COUNTRY 19 – Oh Thailand! You are Really Amazing! #AmazingThailand Indeed! 

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.😘) 

Bangkok, Thailand

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!)

Our first stop – The Golden Buddha statue, Guinness World Record of the most expensive (or highest valued) sacred artifact!
Wat Traimit!
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!

Unicorn Cafe food and drinks
Unicorn Crepe 😜
Playing Unicorns
Unicorn Burger

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!

Asiatique Riverfront with Cousin, lovely beautiful Bangkok Night
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!
 

You just cant make this up! ❤️❤️

 


Chiang Mai, Thailand
 

Festival of Lights – We Love King

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.

Loi Krathong
Lighting our family’s best intentions !

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.

  

Floating Lantern Festival
our second night during the Yi Peng Festival 2016
Parade Finale!

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. 

Long Neck Tribe
Long Neck Tribe

 


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. 

White Temple!

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!

Biking Around Singha Park Majestic Views @Chiang Rai

 

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.) 

Our Five Favorite Kid-Friendly Places in Turkey

Turkey! Turkey! It’s great country to travel with kids!

Home sweet home adventures are the best! There is just pure joy in traveling in Turkey. This country is home for us. We don’t live here for now, but our hearts will always be thinking of family and awesome places in this majestic and historical country. To use Alexander The Great’s metaphor, The Capital of The World. (He’s referring to Constantinople, now Istanbul… but the entire Turkey for our family is, The Capital of The World.)

Since, we have been asked often what are the places to visit in Turkey, thought it would be a great idea to list our favourites, so far.  Places we actually visited with kids, where it is possible for the parents and kids to enjoy both at the same time, while learning from the adventures.

There are a lot of places  to visit in Turkey. This list is no way comprehensive (our five top favourite places!) and no way connected to any travel agencies.

1. Pamukkale – This means “Cotton Castle” in Turkish. Travertine thermal springs, pools and limestone walls can be enjoyed for several days in any season. We have visited the place  during winter and we still enjoyed the springs with much lesser crowd.  We also enjoyed the oldest swimming in the world.There are a lot of limestone fallen formation which makes the place look like a make-believe world. Discussions with kids can be focused on science or geography!

Pamukkale means Cotton Castles!

The Ancient City of Hierapolis is also adjacent to the city which  can be a huge playground for kids while studying archaeology and history.

This is number 1 on our list and seriously, an underrated tourist attraction in Turkey!      

2. Cappadocia – This place is also number 1 in our hearts! Lots of first for our family. First Hot Air Balloon Ride, stayed in an actual cave for several days, can hotel, that is, explored the underground city, definitely seemed like a make-believe world like Pamukkale.

Cappadoccia. – lots of firsts for our family!
3. Troia  – This maybe Brad Pitt influenced way more than Homer, but being the actual place of Troy, where the Trojan Horse maybe located for real, is just awesome baseline discussion about Homer with kids.

This is a personal choice for us and unless you really love history and archeology, this may be a bit of “tourist trap.” for those tourists who will get of their way to visit.

Troy, kids inside the Trojan Horse!

4.  Temple of Athena – The place is close to Izmir and Ephesus, but the view from the Temple defines serenity. Not necessarily recommended for travel with kids, but for those looking for solitude. We were just lucky, we managed to enjoy the view and serenity with kids. Great moments.

Temple of Athena and Mount Ida. – serenity !

5. The Capital of the World – Constantinople or modern day Istanbul – There are a lot of things to do. Full week exploring with kids may not be sufficient. The list just goes on.. Hagia Sofia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and Bhosporus Boat Trip!

Blue Mosque
Hagia Sofia

To stay in one continent and see the the other one from afar – this should be on everybody’s bucket list, don’t you think?! Visit Istanbul!