The name “Jim Thompson” is well known to tourists in Bangkok due to the Thai style house near Siam Square and the Thai silk shops. But , did you know that there is also a farm in Nakhon Ratchasima? This was first set up in 1988 in order to ensure a steady and ready supply of raw materials for silk production. But they have since gone beyond that with the opening of the Jim Thompson Farm in 2001 as an agro-tourism project.
The Jim Thompson Farm Tour only takes place for a month during the cool season at the end of the year from around mid-December to mid-January. This is the best time of year to enjoy the scenic beauty of the farmland with many fields of blooming flowers as well as organic produce. One of the highlights is the 10 meter wide giant pumpkin patch. Here you will find more than 30 varieties of pumpkins.
During the farm tour you will be able to learn about the full life cycle of silkworms as well as the silk farming process. One thing that I found interesting was the recreation of an Isaan village that has grown over the years to a large collection of houses, barns and salas. Here you will be able to observe various activities as well as try your hand at rice milling. The farm project is a way to help preserve this way of life as well as original buildings and architecture.
When you arrive at the farm, you have to first buy tickets. These are 180 Baht (adults) and 130 Baht (children) for weekdays and 220 Baht and 160 Baht for weekends. The farm is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. You then have to wait for one of the regular trams to take you to each of the five stops along the route. It’s not a tour so you can stay at each stop as long as you like. You can even walk to the next stop yourself as they are not very far apart.
I spent an enjoyable few hours at the Jim Thompson Farm but you could easily spend half a day here. At the last stop there are shops as well as a food court. The farm is not easily accessible by public transport so it is more aimed at Thais and expat families from Bangkok. There are plenty of other attractions in the area and so it is worth spending a night or two here before heading back to Bangkok.
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