The festive season is here again. Though there's no public holiday here in Thailand and I expect myself to work till I drop today, it will not dampen my Christmas mood, not when I am soaking in a wintry low temperature of 17degrees Celsius writing this.
There is always a week or two every year here when the weather will become nice and cool, but never has it dropped to the lows of 16degrees Celsius. This has lasted for more than a week and is expected to continue at least until the end of the year! In the midst of all the political chaos, the brilliant weather has to be one of the silver linings in an extremely cloudy sky looming over Bangkok now.
This weather has also prompted me to go for more than 1 weekend getaway this month, and I feel it's appropriate to start a series on this topic, to help all my readers plan family getaways in Thailand during the annual cool season, starting with Jim Thompson Farm.
I believe everyone recognizes the words Jim Thompson through its international chain of shops selling his famous silk products. Less people know that this American man who revitalized the silk industry in Thailand made a legendary exit from prominence after successfully completing a disappearing act in Malaysia after he set off on a leisurely afternoon stroll. Even though he was never found, and reasons for his evaporation never known, Jim Thompson has most definitely left a lasting legacy which could last generations after him.
I chose to feature Jim Thompson Farm first in my series is due to the fact that it is only open for 1 month a year (*GASP!), so everyone interested after reading this better start planning a trip because this time, it is only open from 14 December 2013 through 12 January 2014, from 9am to 5pm everyday.
Without boring you with more lengthy writing, I will summarize the farm's highlights into 4 main categories:
1. Flowers and other vegetation not called Pumpkin
It's not easy to find large patches of blooming flowers in Bangkok, unless you consider the King Rama 9 Park as one, but then, it looks more deliberate than natural there. Here, you can find an abundance of flower patches with different flowers with mountains as backdrop, certainly very refreshing for city folks like us.
|My darlings enjoying the flowers|
|Endless patch of pink flowers|
|Bottle Gourd lesson for Noah|
2. Pumpkins galore!
Pumpkins have always been pretty interesting for me. They are delicious, versatile, uber nutritious and come in all shapes and sizes. The folks at Jim Thompson are proud of their ability to cultivate various species of pumpkin and they should be. A trip to the farm is equivalent to a pumpkin lesson.
|Giant pumpkin made of little ones, which becomes a pumpkin species lesson after you enter|
|Picture taken inside the giant pumpkin, look at the variety available, there's even one named "Jack Be Little"|
|Family pic taken in front of the giant pumpkin|
|Butternut Squash spell "N', and "N" is for "Noah"!|
|"Drive drive drive! Noah driving in the car!"|
3. Understanding of the silk production process
Jim Thompson is most famous for their silk products, so the production of silk is naturally the main spirit of their farm. Here, the process of rearing silkworms and how they finally get the end product is clearly explained and demonstrated.
|The life cycle of a silkworm|
|Weaving some spectacular smooth shiny purple Thai silk|
4. Sights and sounds of village living
I come from Kuching, a place where natives roam the land and where there might be more wooden houses built on stilts than most other places in the world, so even though Jim Thompson Farm tries to showcase many things in a village-style setting, for me, it's nothing much to shout about so I will not spend too much time on this aspect.
|Jim Thompson fabric displayed in the Isan Village|
|One of the signature sights at the Farm, but too many people around to take a really good picture of it.|
The final verdict is that though there is nothing to really go "Wow" about at Jim Thompson Farm, there is enough to keep the whole family occupied for at least 4 to 5 hours. Keeping in mind that it is only open for a month (less than 3 weeks left this time round), any bored family in and around Bangkok should seriously consider paying it a visit, especially in this chilly weather.
If you are going to drive yourself, it's going to take you a good 4 hours drive from Bangkok (and the same time back). A day trip will be highly exhausting, but here's something that might cheer you up along the way, if you keep your eyes wide open.
|A decent-sized plot of sunflowers, consider Lop Buri covered as well after you take pictures like this!|