Incense Travel - Culture & History

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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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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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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Bonding over Bia Hoi

Bonding over Bia Hoi

Living in the heart of a communist country, but the city is more of a food and drink paradise for foodie and connoisseur like me. People like Hanoi for so many different reasons including the French colonial buildings with green tree-line boulevards, the bustling Old Quarter with lively sidewalk life, and the welcoming atmosphere that’s just everywhere in this developing city.


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H’mong Shamanism

H’mong Shamanism

Shamanism is well-known a spiritual practice of the H’mong people in Vietnam, in which a shaman is reaching an altered state of consciousness in order to perceive and interact with a spirit world. The shaman then channels these transcendental energies and knowledge into this material world, to conduct ceremonial rituals, or to give a divination, or to heal members of their community.


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H’mong People in Vietnam and Laos

H’mong People in Vietnam and Laos

H'mong people have a population of around 1 millions people, ranking sixth in the list of our 54 ethnic groups. They first migrated to Vietnam about 300 years ago, here they have been known with 5 sub-groups: Black H’mong, White H’mong, Blue H’mong, Red H’mong, and Flower H’mong, accordingly to the color of their daily costumes.


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Tet – Festive Season

Tet – Festive Season

Tet Nguyen Dan, or simply Tet, is the most celebrated and important holiday in Vietnam. Not only Tet is a celebration of the arrival of spring and an occasion to pay respects to one’s ancestors, it is first and foremost a family holiday and people generally return home during this time. Vietnam has its own unique Tet traditions, which have developed over generations, and epitomize the country’s cultural identity.


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Religious Beliefs and Practices in Vietnam

Religious Beliefs and Practices in Vietnam

Vietnamese people are not just following only one organized religion, instead we tend to practice all the good things found in each religion. We are traditionally very much relying on the nature powers, it is both because we are superstitious and we are practical people who live on agriculture. Therefore, we worship various kinds of gods and deities, just in case!


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The Independence Day of Cambodia

The Independence Day of Cambodia

The November 9, 2018 marked 65 years anniversary of the independence day of the modern Cambodia, when it declared independence from France in 1953. Cambodian celebrated the ceremony at their Independence Monument in Phnom Penh. To mark this occasion, we share a brief history of this interesting destination ever since its declaration of independence.


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