Incense Travel - BLOG

North Vietnam by Train

North Vietnam by Train

Take a journey through northern Vietnam by train aboard the classic Vietnam train, which was built by the French more than 100 years ago. The country has been using the train to transfer not only the local people but also buffaloes, pigs, chickens and many other goods from the mountains to the capital city of Hanoi. Travel through the country’s scenic mountains then spend a few days on a private adventure in Sapa with an experience hiking guide.


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Where to Go in Southeast Asia 2020

Where to Go in Southeast Asia 2020

Asia is known as the largest continent in the world, both by land area and population. It’s home to nearly 4.5 billion people, more than half of the world’s population. The continent is too wide and diverse to conceptualize as a single digestible travel "destination", and we want to see it all. So we want to invite you to start with our hand-picked choices of where to go in Southeast Asia in 2020, which is overflowing with ancient cultures that would take a lifetime to fully explore.


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Confucianism & the Temple of Literature in Hanoi

Confucianism & the Temple of Literature in Hanoi

Confucianism is a social, moral, educational and political philosophy (or simply a way of life), which was initiated by the Chinese scholar, Confucius, who lived from 551BC to 479BC. His philosophy was later developed by his followers with the purpose of building a harmonious and peaceful society. The philosophy was then spread in Vietnam during the 1000 thousand years Chinese domination, and together with Buddhism and Taoism - they became the 3 main religions in the country.


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Where to Find the Best Bún Noodle Dish in Hanoi

Where to Find the Best Bún Noodle Dish in Hanoi

Much of living in Hanoi has to do with eating and loving some of the noodle dishes that have emerged from this exciting part of the world. Naturally, pho bo (beef noodle soup) noodle dish is a popular choice. If you’ve ever tried one Vietnamese food, it’s most likely pho bo. Made with beef stock and rice noodles, the beef noodle dish is a must-try on the streets of Hanoi. But there’s much more to Hanoi’s diverse noodle scene than this familiar noodle dish.


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What to Know about Halong Bay & Lan Ha Bay?

What to Know about Halong Bay & Lan Ha Bay?

Last weekend, my wife and I came back to Halong Bay for an overnight stay on a wooden boat, being a tourist couple. Those were beautiful days of the north Vietnam’s autumn weather, the white painted wooden cruiser was teeming with eager, and the Gulf of Tonkin sparkled like wrinkled cellophane. The short trip was my wife’s first overnight boat experience, so she was moving around quite often taking photos of the islands and selfies around the vessel.


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Pho Cocktail: A New Signature Drink of Hanoi

Pho Cocktail: A New Signature Drink of Hanoi

Gone are the days when a fresh margarita and Negroni at a night club or a glass of wine at your hotel bar were the only options for a boozy night out in Hanoi. Thanks to the game-changers like Diageo Reserve World Class, which generated an impressive group of talented mixologists, many of whom went on to open their own bars, so there is no shortage of spots to sip inventive drinks in Hanoi.


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Which are the Best Local Restaurants in Sapa?

Which are the Best Local Restaurants in Sapa?

That is one of the most asked questions I have as a trip leader, which I do love to answer. I like delicious food, so I want to make sure my travelers find their ways to the best local restaurants in the town. Also, it requires quite an amount of sometime to reach the mountains of Sapa, then beside enjoying the mountain hikes we should be rewarded with good local food available there as well. This article therefore shows you the best 5 local restaurants in Sapa.


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Our Trip to Ninh Binh, Halong Bay and Sapa

Our Trip to Ninh Binh, Halong Bay and Sapa

September is the beginning of the best time to travel Vietnam, as it’s the harvest time in the region. Visitors to northern Vietnam this month will have opportunities to see the golden color of the ready-to-harvest rice fields, spreading from Red River Delta to terraces on the hillsides around Sapa. On my most recent tour, I took my clients from Hanoi to Tam Coc, to Lan Ha Bay, and to Sapa. Following is how we experienced the destinations in our 7 days exploring northern Vietnam.


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Tipping Custom: Complete Guide to Tipping in Vietnam

Tipping Custom: Complete Guide to Tipping in Vietnam

Being a tour guide and trip leader for the last 12 years, I see that one of the most confusing things for visitors to Vietnam is figuring out the tipping custom. Unlike the United States and other western countries where tips are expected, and considered as a part of the wages paid, in Vietnam, tip is not a part of the culture, wherever you drink or eat. However, in the past decade, it’s become common to leave a tip when you are pleased with the services provided.


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What’s the Betel Nut that Vietnamese are Chewing?

What’s the Betel Nut that Vietnamese are Chewing?

On my Hanoi food tours, we often walk by a respectful lady sitting by the foot of a giant iron wood tree on Hang Ma street. Her name is Van, 89 years old and she lives by herself. Chewing betel nut in her mouth all the time, she earns living by selling betel nuts and small fresh aroma like pomelo, jasmine and areca followers. A common question I have from my clients is; what’s that betel nut that she is chewing?


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