Day 5: Jim Thompson’s house and Snake farm


Wednesday was more of an open day, we hadn’t planned anything in particular. We narrowed down the various options to Jim Thompson’s house and Snake farm and then use the rest of the day for shopping.

Sky train station in Bangkok

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(This is the seventh post in a series of posts of my trip to Bangkok and Pattaya. Though each post can be read independently, its best to read them in sequence)

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The JT house is at the far end of an alley, walking distance from the National Stadium sky train station. Jim Thompson was an American who came to Thailand during WWII and settled down here. He entered the silk trade and became one of the most popular foreigner in this country. His house is built in complete wood and is a great opportunity to see a traditional Thai dwelling. JT died several years ago but the house is now preserved by a foundation that manages the silk business and conducts tours of the house. One end of the house opens onto a canal for those who chose to visit him by boat (though this entrance is now closed).

There are compulsory guided tours of this house by the staff who explain the architecture, various stone idols and the concept behind the rooms. An interesting fact about this house is that most rooms are portable and were actually brought here from different places and re-assembled, how cool. All rooms stand on stilts and as you move around the place, you can’t help but think what a great time this man must have had staying here. Tall trees now surround the house and it almost feels like a picnic spot with all modern amenities.

Restaurant at Jim Thompson’s house

From here we moved on to the big ticket item for the day. Aarav was singing the ‘snake farm…’ song all day, though I am not sure what he had in mind about snakes, it was sheer excitement only. We walked the way from JT house to the Snake Farm, about a couple of miles, but through the city’s prime blocks, so it didn’t seem that long. I strongly recommend walking or using the train/ boat to commute in Bangkok.

Come to me, my dear

Be sure to reach the Snake farm in time for their live show at 11 am and a repeat at 2:30 pm. Various snakes are paraded in the open – including the Burmese python and the king cobra – while a professional snake handler demonstrates how to tame and catch a snake. The show is full of entertainment and drama as the snakes hiss and snap at the handler amid cries of fear and curiosity from the audience.

Anxious audience looks on as the handler plays with his pets

This is accompanied by a running commentary on types of snakes as they are brought out in the arena. At the end of the show, the audience can hold the cobra for a photo-op. I guess this is the most eagerly awaited part of the show.

Furious snake lashing out

The staff is patient enough until everyone has had their turn and the cobra obliges willingly as it gets passed around from hand to hand and neck to neck. Initially I was a bit cautious in extending my hand to these critters, having grown up on hindi movies where snakes take revenge from their previous births & unsure of my sins in my past life. However, I slowly warmed up to it as it got friendly with other people. Aarav’s big talk of fighting with the snake and smashing it and playing with it came to a naught as he stood face to face with it. He danced all around but couldn’t muster courage more than running a hand over its scales.

Our from here, we moved around the business district for a while and then decided to retire back to our hotel and spend time in the pool. I also had to book a taxi for the trip to Pattaya the next day.

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