Two elephants from our stay in Bangkok – one old, one new.
Elephant No. 35 – Jim Thompson House
This beautiful old wooden elephant comes from the Jim Thompson house in Bangkok, the lovingly preserved abode of an American silk trader who made Bangkok his home in the middle of the 20th century. I was interested to see the house having already encountered the myth of Jim Thompson when we stayed in the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia way back in September. This was the last place he was seen alive in 1967 before he vanished off the face of the planet after going for a walk here and was never seen again. Nobody knows what happened to him – no body has ever been found – but some suspect CIA involvement as he was becoming vocally anti-American. In any case it’s probably a clue as to how little there is to do in the Cameron Highlands that major attractions included “the last house Jim Thompson stayed in”, “the last bar Jim Thompson went to” and so forth. But it made me extra keen to visit his house in Bangkok and find out a little more about him.
In turned out that the house is a beautiful place to visit in its own right, leaving aside any connections to its mysterious American owner. It’s a traditional old teak house, with lots of interesting pieces of art that Jim Thompson collected (including this elephant), and is set in a lush tropical garden. I suppose that much of Bangkok might once have looked like this but is now very much a city closer in kin to my second elephant below, but it was interesting to see just a whiff of former Bangkok. The house also had a very tasty restaurant – I would thoroughly recommend a visit to anyone in Bangkok.
Elephant No. 36 – Cafe Muzo
This zazzy gold elephant is the antithesis of its old, dark, brooding cousin from the Jim Thompson house. It stands at the bottom of the tower that contains the famous golden Sirocco sky-bar in Bangkok where we tried to go for a drink on Alex’s last night. Unfortunately they wouldn’t let us in as we didn’t conform to their dress code – the lady at the entrance went through each of us in turn describing in meticulous detail every element of our dress from tip to toe that was incorrect. We broke pretty much every rule – flip flops, shorts, backpacks etc. Even more unfortunately Bangkok seemed to have very strict dress codes for many of its fun bars and restaurants and this was not the only place we got turned away from that day! We settled on going to a poolside bar lower down in the tower that was really not too shabby. I had a chilli and raspberry gin and tonic that was surprisingly tasty – I should try spicy cocktails more often!
If you want to read more about our time in Bangkok, you can check out Christine’s blog once she has posted it (I will add link later). Alex may be heading home to grey old England but we are continuing on in Thailand for more fun in the sun… And a few more elephants of course!