Travel planning is more interesting with looking back with our family past travel adventures. We are excitedly planning our next travels that this family travel blog needs to catch up! As always, everyday, we raise our gratitude to Almighty! Thank you, Oh God for the blessings!
Our Part 1 of our Country 19 – Oh Thailand, You Are Really Amazing took us back to this awesome country. And what a difference almost a year make. The kids look way bigger now, with memories still stored and cherish in their hearts and minds. Is it obvious we are such an advocate of family travel? Or any type of travel?
Our top five memorable Thailand must do for family with kids are:
Thai Food. There is so much unique food to eat, insects included, everywhere. Kids taste buds definitely were in paradise with all the Thai spices, fresh fruits and vegetables.
Nature. Okay, Thailand is pretty much like Philippines, our hometown when it comes to climate and nature. But hey, we did enjoy our family biking in a tea plantation in Northern Thailand, all the way to Chiang Rai.
Thai Massage. Where else can we get the best Thai Massage? Our happy feet will shout happily…. Duh, in Thailand! The best, the most affordable and the most authentic Thai massage.
Temples. Europe is for churches as to Thailand is to Temples. Beautiful and majestic temples loaded with history,culture and a lot of faith in God.
Night Markets. Although we don’t shop or buy souvenirs when our family travels, we are fond of Thailand Night Markets. Variety of products to see and diverse Thai food choices to satisfy our cravings. Plus free night out with kids to burn all those excess energy! Yes, please!
“Why fit in when you were born to stand out? ‘ – Dr.Seuss
Oh the places we find together, we even managed to find Dr.Seuss House! Or at least, that’s what we call Hotel Galeria! A unique hotel very close to the Main Train Station in Bratislava, Slovakia (our 29th Country! )
The facade of the Hotel Galeria is full of colors, screaming for admiration. The irregular shape and architecture is quite pleasing to watch from afar, much more in a closer view.
The view from the inside of the hotel also never disappoints. The lobby looks like an artist hard-at-work and all wall and table covers look like abstract colorful painting!This is not a sponsored post. We were just in awe having to experience a hotel like this that our eldest traveller described the hotel in her IG account as “one of the best hotels she has stayed at.” We book our hotel reservation one day before heading to Slovakia from Hungary. It was a reasonable rate for a 2-star hotel.
Yes, it’s a 2-star hotel. We could recommend a lot of improvements on facilities, yes, but we always get what we paid for, right? With this hotel, plus lots of color, art and good customer service!
Hoops, the name of the hotel is Hotel Galleria. However, this hotel will always be Dr. Seuss House for our family. It’s a really unique concept worth benchmarking anywhere. Don’t you agree?
It’s easy to make travel wishlists, bucket lists of places we want to go, destinations we dream of! Even those creatures under the rock would want to visit some places they have never been. But most of the time, they do stay under the rock, left in wonderment of what’s like outside their world.
Why wouldn’t they, staying under the rock, is comfortable. It’s easier to just keep wishing to explore the world than actually travel. Similarly, it’s way easier to make the Eiffel Tower photo (or other places!) the desktop screensaver than actually book a ticket and go to Paris.
But bucket lists are meant to be ticked off, and not to remain list forever.
The secret to realizing going to these destinations are actually pretty straight forward.
1. Faith and Vision go together. A strong vision is backed up my breakdown of goals, yes, but more importantly, it’s main support and foundation is a belief system, a strong faith about something. It could be Jesus Christ for devote Christians, it could The Force for Star Wars Fanatic, it could be the unicorn for people who believe in the unknown, the extraordinary, the unseen. We believe in fate, God’s blessings and positivity. Those are the foundation of our Vision, family values, you may say. The thing is, Vision is something we strive for long term, hence, our faith, values and passion should support our own desire for the future.
2. Visualize. Visualize. Visualize. And Visualize Some More. Have you seen the movie Jumper? If yes, you know that it’s about a young man with a teleportation abilities, his travel adventures mixed with family drama and young love action. Making our travel dreams come true is similar to how he used his teleportation abilities. Focus on that one.. Did you notice that he can only go to a place if he can imagine it? Pictures of different places all around his room. If he doesn’t know what Rome looks like, he can never teleport there. It’s simple and actually neuro-science worthy!
3. Don’t be just SMART. Be SMART-ER. Our family is more of an advocate of setting vision and goals than travel addicts. Well, we are travel addicts, but all of our travels are part of our bigger plan… to travel more! Seriously now, we believe that setting goals is necessary for everybody!
Everybody has this “SOMEDAY!” Here’s the big open secret to getting to our “someday.” Not only we need to be SMART, but what really works is if we are SMARTER! This good, (very) old acronym works!
Measurable (no-brainier KPI)
Attainable (in life, all goals are!)
Realistic (make sense to YOU!)
Time bound (w/ deadline set)
Reviewed (evolving YOU!) .
Write down goals, most preferably, uninfluenced, own personal goals which echoes your deep inner desires and passions, and evaluate it periodically, make necessary adjustments (to yourself, to the lifestyle or to the goals!) Of course, you can change goals in life. Life is….life. Sometimes, there are changes in life which we can’t control. When we say, our family aim to travel to 100 countries together, we are declaring and sending our thoughts on how we want to live our lives. If, for whatever circumstances, the Universe, God or Energy have other megaplans for us and the world, then we will adjust our goals. Revision of goals is not non-achievement of living life. It’s driving the car and changing routes when a particular road is blocked.
We can see this in every work employee. They are almost always afraid to set high goals at work because they may not achieve it, get punished for non-achievement and be embarrassed about it. But such is not the case about life – setting goals and being open about these goal, means the intent to maximize one’s life potential and God given resources.
4. Positive Can-Do Attitude. The glass is not half full nor half empty. Oh the places we travel with that glass!
The reality in life – positive attracts positive. Positive multiplies positive is enormous positive potential. We are the sum or total of the positive influence we surround ourselves it. That may be the universal requirement for goal achievement.
5. Be Spontaneous and Just Leave. Action cures fear! The beginning of a thousand miles is a single step! Take the first bite is how you eat the entire cow.
A little trivia about our family? We started traveling right after our Traveling Dad lost his day job. That’s when we know for sure that life is off to good start the moment we say…”What the heck!! Let’s just go.”
“Every time we visit a new country or a new place or do new activity together as family, we always have that feeling of vigor, of expanding our horizon, of being reborn (in a non-radical-religious-kinda-way!)”
That’s every single time. Insert music, tale as old as time…
Family travel offers a tremendous potential to learn – learn from local people and fellow travellers, learn from history.
For us, learning from history is one of the best way to learn. History is never boring when we visit actual places where certain events actually happened. We get to see or even touch artifacts and memorabilia. We get to breathe the same air (almost!) of people involved in the events of the past. We get to feel the eeriness , of solemness , of the haunted or happy past.
Ain’t that the truth, even on personal level, learning from people’s history gives us enormous potential to self check if we are walking on the same path, doing the same mistakes and gives us the chance to correct our wrongdoing. That is a mark of a matured individual, however. And yeah, there are lots of mature people out there.
In a way, we get to see the full picture of the past and how it’s domino effect is reflecting in the present.
Exploring Europe with kids gives opportunities to see the beauty of the industrialized circulations, almost ancient countries enjoying the technologies and way of life for hundreds of years, magnificent buildings, spectacular way of living (even third world countries in Asia and Africa are yet catch up.)
On the other side, exploring Europe with kids? for us, also pave the way of magnified “narcissism” or worse “psychopath” tendencies of world leaders.
It’s not easy to explain to kids how the magnificent Neuschwanstein Castle is where the “unfit to rule” King Ludwig II was arrested and how the history has declared him “certified insane” despite of all his inclination to beauty, good architecture and love for landscapes.
Walking in his castles, it’s difficult to imagine, how can someone be lonely with all the extravagance and beauty of God’s creations.
Exploring the Danube River on the Pest side of the beautiful city Budapest, the kids learned about horrific Shoes on the Danube Bank. We stand on the very side where at least 500 people where asked to take off their shoes and got shot at the edge of the river.
The beauty of Europe is, yes, beyond stunning. On the other side, the humanity which created the civilization is almost always beyond words.
How do we explain to kids the horror of wars and wrongdoings of world leaders of the past?
For now, we focus on lessons. On people and government (kinds, queens, world leaders) to not repeating the same horrors of history.
We’ve been traveling for the past two months and it’s really very difficult to go back to our “normal” including blogging! But hey-o! It’s New Year and we intend to make 2017 way better than 2016, which is saying a lot because 2016’s filled with lots of travelling and great vibes! 2017 is still new, so here’s our family wishing you and the rest of the world health, prosperity, happy feet, mind, energy and soul for 2017!!
“Let’s be more amazing than last year!” – Turknoys
Here goes the blog about Thailand! 😘 “A good person can make another person good; it means that goodness will elicit goodness in society; other person is also be good.” -King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 1927-2016
When it comes to family travel, seeing a new country or a new place all at the same time, brings a lot of emotions! Yet we realized, when we traveled to Thailand, a land both of the Turknoy parents have visited, separately almost a decade ago, that it brings more emotions, add in the nostalgia and fascination how much the country have changed since we last visited. There’s a little bit of biased when traveling as we wanted desperately for kids to see Thailand as we saw the country when we were younger. That was interesting feeling!
We visited three cities in the country and we can’t get enough! We explored several temples in Bangkok, mesmerized by Chiang Mai festivals (which were in our bucket list for quite some time) and were fascinated by Chiang Rai!
For this adventure, the best travel moments are the cheapest ones! We took the sleeper’s train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, went family biking around in a very scenic rural park, and lots of street food market – really a lot! (This will be part 2 of the blog.😘)
Thailand’s capital city has the longest name of any city in the world (it’s in the Guinness Book of World Records – you can look it up – Kroong Tep or Bangkok!)
There’s also the Unicorn Café which we wanted to go because of our fascination with #UnicornVibes . Although a little bit underwhelmed by the café, we still managed to enjoy the uniqueness of the place in the city!
We also had a quick chat with a relative who has been working in the city for quite some time and loved it there! We loved it there and we only scratched the surface of an amazing country!
And more favorite part of the city – their Science Museum! Very underrated, we’d say! We’ve been to a lot of Science Museum, including Scandinavian countries’ museum and the Bangkok Science Museum ranks high for us to top!
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Loi Krathong could be translated as “to float a basket”, and comes from the tradition of making krathong or buoyant, decorated baskets, which are then floated on a river. The festival takes place on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai Lunar Calendar; hence, the exact date of the festival changes every year. The festival usually falls November. When we visited Chiang Mai, it was November 18-20 . It was a bit toned down because of the year of mourning of the King of Thailand but it was still very fascinating for all family members.
The festival may originate from an ancient ritual paying respect to the water spirits. Each one of us made us wish as we send out a krathong to the Ping River. We also sent out all bad thoughts we have wishing for all the great things yet to come for the world.
Yi Peng or Floating Lanterns Festival coincides with Loi Krathong. Floating Lanterns are launched into the air where they gracefully float through the sky – oh such blissful sight! The festival is meant as a time to make merit. Our family sent out two lanterns to give thanks for all the blessings and to make a wish! We also watched the major parade, it was all meant to honor the greatness of the Thai King reign, solemn and beautiful parade.
Three memorable nights , two festivals! Our hearts are overwhelming with happiness and optimism enough to last us for a long time! We believe we should celebrate life like this all the time. Less commercial, more looking forward and giving thanks to life’s energy!
During the days of the festival, we managed to squeeze in a day trip to the Long Neck Tribe where life is simple, faith in tribe is strong! When we see places and people like this, we are always reminded that life is always simpler than how we made them to be.
Chiang Rai, Thailand
White Temple is a very contemporary designed temple! Not an ordinary temple and worth the visit, 3-5 hours ride from Chiang Mai.
One of the most memorable activities we’ve done as family was our family biking around Singha Park – beyond words! The majestic view, the stunning landscape, the kids laughters for two hours, the parents panting and struggling to bike up the slopes! Ohhh what memories!
One very interesting and profound Thailand experience:
All throughout the country, the Thai people are all in mourning, showing their grief and loss of the King of Thailand, the longest reigning monarch, by wearing black or non-bright colored outfits for a year. We also wore black or white when we can even when attending festivals. The loyalty towards a leader and a country is very evident among the Thai it’s humbling and overwhelming! This is when a lot of leaders are being scrutinized all over the world. Maybe we should obey more than we are complaining as a world’s citizen. Maybe we should act like Thais every now and then.. Maybe the world would be in a better, more unified state. Maybe that’ll work.
The Land of Smiles, Amazing Thailand, we want more! (there’s Part 2 of our Thailand blog.)
“Being Malaysian is about embracing cultural diversity and harmony between different people and religions. Malaysia will always be my home.” – Jimmy Choo, Shoe Designer
Looks like Philippines, feels like Turkey, Malaysia feels like home to the Turknoys!
Turknoy Dad has been to Malaysia more than 1o years ago and he fell in love with the country right there and then. The people, the beaches, the coconut trees, the localities, the green environment and yes, even the humidity! It was understandable that he was very excited to show us around the country for the first time.
During our travel to Johor Bahru and Kuala Lumpur, he was the happiest one! Our itinerary was very simple as our time was very limited much to the Dad’s disappointment yet we tried to have a taste of everything the two cities has to offer, but not the beach! The beaches of Malaysia for sure will require another adventure for the family.
We went to Legoland coming from Singapore which took less than an hour! That was a really pleasant surprise. The family stayed at Legoland Hotel for two nights as a treat to the kids and so the parents can rest! We ended up enjoying more than we expected. Legoland offers Malaysian hospitality at its finest!
Even the 5-hour-bus ride from Johor Bahru to Kuala Lumpur is a delight! Seeing all the greens and the organized highways. Every now and then, we discuss how countries with similar resources be so different in economy and international passport recognition.
Our two night-stay in the capital city, Kuala Lumpur was spent exploring the Petronas Twin Tower, KLCC, observing people, walking around the city and eating Nasi Lemak! Oh yes, we just can’t get enough of Malaysian food! The coconut and pandan flavoured rice, the sambat (red chili paste) , fresh cooked chicken and fresh vegetables. We gained more than 10 kilos together as family after this trip!
Personally, we didn’t know this can be done, yet Malaysia made us see that this is possible – using the country’s resources, promoting the unique Malaysian culture to the world and becoming so successful at it and yet, encouraging diversity and at the same time harmony and respect among all people with different backgrounds, ethnicity and religions. We have been to some metropolitan cities, yet Malaysia gave us that authentic feeling of accepting diversity with respect to all people. You can’t get that genuine feeling with any effective tourism marketing. It is deeply embedded in the Malaysian culture!
To use own unique talents and traits, to accept one’s identity, to be accepted for one’s real identity while accepting other ideas of life, culture and religion and having no judgment at all, if we can all be this, maybe world peace is possible.
Indeed, a country Truly Asia! We’ll be back for more of Malaysia!
I started off believing all men were equal. I now know that’s the most unlikely thing ever to have been, because millions of years have passed over evolution, people have scattered across the face of this earth, been isolated from each other, developed independently, had different intermixtures between races, peoples, climates, soils… I didn’t start off with that knowledge. But by observation, reading, watching, arguing, asking, that is the conclusion I’ve come to.
– Lee Kwan Yew, The Man & His Ideas, 1997
There are lots of realization for the family during this particular family travel to our 17th country! We attribute this realizations as part of getting used to the routine of being together in a foreign land for the first time. After all, human nature tends to survive frequent changes and adapt to adapt well, if that makes sense to anyone at all. It sure makes sense to all of us, even the kids get used to seeing something new for the first time and not make such a big deal out it. Early in life, we believe, it is a real blessing to have these kids get accustomed to quick and frequent changes. Their tolerance to changes gets higher as we go visit one country at a time.
Indeed, life is all about changes and at the same, we also realized that we need to stay true to our personal brand values. Early on, we decided that our family will not patronize places where it violates animal rights like zoos. With this, the family decided not to visit the Animal Safari, day and night, in which most of the tourists who visited Singapore highly recommended to us. It is not right to treat animals without care for their freedom for touristic purposes. As our kids justified, there will be Africa and the Amazon to appreciate animal habitants in the future.
The kids also decided against visiting Universal Studios! The fun rides with the high humidity was not just worth it for the kids especially with varying heights for fun ride requirements for the three of them! Disneyland only reminds us of queuing for brief moment of rides and we didn’t want to waste any more time queuing in city new for us. Instead, we explored the awesome and huge Singapore Botanical Gardens, explored and met a longtime friend at the Gardens by the Bay and got lost way too many times at Singapore’s very impressive transportation system!
Separately, Turknoy Mum and Turknoy Dad have been to Singapore during their single days as explorer-wannabe. Seeing the same country at different times of our lives does make a lot of difference. There were no night life for us, this time around, instead, we have great family moments which includes dragging the kids while they sleep in the MRT going from one line to the next line to reach our hotel.
We have booked our hotel at Sentosa Island which takes another mono trail or cable ride from the harbor. It was fun seeing the metropolis city from top with kids! We have weird family discussions only we could relate to and it is very previous!
We had intimate moments with Merlion, both by the Marina and in Sentosa Island, where we talked about great leadership in Singapore and why discipline, not necessarily democratic, can work for a country. A country can have similar resources and geographical location on Earth, yet with different style of leaderships, every country can be very unique at its achievement in terms of infrastructure, economics, culture and diversity!
Being an Islamic country, the kids find it amusing that it tolerates all the other religion as manifested by its temples for Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism and its churches as well. Yes, we are not created with the same belief. Isn’t that the essence of faith? To trust into something, to believe that it is real, despite being surrounded by other belief system. It is very similar with commitment in most aspects, to be surrounded by lots of choices, yet making the same choice over and over, to be with family, to be with the chosen partner, for better or for worse.
What we think faith is not is what others think faith is. Faith is not choosing a belief system just because we are recruited into it, for socialization, for acceptance.
All these discussions are witnessed by the Merlion. And we completely agree with the great Singapore leader, we are not created equal. We realize that every time we travel to new country, seeing unique facial features of the local, exploring different landscapes in the country. Yet, inequality makes life interesting and makes it perfect just the way it is, worth setting goals and objectives to live for, a quest worth our while.
And we bet, the Merlion will agree with us! Maybe even Lee Kwan Yew.