Jim Thompson is a well-known Thai textile outlet with branches throughout the country. Thompson, an American businessman who mysteriously disappeared in the Malaysian highlands in 1967, almost singlehandedly resurrected the Thai silk industry after WWII and his legacy, in the form of colourful and high-end silk shops and boutiques, is a must-do part of any visit to Thailand.
The Jim Thompson outlet in Central Festival is located next to Starbucks on the ground floor. It’s a spacious and well-lit air-conditioned shop with attractive window dressing and display arrangements. Exhibit cabinets are well spaced apart and the white tile floors add a further sense of room.
First, it’s important to state that this shop does not sell only silk: Here, you can find quality linens and cottons as well as knick knacks for children and even furniture. Most shoppers head straight for the ‘new arrivals’ section to the right of the main entrance where you’ll find textile shopping bags, leather wallets (3,300 baht), silk scarves (this branch has countless silk scarves) ornamental rough silk toy elephants (330 baht) and handkerchiefs.
Next to this are rows of silk ties which, for some reason or other, do not have price tags. The silk tie collection ranges from conservative office wear to lighter hearted designs.
Men’s Irish linen shirts retail for 2,700 baht while fine silk boxer shorts are 1,500 baht. For only 1,000 baht more you can buy men’s linen baggy pants while several colours of ladies’ kimonos and cotton wraps are available at the next display. Jim Thompson also sells children’s wear with baby tops and toddler outfits selling for around 800 baht. In the beachwear section are several shades of kaftans and wraps although there are no actual swimwear choices.
You’ll not want for choices of bags, purses, and accessories for ladies here and it’s all very impressive, the only disappointment being the dowdy range of men’s polo shirts that look as if they were designed before Jim Thompson’s time. Still, if you’re looking for a cheerful-looking L-shaped cream-coloured sofa retailing for a mere 87,000 baht this is the right place to come to.
Finally, the shop’s royal purple silk duvet covers are elegant and sensuous and, at 12,000 baht, hardly a bargain but nevertheless rich in texture and touch. Jim Thompson has several outlets in Phuket and they are justly praised for their long-lasting and elegant quality products.
- Opening Hours: 09:30 – 22:00
- Location: Ground floor Central Festival Phuket
- Tel: 076 249 615(6)