Thailand: Whatever Happened to Jim Thompson?

Jim Thompson (1906 – 1967) disappeared in the jungles of Malaysia during a visit to the High Country in 1967.  

No trace of him has ever been found. Books and have written and documentaries have been made, but no valid clues as to what happened to him have ever been discovered.

The fascinating story of Thompson’s mysterious disappearance fascinated him so much, he picked up a book on the celebrated American’s life and started reading it over coffee at the house museum’s restaurant.

Thai Silk Weaving Industry

The silk weaving industry in Thailand had been long neglected. Jim Thompson had a dream of reviving it. A skilled designer and textile colorist himself, he set about rebuilding the reputation of Thai silk, helping to make it famous all over the world.

Tragedy struck on 26 March 1967 when Thompson was traveling in Malaysia. During a visit to the Cameron Highlands, one of the legendary summer retreats during the Colonial Era, he disappeared.

Despite various theories about what happened to him, no valid clues have ever surfaced. Many books have been published, and documentaries have been shot, but nobody knows what actually happened to him.

The James H W Thompson Foundation was established in 1976. It is dedicated to preserving Thailand’s rich artistic and cultural heritage.

Thai Silk Company

Jim Thompson, meanwhile, lives on – at least in name. Jim Thompson – The Thai Silk Company is one of Thailand’s most recognized brand names. There are retail shops selling garments and housewares all over the country. Themed restaurants have also been opened in such countries as Singapore and Japan.

As to Jim Thompson himself, perhaps we will never know what, exactly, really  happened to him.

Copyright: Michael Taylor

Jim Thompson House & Museum 6 Soi Kasemsan 2, Rama 1 Road, Bangkok, Thailand. Open Daily from 9 am to 5 pm. Tours Every 20 Minutes.

Want to Learn More About Jim Thompson?

To learn more about the fascinating life and death of  Jim Thompson, Jim Thompson – the Unsolved Mystery is available at Please click on the following link for more information: Jim Thompson: The Unsolved Mystery


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