How to Get the Most Out of Your Family Vacation

If you are planning to head off on a family vacation, you will want the experience to be as fun and exciting as possible. Here are ways on how to get the most out of your vacation.

Plan

Before you go on your vacation, it is important that you all sit down together and brainstorm exactly what you want to get out of the trip. Having a list will help you know what it is you plan to do whilst on vacation and all the activities you want to try out. You may find that each member of the party wants to do different things, so a little compromise will have to come into play to ensure you all get to enjoy the vacation.

Inject Some Fun

Going on a family vacation should be a fun and exciting time for you all, and there are many ways that you can inject a little fun into proceedings and get your trip off to a good start. If you enjoy sporting matching outfits, you may want to feel and look the part with your own personalized t-shirt. Websites like Heatpressmachineguide.Com will give you all the information you need so you can be sure that you create some of the most funky and innovative t-shirts for your vacation.

Book in Advance

To get the best deals, it is always advised to book in advance. You will want to cut corners wherever you can which can potentially help save you a vast amount of money. Make sure that you take the time to research into vacation locations and deals that are affordable for you and your family. If you decide to book late, you run the risk of having limited options as well as higher costs.

Read Reviews

There are many specialist review websites on the internet such as Trip Advisor which can help you figure out exactly where is right to go for your vacation. Reading reviews of the places you want to visit as well as hotels will help you get a better idea on where is best to stay and visit. If a hotel you have seen has predominately low ratings, it is best to look for somewhere else to avoid any problems that could arise. Being able to read first-hand and honest reviews will help put your mind at ease and ensure you make the right decision.

Stay Safe

No matter where you go in the world for your vacation, it is always important to stay alert and aware of your surroundings. Being somewhere completely different will put you out of your comfort zone so you will need to have your wits about you throughout your vacation. There are simple measures that you can take such as keeping all your valuables in zipped pockets as well as having locked luggage.

When going on vacation, always make sure that you have everything planned out well in advance to avoid any issues, but most of all, have fun!

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7 Travel Safety Tips For Women

Traveling around the world is always going to be a daunting prospect, but for women, there are additional precautions that should be considered. It is perfectly possible for a woman to travel around the world on her own, but it is important to take your personal safety seriously.

 

Research Thoroughly

The more you know about the place you’re heading to, the more you will be able to prepare yourself. Research the customs and culture of your destination and make sure that you understand any special requirements regarding dress and conduct. No one likes feeling like their rights are being taken from them, but if you travel and act in defiance of local customs on principle, you are potentially placing yourself in grave danger. No matter how strongly you might feel, the consequences are not worth it for the sake of foregoing local dress codes.

 

Keep Your Valuables With You While in Transit

Many of us travel with tablets, laptops, and smartphones these days. Thieves know when these items are most vulnerable, particularly during transit. Whenever you are traveling on a plane, a train, or even a bus, especially if you will be sleeping, keep your valuables close by so that they can’t be disturbed without your knowledge.

 

Only Take What You Need

The lighter you travel, the easier you will travel. Having less stuff make it easier for you to pack up and move if you feel unsafe. If you are bogged down by lots of baggage, you could potentially find yourself in a situation where you have to abandon some of your luggage.

 

Don’t Be Too Trusting

When traveling, you will naturally want to make friends. We all like having company. Other people will provide you with great comfort on the road, and you will hopefully make lots of new friends. However, you must always be wary. Apply the same caution that you would at home, perhaps even a little more so.

 

Be Careful With Alcohol

Alcohol is the architect of bad decisions. There’s nothing wrong with going out and having fun, but remember that, in addition to the usual cautions you need to take with alcohol, you will also likely be in unfamiliar territory. This makes you even more vulnerable.

 

Be Prepared to Spend More

If you are willing to spend a little bit more, you can often secure a little additional safety and security. For example, when it comes to choosing an appropriate means of transport, the cheapest option will be walking, but this is also the most dangerous. On the other hand, driving yourself leaves you in control but will incur the most costs.

 

Always Have Plans

You should always aim to plan ahead as you travel. This will make it possible for you to check out any areas you are heading to before you reach them. For example, if you are traveling around the US and looking for baseball-related places to visit, Theplanetofbaseball.com can help you learn more about this fun sport, so you can plan some great days out.

Travel is all about having fun and experiencing new things. It is a wonderful experience and something that all of us should do at some point. Traveling safely is easy as long as you prepare beforehand.

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Family Bonding at Borsang Umbrella Center

Borsang Umbrella Center is a great tourist destination, an awesome place for family to bond, and an inexpensive way to learn umbrella making. Borsang umbrellas are a legend in Borsang, a village in Chiang Mai province in Thailand. The history of Borsang Umbrellas started way back and the improvement and history that these umbrellas are making up until now is by leaps and bounds. It may have started as a ceremonial offering to monks but now hundreds are sold annually to tourists and are used for political, religious, and royal functions.

Umbrellas for tourism

Borsang umbrella center is located at  111/2 M.3 Borsang-Doi Saket Road, Sankambheng, Chiang Mai, Thailand 50130. Coming to Chiang Mai is not complete without dropping by Borsang, the umbrella capital of Thailand. Umbrellas come with variety of sizes, with attractive and vibrant colors, and one of a kind designs. They have got umbrellas for ceremonial purposes, home and office decorations, keychain umbrellas, and also for protection from heat and rain purposes. Borsang also has other wide choices of souvenirs apart from umbrellas all skillfully handcrafted by Chiang Maians. Many says that umbrella making is a signature of Chiang Mai, and so one could never find these kind of umbrellas anywhere else in the country. So these legendary umbrellas are drawing tourists all year round.

Family Bond at umbrella making centers

For kids, buying umbrellas could be pretty exciting, well, for the first two minutes. After they have explored it though the excitement wanes out. And then it becomes a thing in the past.

What’s good about Borsang umbrella making centers is that they allow individuals and family to design their own umbrellas. Now you’re talking!

For an affordable fee family members could sit together and hone out their sketching and painting skills. Now this is truly exciting for kiddos and adults alike. They not only get to buy but also design something that they can truly call their own. Now this may not be the newest craze but it would certainly draw kids attention and would have them engaged for a long time.

It could be a half-day or a whole day activity. There is no time limit. Materials are provided after which you sketch on to the umbrella the design you have in mind, paint it, let it dry under the heat of the sun. And then coat it with water-resistant substance. Voila! Your own masterpiece.

At the end of the day, you and your children would feel accomplished and proud.

This is an auspicious opportunity to teach children,

*the importance of following instructions
*patience as you wait it up to dry
*the value of doing things on their own
*the value of appreciation and love of their own work
*the value of hard work

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Things You Might Want to Bring for a Countryside Staycation with Children

A staycation in the countryside is both fun and refreshing, there are however dangers lurking around the corner that we must be prepared of before going especially if you are tagging your kids along.

Recently we went to this beautiful resort located at the South of Thailand.  The resort is devoid of any form of city features except those in the resort itself. It has amenities resorts and hotels in the city have like Wi-Fi, cable TV, and fridge but it is situated out of nowhere.  You see nothing but nature around- trees, bushes, birds, flowers, and some others. There are no Seven Eleven’s nearby, not even a gas station, or a local convenience store.

Going to places like this and traveling with kids along, we usually anticipate the things that we might be needing. It is better to be prepared than be sorry as they say. Having this in mind, we have prepared the following for a smooth, worry-free in the countryside.

Things you might want to prepare for a countryside staycation with children with you.

1. Medicine. A child can react differently to a different environment.  The air might be fresh and clean, but there are other elements to consider such as pollens and dusts that could trigger asthma.  Since my younger son has not gotten rid of his asthma yet, bringing his Babyhaler and Seretide are a must.

2. Cream or ointment for allergies and bites. There is no shortage of mosquitoes. They were everywhere especially at night. They were unbelievably huge and persistent. Fortunately though, the rooms are well sealed. So we still had a good night sleep.

3. Long, cozy pants, and a pair of comfortable walking shoes. These are needed especially if you want to take a walk and enjoy nature or you might want to take photos around just like the photo below. Crawling creatures are plenty. And there are loads of fallen sharp twigs, leaves, and oh poison ivies.  I checked out poison ivy treatment at buyrhustox.com before coming, but gladly there were no poison ivies in the place.

4. Long, sturdy sticks. Before setting out for an adventure, bring any long sturdy sticks.  If there are bushes, chances are there might be snakes.

5. Other miscellaneous nitty-gritties like hats, backpack full of extra shirts, snacks, and a bottle of water.

These are some of the things that we prepare before setting forth.  Although needs may vary from place to place or from family to family, but hopefully these list here will help you in any way in your on travel.

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Unplanned Staycation: Rimlay Park Resort

Book your next staycation/vacation: Booking dot com

Rimlay Park Resort Review

If you would like to know our experience in this resort read on.

 

My husband and I work full time. Parents out there could surely empathize with us wanting to getaway and simply relax.  And in today’s busy and structured world, this does not come by easily.  Parents have busy schedules and kids’ have timetable full of classes from dusk to twilight, plus special classes here and there. With all these crazy sched in the family, finding the common time for a holiday is rare and difficult. Fortunately though, the previous week we had that rare time. And so we grabbed the opportunity and went on our unplanned staycation.

For us, a perfect staycation means staying in a new place with a nice accommodation, clean air conditioned room with wifi, fridge, and coffee maker, and most importantly a place with kids pool. So we hurriedly booked Rimlay Park Resort at Phattalung Thailand.

As soon as the booking was confirmed, we drove there the following day. Since it is unplanned, I forgot the kids’ life jackets. They love swimming but they do not know how to swim yet, thus the life jackets.  We ought to enroll them in a swimming class. And yes we will, it is important.

We got to the resort after hours of going back and forth exploring the outback. Yes it is in the countryside. It is a little haven in the middle of acres and acres of rice fields and forest.

The place is good and we rated it 4/5. But it does not have a proper kids pool unlike Haad Kaew Resort. It is actually an adult pool with a shallow area where adults could sit around and tête-à-tête while in the water.

Anyway, all’s well that ends well.  The kids had so much fun.  The accommodating lady owner lent them swimming aid noodles. Although short, but it had been a relaxing stay and an enjoyable one for the kids.

Rimlay Park Resort is a great staycation place for families or a getaway haven for group of friends. If you would like to know more about this resort, read Rimlay Park Resort Review.

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Explore and Experience

It was Visakha Bucha,  a Buddhist holiday where Thais visit temples to pray, when we decided to drive and visit Nakhon Sri Thammarat, the largest city in the South of Thailand. This one day road trip had been educational since our kids hadn’t only gotten to experience a Buddhist religious practice. We did not stay in some fancy hotel with kids pool which by the way is their most favorite activity. Instead they explored some ancient artifacts in the temple’s museum dating back to Bangkok period. This may not as outdoorsy as spelunking Phu Pha Phet or swimming at Wang Sai Thong Falls but it certainly is informative and insightful in terms of Thai culture and religious belief.

This is Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawihan, the main and oldest buddhist temple in Nakhon Sri Thammarat.  Directly in front of the temple’s right wing entrance is the museum.  Inside, you’ll find three large chambers where ancient artifacts that date back to Bangkok period were exhibited. There were hand painted metal cabinets of varying sizes, brasswares,  copperwares, glasswares, and chinas.  Aside from these, there were weapons,  textiles, a few preserved sea creatures, and numerous sea shells.  It is a great place to explore and a good reinforcement for kids studying history and marine life. Taking of photos are not allowed here.

This was taken just outside the museum.  A row of seating,  golden Buddhas outlined the entire length of this side of the temple. On the same chamber,  were displays of huge whale remains and other marine life.

Summer and Derick offered incense and flowers, and said their prayers.

 

Despite the scorching heat of the sun, exploring Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawin was a great experience.

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How To Survive A Road Trip With Kids In Tow

family-road-trip

Road trips are one of the most common choices for family vacations. Of course, that involves spending more than a few hours in close quarters with your kids. Before you hit the road with your children, take a moment to plan out how to get to your destination without losing your mind along the way.

It might not be the way you first imagine a road trip with the kids – your thoughts probably turn to backseat shenanigans and endless questions along the lines of “are we there yet” – but it’s entirely possible to leave the stress behind when you take your children on a road trip. The secret to smooth sailing on a family road trip is to keep your expectations reasonable and do as much advanced planning as possible. Here are some tips to help you get started.

Confirm Your Vehicle’s Readiness

Suffering a breakdown on the road is always irritating, but it can turn into a real disaster when you have a pair of rambunctious toddlers in the backseat. Pay a visit to your favorite car mechanic before you hit the road. Have him check the air pressure and condition of all of your tires, including the spare, as well as check your mechanical systems (including the air conditioner and / or heater, and fluid levels) in advance, too.

Consider Signing Up For Roadside Assistance

AAA is still the gold standard when it comes to nationwide roadside assistance services, but there are other options in the same vein as well. If you aren’t already a member of a similar service, you should strongly consider signing up before your trip. It may be handy to download an app like EmergenSee, too. This turns your smartphone into a live recording device (capturing video, audio, and GPS data) and sends it to chosen contacts or law enforcement officials when you’re in trouble. Also, check with your car insurance to see if they offer roadside assistance.

Make Your Kids Safe

Familiarize yourself thoroughly with the car and/or booster seats your kids need before you set off. Confirm they’re installed properly. You can find a local authority for this service by visiting SeatCheck.org. Alternatively, just inquire with your nearest fire station – most of them handle this safety check for free.

Bear in mind that the latest advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics is to use rear-facing car seats for children under the age of two. Kids should always be strapped in when the car is moving. If your children need a break from their seats, plan these kind of stops into your travel plans to give everyone a break from the car.

Always Have A First Aid Kit

Bring along all the usual items you might need to deal with minor ailments: Band-Aids, antiseptic, fever reducers, medications used by your family members, and perhaps even a little extra toilet paper for unplanned bathroom breaks.

Schedule Your Departure Wisely

If your kids are experienced backseat sleepers, think about kicking your trip off at either bedtime or in the early morning. Feel free to leave them in their PJs and enjoy a restful, quiet start to your road trip. Also, consider travel plans of others. Are you traveling during a busy holiday time? You may want to avoid heavy traffic by leaving at a time when you’ll hit big cities at their least busy times. Sitting in a traffic jam while on a road trip with kids is NOT fun!

Comfort Is A Priority

Make sure your children are dressed in clothes they like for the trip. Wearing PJs or other comfy clothes is always recommended. Shoes that are easy for your child to get on and off by themselves is another good tip. This makes stops easier on mom and dad. You should also bring along any familiar items that will help the kids feel at home (stuffed animals, blankets, and even favorite pillows) to encourage sleeping in the car.

Assign Seating

If you’re hauling a large family in a large vehicle, keep your family dynamics in mind when placing people in their seats. Break up fractious siblings by putting them into separate rows. This will be appreciated by both the youngsters and the adults who are driving. You’ll also want to consider keeping smaller children who frequently need help close to the front or near someone capable of helping the younger passengers.

Pack Snacks

Bring along as many healthy snacks as you can comfortably manage. Stay away from sugary, high-energy foods; your kids don’t need any surplus pep for a long car trip. Perfect road trip foods include raisins, bananas, rice cakes, Cheerios, and crackers. Try to avoid snacks that are messy or crumbly and that don’t require utensils to eat. But be prepared for messes, pack wipes and a small car trash can.

Plan Some Welcome Surprises

Kids love a surprise, and a road trip gives you ample opportunities to cook up some unexpected delights. Look for fun stops your family can make on your way to your destination. If you can spring something like a trip to a candy store or a water park on your kids they’re less likely to get bored and grumpy afterward.

Visit the dollar store to buy up a supply of small toys and treats. To keep everybody amused on the trip, let each child pick out something new for each hour you spend on the road. This stash of goodies also makes a great incentive and encourages good behavior! If you’ve got enough time, try wrapping up the treats in advance to make each pick more exciting – and time-consuming – for your kids.

Bring As Much Entertainment As Possible

While too much screen time is a bad thing for your kids, that rule goes out the window when you’ve got a long road trip to get through. Feel free to bring along smartphones, tablets, and portable DVD players to keep the children amused. Make sure you load your devices up with apps, songs, and videos you know your kids will enjoy. And bring headphones for each person!

Don’t Challenge Your Kids’ Endurance

The grownups might be ready to handle six hours of uninterrupted drive time, but that’s not going to fly with youngsters. Plan on stopping at least every two hours, if not more frequently. A clean rest stop can be a life-saver – the first time you pull into one. After the first half-dozen, your family is going to get bored. Plan out stops at local parks (the sort with slides, swings, and other kid-friendly equipment) as a refreshing alternative.

Preserve Bedtime Rituals

Although you’ll probably be tempted to jump right into bed after a long day on the road, try to keep up as many of your standard bedtime routines as you can. Bathe, read, nurse, and do whatever else you normally do at home to get your kids ready for a good night’s sleep. Bring the pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals in from the car to make the kids’ vacation room feel as homelike as possible.

Follow these simple tips to get your family vacation off to the right start!

Traveling by car with kids is plausible, and a great way to strengthen family bonding, follow the above tips when traveling with your children.

 

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Haad Kaew Resort Staycation

Hot and sunny Haadkaew Resort is comfortably situated a few meters away from the main road Singha Nakhon (highway 408). Overlooking the gulf of Thailand, this seaside resort has an idyllic, powdery, white sand. The long, vast stretch of this semi-secluded beach together with the aquamarine seawater in front is great for beach volleyball, wedding event and even a football match.  Away from the hustle and bustle of the city , one can comfortably relax.

Having a kids’ pool was the ultimate decider.  Although the staycation was for my husband and I to unwind before going back to work, our kids enjoyment was of utmost importance too. Besides we surely won’t be able to relax if they start acting up. Right?

So what do they have in store for us?

Well, since I have already mentioned the kids pool, let me talk about the pool then.  The resort got two pools; one for adults, and a smaller kids pool which is only around 2 to 3ft deep.  It is definitely safe for toddlers. Both are clean and tidy; and the management is pretty strict about wearing pool attire even for kids. Our kids hung around the pool most of the time.  They love it and wanted to stay longer.

And then, we spent our early  evenings chilling out by the beach. The kids enjoyed the single rope swings hanging from the pine trees. The sand felt warm  on our feet as we walked along the beach with the cool sea breeze gently touching our skin. The white powdery sand gave me a nostalgic feeling of the memorable island hopping experienced I had in Krabi and Koh Lipeh years back.

Next are the bungalows.  They have got the main hotel building and bungalows to choose from.  We chose the bungalows, and the main reason is we have got noisy kids.  Anyway, the bungalows which are auspiciously located overlooking the sea are attractive and colorful.  The one we stayed in was clean but it would have been perfect had the floor under the bed was dusted.  Cleanliness is next to godliness as they say.  It is essential especially for asthmatics like my family.  Aside from this, everything else is a OK.

Other amenities include, a huge cable T.V with English channels and an HDMI in case you want to connect your laptop to view your photos taken during the day or to watch movies in the evening.  They also have free WIFI, a tiny fridge with complimentary bottled water, the customary toiletry freebies, and a free breakfast.  The free breakfast was only good for two, but they let the kids eat without questions.  I love them for this. This is an example of little things that could make a family come back again and again.

It was a great stay.  It is a bonus that one of the staff could fairly communicate in English and that they were courteous and friendly.

If you’d like to see more of Haad Kaew, CLICK HERE.

Haadkaew Resort Information

  • Bungalows and the standard hotel rooms are a bit over a thousand baht (ours was 1,028.00 baht).
  • You can book them online with many modes of payment to choose from – paypal, credit card, LINE, international wire bank transfer, or book now pay later.
  • Email:  info@haddkaewsonghla.com
  • Tel. #:  0 7433 1058-66
  • Fax:  07433 1220
  • Address:  163 Moo 1 Tambon Chingko, amphur Singha Nakhon, Songkhla 90280
  • Website:  www.haddkaewsongkhla.com (the last time I checked it came back as error)

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Summer in Samal

When we went home to the Philippines for a month long, very much needed vacay, my husband and I decided to book a weekend stay in the Island Garden City of Samal or IGaCOS, the Paradise Island Park and Beach Resort. This is our childhood favorite resort. Since we were kids this resort has been like a… well… a paradise. It seemed like the name Paradise Island was synonymous to GREAT FUN.

Paradise Island Park and Beach Resort is located at Barangay Caliclic, Babak district Samal Island. Please note that Samal Island used to be a part of Davao City before it was declared a city of its own on 30th January 1998; some websites though, still use the old address. This resort can be reached via a boat ride from a port in Sasa Wharf Davao City to the resort or via a Ferry if you so choose to bring your vehicles to the Island with you.

In general, we had a pleasant experience. My husband and I definitely had a great time at the beach. We love the powdery white sand, the blue clear water, and the fresh air. At that time there were only a few guests, so it felt like we had the beach to ourselves. It felt like paradise.

However, there were a few inconveniences.

For example, checking in was quite a hassle as the resort is quite strict with a lot of things. They do have a rule book that you need to familiarize with or else your stay will be ruined. Checking the bags to make sure you have no food, drinks and/or spirits brought with you, as one of the rules in the book says “NO FOOD AND DRINKS FROM OUTSIDE ARE ALLOWED”, was a bit annoying.

It was like we were being searched in a detention camp rather than a resort. Children under 12 years have additional fees. It was quite saddening especially when all the other resorts especially resorts in Thailand would consider them free.  The food and snacks in the resort are delicious but rather expensive. The drinks and spirits are downright overpriced.

And then there is this, no swimming pool. When we were kids it was OK because we never really had any idea about it, but now that we have gone to other resorts it seems like a pool is a given.  Our kids were extremely disappointed. They love hanging around the pool. In fact it is the very first thing they always look for whenever we check in on a hotel/resort.

I guess we sort of overlooked this. We were probably unconsciously expecting it after all these years. Anyway, the beach was irresistibly inviting, even to the kids.  They had so much fun that they didn’t want to get out of the water.  That reminded me of our childhood days. It was a blast.

If you are the kind of person who wants coffee in the morning just right after waking up… you’d be disappointed to know that there are no hotspots or whatsoever in the rooms. I know it’s not really a necessity for everyone but it’s kind of good to have just in case you need one. No refrigerator. Yup… you heard me right. There is no freakin fridge. So if you bought a large bottle of soda or bottled water from the bar or restaurant, drink it while it’s cold. It’s not a deal breaker but it is definitely disappointing since these are the kind of amenities even cheap hotels offer.

But then again when we got to our room that morning Lo and Behold… The room was really clean. The toilet was well maintained. We were able to breathe a sigh of relief as my husband and I are really particular about cleanliness. We have had very bad experiences with hotel rooms even with the pricey ones in Bangkok and in Penang Malaysia. The beddings, the mattress, the floor under the bed are well dusted. We are very particular about this since my husband and kids are all asthmatic.

We’ve been to quite a few resorts and hotels may it be for long vacay or just a weekend getaway, all these accommodations have their own good and bad points.  Nothing is perfect as they say.  But perfection is relative to one’s needs and preferences.

So, Paradise Island Park and Beach Resort despite its imperfection and the inconveniences we had, it was still a GREAT experience generally speaking.

Have you been to any of the beautiful beaches in the Philippines? How was it?

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Krathong Making

Loy Krathong is a Thai celebration that happens in the month of November, wherein Thais float their krathongs in any body of water or fly Chinese lanterns in the air on the night of the festivity. However, prior to this, in schools, students make their own krathongs and sometimes join a krathong making contest.

Here are the materials needed in making a krathong.

  • Banana trunk
  • Leaves
  • Pins
  • Flowers

Procedure:

  1. Cut banana trunk into 2 to 3 inches chunks.

    chunk of banana trunk wrapped in leaves
  2. Wrap it with leaves. It could be banana or some other kind will do. You may also fold strips of banana leaves into triangular shapes resembling a lotus to cover the chunk of banana trunk with.
  3. Use pins to secure the decoration into the banana trunk base.
  4. Decorate it with different kinds of flowers.
  5. Finally, stick in a candle and incense sticks.

 

Thai people add in the krathong lock of their hair and pieces of trimmed nails.  This is to symbolize that they are want to drive off misfortune and bad things in the past.

 

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