Thai architectural heritage is more than about gilded temples and the exquisite structures found inside the Grand Palace. Many of the private homes and estates, usually belonging to Thai noblemen or foreign diplomats and missionaries, offer an equally fascinating journey into Thailand’s architectural traditions as well as unique stories about their passionate owners.
This tour takes you to two such places, starting at Suan Pakkad Palace, then Jim Thompson’s House and Museum. Suan Pakkad Palace is an heirloom of the Paribatra family. It is a cluster of eight Thai houses meticulously kept and renovated into a public museum. An architectural masterpiece in itself, each house displays rare artifacts, art pieces, sculptures and collectibles belonging to the family. The extensive collections found here make it an ideal introduction to Thai art of various periods and styles as well as how life once went on inside this verdant compound.
Jim Thompson, hailed locally as the ‘father of Thai silk’, was an avid collector of Thai art and antiques. His house, comprising six lovely teakwood homes acquired from Ayutthaya and Bangkok’s Baan Krua community, is an unparalleled example of the East meets West style, well before its time. A profusion of rare art pieces, antiques and exquisite interior details speak of his ingenious ability to ‘bend’ tradition – in a positive way – and create something completely his own.