Incense Travel - BLOG

To the Memory of Bui Xuan Phai

To the Memory of Bui Xuan Phai

Today marks the occasion of the 99th birthday of Bui Xuan Phai, who is seen by many as the most important Vietnamese painter of the 20th century. I want to share my clients’ recent visit to the artist’s son, artist Bui Thanh Phuong, in honor of his memory.


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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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Top 6 Rooftop Bars in Hanoi with Stunning Views

Top 6 Rooftop Bars in Hanoi with Stunning Views

One of the best ways to discover a new city is to be at somewhere high up with a panoramic view, where you can get a visual grip on your new surroundings while sipping on a local drink. Imagine being elevated above the chaos of Hanoi traffic, where you can feast your eyes on the magnificent views and watch the city transform from day to night. There is no better way to experience the city and to enjoy a sundowner than looking down from a rooftop bar in the capital city of Hanoi.


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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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Top 5 Pho Bo Restaurants in Hanoi

Top 5 Pho Bo Restaurants in Hanoi

On a recent survey conducted by the city of Hanoi, visitors were asked which Vietnamese dishes they had enjoyed the most, most responses were pho bo (beef noodle soup). That doesn’t surprise me, because pho bo is not only famous for its tenderness of the rice noodle, the texture characteristics of low fat thinly sliced beef and the sweetness of the stock attained from low simmering rich marrow bones overnight, but pho bo has also been a symbol of the Vietnamese cuisine.


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What’s The Vietnamese Pho Noodle Dish?

What’s The Vietnamese Pho Noodle Dish?

Pho, the Vietnam’s most famous noodle dish, is considered by many Vietnamese as the national dish, though it has been served mostly as a street food targeting common people in the last hundred years of its history. Not only in Vietnam, the migrations of the Vietnamese following the end of the American war have brought Pho to many corners around the global. Today, the Vietnam’s national dish has been capturing the fascination of people from all over the world.


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10 Tips to Maximize a Day in Hanoi

10 Tips to Maximize a Day in Hanoi

Most travelers to the capital of Vietnam with a booked package tour, but some only book flights and accommodations in advance while others prefer to go with the flow. It doesn’t matter which plan they have, my clients often ask me seriously how should they maximize their day in Hanoi, which I am very much happy to answer. If you happen to have the same kind of question in mind, here are my 10 tips to maximize a day in this exciting city.


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Food in Nha Trang Beach City

Food in Nha Trang Beach City

I flew from Hanoi to Nha Trang, Vietnam’s first beach city, for my business. As the country’s first beach city, Nha Trang has so many to offer to travelers, from long white sandy beach, clear waters for scuba diving to fabulous street food dishes with so many seafood options. Especially, seafood is offered in most dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.


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Street Food in Da Lat

Street Food in Da Lat

My wife and I traveled to Da Lat for last week, where we stayed in Da Lat Train Villa for 4 nights before heading to a resort on the beach of Mui Ne for other 3 nights. The weather wasn’t perfect all the time, but we were very pleased with all the food we got to try. Among the local flavors in Da Lat city, I would like to introduce 3 fabulous street foods to try; Banh Uot Long Ga, Banh Trang Nuong and Banh Can.


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Vietnam Weasel Coffee

Vietnam Weasel Coffee

Vietnamese coffee is internationally known for its authentic flavor, a unique combination of sweetness from the sweetened condensed milk and bitterness from the Robusta coffee beans. In addition to being the world’s second largest coffee exporter, Vietnam is also known as a big producer of one of the most expensive coffees in the world, the weasel coffee, which has its beans collected from weasel's poops. Have you heard about the weasel coffee?


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