? Come on, there's surely life in the old dog yet...

#8 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 740

Posted by SBE on 27/9/2012 at 06:53

I agree with Wandering Cat's remarks. You're in one of the noisiest busiest parts of Bangkok but you feel you've somehow left central Bangkok when you walk down the soi leading to Jim Thompson's house. It's quite magical how all the roaring traffic noise suddenly stops after just a few meters. So I'd say it's a very good place to go and recharge your batteries after a stressful morning spent shopping in MBK or something, very peaceful and tranquil atmosphere considering the location.

Like WC says, it's a "don't need to visit twice" kind of place, but it's pleasant enough. The shop is indeed rather expensive and so is the restaurant, but the surroundings are very agreeable and the food at the restaurant was quite good.

If you're not cash strapped and counting every penny then I'd say it's worth a visit if you're in the vicinity. Touristy? Yes of course it is, but I wouldn't describe it as the kind of tourist trap you come out of feeling you've been totally ripped off. You don't even have to take a tour if you don't want to. I sat and read a book in the courtyard while my son and his GF did the tour once and nobody hassled me to buy anything or pay for a tour ticket ... so I'm not sure what gem scam style touts you're talking about altmtl, I didn't notice any!


I've never been to the Damnoen Saduak floating market (another touristy "must see") but from what I've heard it sounds far more of a tourist trap than Jim Thompson's house.

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Posted by MADMAC on 27/9/2012 at 08:28

As SBE says, it is strangely quiet and pleasant, even though you are right downtown. I never thought of it, but now that she writes it, it has occurred to me that that's an amazinginteresting fact.

#10 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 27/9/2012 at 10:25

I was bored with JT's house after 5mins. Really who cares? There's millions of houses made from teak in Thailand. National museum and Suan Pakkard are far more interesting if you want history.

#11 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148

Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 27/9/2012 at 10:27

"I've never been to the Damnoen Saduak floating market (another touristy "must see") "

I've never been to any floating market. I'd rather walk around a normal Thai market in the suburbs than visit some overpriced tourist trap.

#12 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148

Posted by MADMAC on 27/9/2012 at 11:43

Leonard the Jim Thompson house is unique for a couple of reasons, starting with Jim Thompson. Much of what is in that house was collected from within Thailand. And much from without. It's an interesting place. Of course there are other interesting places as you mentioned. Bangkok is a huge, fairly old, city. So it should have lots of interesting places. But I liked the Jim Thompson house and I'm glad I went. My wife and daughter enjoyed it too.

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