COUNTRY 20: Kingdom of Cambodia and Angkor Wat (and So Much More!) With Kids 

“Don’t  take the straight path or the winding path. Take the path your ancestors have taken.” – Khmer Proverb 

The proverb made us think  and ponder about the ambiance all throughout the country when  we visited. What we felt as family is that the country has been  living out the glory of their ancestors,  mainly from Angkor Wat legacy.  From flag symbol to beer labels, Angkor Wat is very prominent in all the places we’ve visited in the country.

 

Is that a good or bad thing? Well, we think it depends. Do they improve of what was  and capitalize on growing at  the  rate what it  was like during “ancestors” period, then yes. However, if there’s no significant growth and  milestones since the  past,  and  the present got stuck with the thinking of the  ‘great old days” then, it’s definitely a NO for us. This is  coming from our family, who are strong advocates of goal setting based on own family ideals – it takes courage. 

CROSSING THAILAND CAMBODIA-BORDER

Straight from our family adventures in Amazing Thailand, we walked to the Kingdom of Cambodia by foot. Ain’t that cool? Crossing the borders by walking, yes definitely.
Good

Crossing Thailand- Cambodia Border with these kids happy exploring feet
Walking from one country to another – yes, this deserves a family groupie photo ❤️

SIEM REAP

Exploring this vibrant city Siem Reap means visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Angkor Wat and  discussing at length the  wonders of one of the largest  temple of the world.

Our October visit to Angkor Wat  may be the  best weather to go. It was hot and definitely humid. With   kids, hyper and cranky at  the same time, serious discussion about different belief system in ancient culture mixed with the region’s histories of empire was very challenging! There were a  lot of whining and a  lot of playing,too! Add in a lot of tourists.

The mere wide area of the temple already fascinated us  and our  youngest reactions to temple, terrorised us. Her view of temple at five years old is not favorable,  although quite amusing for the rest of the  family members.

Angkor Wat With Kids in October
The best view of Angkor Wat With Kids Playing and Running Around
Don’t forget to be blessed by Buddhist Monk inside the Angkor Wat
Standing On The Very Center of Temple
Angkor Wat With Kids is Quite Educational and Great Fun… Really!
From A Hindu Temple to A Buddhist Temple – Can you Explain that to this Muslim/ Christian Family Please?! Oh, we get it!

 

OVERNIGHT BUS WITH KIDS FROM SIEM REAP TO SIHANOUKVILLE

Although, we love tropical weather over desert weather, we really  rather be at the beach or any body  of water when in  a tropical country like our dear country home.

From Siem Reap to Sihanoukville, we took an overnight bus thinking we’ll save a night   in a hotel plus save time to be able to explore more of the  Kingdom of Cambodia. Did we?  Oh yes, we did! We do NOT recommend it to family with kids, though. It’s not safe,not to mention, not convenient nor hygienic. The bus has not  toilet. There are pit stops every few hours of bus speeding recklessly in the night, passengers coming  and going at every busy stop. It was pretty stressful for us parents, while the kids sleep beside  each other with dirty blankets. We needed to use the blankets as  the bus air conditioning was on full blast.

Yeah, the things we subject ourselves into when we travel with kids. This is definitely under the list of “why did we do that?” category of our travel “Remember when?!” conversations.

Cambodia Backpacker Style – Waiting for the Overnight Bus

Our Overnight Bus – Oh Dear Lord, Not Again For Kids!
Siem Reap to Sihanoukville Overnight Bus

 

SIHANOUKVILLE

The beach stay in Sihanoukville is almost worth  the bus ride. The beach is fantastic, although the water is more on the  lukewarm side than refreshing.

The Gulf of Thailand Beach Sunset
Nothing Like The Sea to Take a Break from Temples

 

KOH RUNG ISLAND 

Somehow, we don’t often hear Cambodia and beach in the same sentence together. Yet Koh  Rung Island, the second biggest island in Cambodia is said to be one of the best in SouthEast Asia. So, off we went.

What do we think of the Koh Rung? It’s a good beach island, yes. The  best? We’ve seen better in Philippines, of course. We were  also expecting the same convenience we had during our  Maldives trip so a little bit disappointed when we learned that there’s no electricity in the island during certain period of the day. We also got a tree house  with no air conditioning with little to non facilities. Koh Rung is a little still developing island, based on our opinion.

Overall, the beach is fantastic and one of a  kind. Beachlovers would definitely be awed if they do visit.

 

This island is fantastic! Fine white sand and fine gold sand in the same shore! Plus treehouse stay is fabulous
Fine Gold Sand Beach adjacent to Fine White Sand Beach – Kao Rung!

 

Life is awesome by the beach
Life is the beach ❤️

PHNOM PENH

We explored this quite crowded city in two days. As a worldschooling family, we spent a great deal  in the Angkor Wat  museum and Royal Palace. As usual, the kids enjoyed running around  and parents wishing that they are learning something.

😃

Royal Palace

 

The Kingdom of Cambodia  is a fascinating country with resources that are diverse, culture that is rich in history and legacy. The people definitely are one of the nicest in the world. We wouldn’t mind going  back to Cambodia with kids if they do request!

 

Have your family  been to Cambodia? Explored temples or beaches? Do tell. 

 

How to Make Your Travel Dreams Come True

Make your  family travel dreams  come true!

 

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.

May these three global kids find their hearts passion amidst life challenges and comfort zones ❤️💚💙

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 A Someday, DO TELL US YOURS?

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!

Specific

Measurable (no-brainier KPI)

Attainable (in life, all goals are!)

Realistic (make sense to YOU!)

Time bound (w/ deadline set)

Evaluated (periodically!)

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.

When you set goals, you set the tone of your day-to-day lifestyle, like ours – Turknoy Travels  100 is A Lifestyle and it’s  pretty  amazing, so far!


With a little bit of name dropping, here’s a proof that this traveling parents know what they are talking about when it comes to setting life’s goals – David Norton, no less. Ask us who he is 🤓


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.

 

We are the average of the stuff toys we hang out with! Choose Turtle and Unicorns for Positivity!

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.”

 

Lighted Candles In Memory of All The Could-Have-Been Realities , But It’s Never Too Late To Just Go!

So, do  you have goals in life?  

 

 

 

 

 

Why Pinoy Family Should Travel The World 

“Ang kabataan ang pag-asa ng ating bayan.” – Dr.Jose P.  Rizal, Pambansang Bayani ng Pilipinas

Translation: The youth is the hope of our nation, – Dr. Jose P.Rizal, Philippine National  Hero

Ang kabayan ang Pag Asa Ng Bayan – how do you want them to lead the future of our Country?!

Well, the world changed a  lot since that  Dr. Jose P. Rizal made that quote infamous. There is still a ring of truth into that quote at this  day and age, that we believe. Despite the fact that how many  generations of youth have let down  Dr. Jose  P. Rizal? Well,  we are not an authority on Philippine History, much more  an  expert on interpreting Philippine current events based on history. Although, proudly we say, our family is raising three global citizens exploring the world (Turknoy Travels 100 ,  now 30/100) using  their Philippine passports.

So, from  one Pinoy family to another, we encourage you to travel with  kids and we have three persuading reasons:

Pinoys  are World Class, Traveling  Magnifies Opportunities For Pinoy Kids to  be World Class. Bragging aside, we know how Filipinos contribute to international workforce, arts, science and new discoveries. Monkey see, monkey  do. When kids see Filipinos all over the world, doing what they  like best  and being admired for it by  almost all  nationalities, that fire of passion will burn until they accomplish  something similar.

A lame comparison,  albeit common, would be to be so  excited about having a Filipino Restaurant  in a certain  city  in any  country! We will definitely be tempted  to visit  and chat with the owner about how that success came to be.

Don’t even  get us started about Filipinos winning in  international competition, mainly in singing or in fashion. Don’t we all feel that same old “Proud to be  Pinoy” sentiments? Speaking of which… “Uyy, there’s a Pinoy winner  in  Project  Runway.” or that Isn’t Bruno Mars Filipino by blood line?!

There’s  fire burning in every adult Filipino to succeed in international scene. When that fire started kindling  at an early age, there’s  no  amount of life’s fire extinguisher  can void that.

 

The  World is Beautiful. There’s  More to Life Than SM. 

Disclaimer alert, these statements are written from a village Filipino perspective, as our family came from a far away village with happily-ever-after endings. Yes, a remote, small village where everybody knows everybody’s names and sadly and  happily, depends on how you look at it, everybody’s business.

Way way back, do you know where our family go to entertain guests? Where we think, we would go for an adventure? SM! Yes, those big, gigantic, enormous buildings, apparently the biggest malls in Asia or in  the world. molding the minds of millions of Filipinos to buy their hard earned dollars, euros, pesos or any  denomination because they are SM! Imagine how small scale entrepreneurs and small scale  real estate agents would prosper without these gigantic commercial monopoly.

Okay, got a little carried away there. The  point is, the Philippines has lots of  magnificent islands, mountains, seas, waterfalls to explore. Thanks to a gazillion of tourists who got viral attention in the internet because they  showcase the beauty of our  motherland, The Philippines.And yes, we know that  Pinoy millennial  have been  traveling the world and the country quite extensively, like no other generation has ever done. Why not Pinoy kids, follow millennial lead?

Going farther, when we travel with kids, we get to see that other countries have a lifestyle, not necessary like our country that works. In Europe, there are no  big malls, yet the  tourists and locals visit Old Towns patronising small shops earning  their living for centuries! Okay, maybe for decades. But that’s the point. Business can  run for decades because they have the  sense of heritage.

It’s a beautiful world, not  in a supermall,  megamall kind of way! The earlier the kids learn this, the better for the country!

If you are not exploring the Philippines by boat, you are doing it wrong!

That Colonial Mentality (Hey Joe!) 

Most – Hey Joe! You American?

Some: Not all white people are Americans! Some of them are Brits!

Obviously pun intended. But hey, not Filipinos fault! Our gorgeous archipelago has been colonized for centuries and the school textbooks are yet to be  revised to  include stories about other countries (you know, like what are Bohemians?! – seriously, hope we are wrong for thinking this, do educate us!)

Every country is different. Each one has different history and culture.  White, black, brown, yellow, pink. If we are  not open to this understanding and keen on  generalizing skin colors, we might as well be uneducated. Europe has 50  countries, each  one of the countries have diverse backgrounds and most of them, black, white, yellow, pink and every color in between. Africa is  not country, the continent has 54 countries and no, not all of their inhabitants are black! Add in the  other  4 continents, and we have almost 200 nationalities. We know how it feels to be stereotype as ” You Asian looks the same with  your small eyes and like rice so much!” Ggrr

I guess, our point is, travel with kids for them to introduce diversity!

These are our three personal reasons why we travel with our Pinoy kids. There are more, like appreciation of world religion, which we elaborated on our Singapore blog post and  our worldschooling  ideas. We  intend to share more as we go on more adventure with our family  goals.

Do you have a  burning reason why Pinoy kids should travel the world?

There are different ways to take a shower, yet, using Tabo is the best!

Travel with Kids With Beauty and the Beast 



” Más kárán tanul az okos.” – Hungarian Proverb 

Translation- The smart one will learn from the mistakes of others.

Take as old as time. True as it can be…. 
We’ve said this before in our blog. Let’s Be Busy Being Alive. 

“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. 

Somehow, Beauty is always accompanied by The Beast
It’s a serious topic for a serious walk
The beauty of Europe is, yes, beyond stunning. On the other side, the humanity which created the civilization is almost always beyond words. 

Not just millions of names engraved on leaves, so much horror.. in Memoriam

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. 

Now on to current events. 

On Discrimination, Customer Service and Travel 

Have your ever walked in a fancy shop, get frowned upon by the staff and ended up buying something just to show that discriminatory staff that his or her opinion of you is biased and wrong? 

These kids are so used to walking in fancy shops and not buying and getting those frowns and cold shoulders from staff

Sadly, most of us have been there, at least the first part, that “being judged” part because of the race we belong, the way we dress or just how our body language rubs off to people. 
How we react to snobbish biases is something commercial corporations have studied to the letter. Some branded, signature, fancy shops, even hire customer agents who can intimidate customers, so they will buy their products. It’s that same reaction mechanism, that their marketing strategy capitalizes on. 
We know someone who walked in Louis Vuitton shop, received a You-can’t-afford- look from sales agent and needed up buying his first branded bag which he didn’t even like. 
We also know a family who walked in a fancy restaurant, and asked how much the lobster special was and received a reply  “Very expensive.” from the snobby waiter. The family ended up buying special lobster for every family member and one of them needed up with allergic reaction to lobsters. 
Gladly, these things happen to our family when we travel, and we have developed the maturity to nod off the discriminatory looks of customer service agents.  We know that any person’s biases is a reflection of who they are and does not, in any way, define who we are. 
The Filipino side of The Turknoys , most of the time, have biases attached.  Domestic helper, village people  attached to it – to name the worst. Full of talent, great customer service, awesome hospitality traits – to name the best. We  have a global reputation, good and bad. Such reputation gets magnified when we travel. And traveling with kids, nonetheless.  If we have a dollar, for every discriminatory comment, said to us, in front of the kids, we’ll be traveling the world for free! 
However, the rude customer service and blatant offensive discrimation combined, as a reaction to a traveling incident involving kids is something very difficult to master. At least for the Filipina Mom.
Picture this incident – a biracial family, with a Filipina mom (add in jetlagged with no shower and messy hair!)  dining in a restaurant when one child got sick and vomitted all over the fancy restaurant? 
How would a customer service person react? 
Background – This happens to our family a lot. Our handsome traveling boy’s stomach react to processed meat and/ or cold chocolate drink. He likes eating and drinking them and can’t hold himself. He gets stomach flu and sometimes accidents happen.
In the Middle East, Southeast Asia and South Asia (add in our one off  experience in Africa,) our experiences were all pleasant. The restaurant staff’s first reaction is to ask whether the kid is  okay. Automatically after that, sends in the cleaning crew to sanitize the place . We had to reassure the managers and crew that the restaurant didn’t serve anything bad, yet, we get that VIP treatment.
In Europe, however, we get the cold shoulder, cleans up the place and move on. On rare occasions, we get the  “Is he okay? “question. 
On to our 28th country, in Eastern Europe  .. we received the worst reaction to a kid vomiting in a restaurant.

So, how did the fancy restaurant staff react to a sick boy and worried mom? 
Out of the violent reaction, the paying haggard Mom was asked to clean up the mess by an irate waitress. With lots of OMG shouting at her and the kid. 
Seriously this happened. Shout out to that not so cheap breakfast buffet cafe in Budapest (Antre!)
Of course, after few minutes of realization, she back away and called the janitor to clean up and sanitize the mess. 
Our life goes on, we learn, we adapt, we mature to people’s reactions, biases and perspective. 
However, this Filipina mom is so jet lagged and so irate, not to NOT write about this incident. 

Our traveling boy’s non caring reaction to rude customer service

Qatar 5: Al Fuwairit Beach and Turtle Hatching

“And the turtles, of course… All the turtles are free, as turtles,  and maybe  all creatures should be.” -Dr.Seuss 

 

The turtle nesting season in Qatar starts April and since 2015, the Al Fuwairit Beach is closed during the season until the cute teeny tiny little turtles are off to their place in  the ocean.

Helping tiny turtle hatchlings go to their home in the Arabian Gulf is a very spectacular experience for all of us

The beach normally  opens again first two weeks of August. That would  be a tad hot to swim, not too hot to appreciate the sunset, the fine beach and the calm sea water.

 

Our family photo in Fuwairit Beach! We have the beach to ourselves ❤️
Life is always good at the beach

Maybe it’s our perfect timing to visit the beach, maybe it’s our  instinct way from crowd, but we never really see Al Fuwairit Beach crowded. If we are to describe the beach based on our  experience, it  would be the adjectives “desolate” and “serene.” We usually go  right after work hours of the week day to watch the sunset or Saturday afternoon when  everybody might be heading back to the  city for the work week.

 

The Al Fuwairit Beach is  almost 50-km away from center of the  city through Al Shamal Road. There are no  facilities such as shower, toilets or supermarket   but there will be at least two fuel stations with convenience stores for stop  over along the way .

 

The  kids always have a blast swimming or  just running around the long stretch of white beach.

Dad says Jump… Son says “How high?!”

We sincerely hope that the visitors will  not leave their trash behind to preserve the beauty  of the  Al Fuwairit Beach.  Just like anywhere in the world, nature preservation is the responsibility of every  one of us. If we can’t contribute,  the least we can do is not cause any damage.

It’s a blessing to live in a Peninsula Country. Beach around us! Add in sunset watching and life is always blessed and awesome!

Enjoy Al Fuwairit  Beach, but please..  please.. leave  only footprints and adventure memories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Qatar 4 -Al Wakra Beach and Park

“Every time I stand before a beautiful beach, its waves seem to whisper to me: If you choose the simple things and find joy in nature’s simple treasures, life and living need not be so hard.” – Psyche Roxas-Mendoza

 

Since we moved to a different  location in the  city, we  now lived more than an hour  way from any beach  in Qatar.  It’s not  really far, at all, although it will take a little getting used to. We’ve  lived less than  30 minute-drive away from  Al Wakra Beach  and  at any  point that our family want some unscheduled activity, we always end up going to hang out by  the Al Wakra Beach.

Then (2007) Night Life By the Beach And Now ..three kids after daytime fun!
Family Photo in Memory of Kisha (our departed dog)

We’ve done almost everything at Al Wakra Beach  – plane watching (way back to the  really old Doha Airpot) , Eid Celebrations, BBQ, Overnight Camping and endless family chatting and eating, hanging out by the kids playground . In  addition, Al Wakra Beach is a haven for the dogs and our dog lover family members.

 

BBQ with the first bin, was she really this small? ❤️

Three kids and two dogs will always be our memory of Al Wakra Beach

Beach is always a great idea especially for dad-daughter bonding

Al Wakra is another town from Doha, so we were technically going “out-of-town” everytime we visit the beach. Priceless family memories almost always  involve beaches.

 

Is it obvious who’s the dog lover in the family?
 
Yes, we conclude, have dogs and kids in Qatar? Al Wakra Beach is a perfect place to hang out at leisure.