Chances are you have never heard of Jim Thompson. Neither had I until I came to Thailand. He was an American World War II veteran who relocated to Thailand, revitalized the Thai silk industry, and then mysteriously disappeared while on vacation in Malaysia.
His story is really interesting, you should read the Wikipedia page on him (here). The most intriguing part to me is his disappearance. He was on vacation with friends, left to go on a moonlight stroll and never returned. The surrounding areas, and deep into the jungle, were searched for weeks but there was never a sign of him again. There are many different hypothesis on what happened…was it a planned disappearance? was he abducted by Communists and held in captivity? did a tiger attack and eat him? No one knows and at this point we will probably never find out.
While he was living in Bangkok he purchased land and built his dream Thai home. In Thailand foreigners are only able to own a little less than half an acre of land. On this small plot of land Jim Thompson was able to build a beautiful home, consisting of six traditional Thai teak houses merged together, and surrounded by a beautiful plush garden. Since his disappearance little has changed on the property and it has since been turned into a museum for visitors to walk through. It is absolutely stunning, he collected art from around the world and really turned his home into an inside and outside zen living space.