On our 2nd day, June 2 this year, we checked out of the hotel and Samran picked us from there. He rented a van, big and comfortable enough for us. His Filipino wife, Letty, joined us. Letty has lived in Thailand long enough, and she comes home after every few years, so she was happy to speak again in Filipino.
From our hotel, we went to the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT). We picked up Samran's other Filipina friend, Redia, who was visiting her daughter who is working and staying at AIT. Redia was a soil scientist, she used to work at PCARRD in Los Banos, Laguna. She is now working at the Senate Committee on Environment as Committee Secretary. Redia brought her grandson, about 5 years old. Our toddler was happy to have an older "kuya" as her playmate for the next few hours of our travel.
From AIT, our first stop was Bangsai. There's a beautiful resort and shopping center. A big concrete multi-headed dragon spewing water (not fire) in a lagoon is the main attraction. The lagoon is big and well-sculpted.
There's a big shopping area nearby, but most of the stalls were close if not abandoned, only a few stalls and food shops were open.
In a bigger structure, is a big, clean and air-conditioned shopping center and shops were selling various souvenir items. There's another concrete dragon and Buddha inside.
From Bangsai, we went to Bang Pa-in palace, the King's summer palace. It's not far from Bangkok city proper, maybe about 80 kilometers. Entrance fee I think was Baht 100. This place is wide and sprawling. A number of beautiful structures, wide and long lagoon, an observation tower about 6 or 7 storeys high. One can reach the top level by foot only, and shoes and slippers to be left outside. The view at the top level is beautiful -- well manicured lawns, the lagoon, the palace, the temple, etc.
(to be continued...)