The roadside stands just outside of Vietnam’s former imperial city, Hué, overflow with bundles of incense. When viewed en masse, these harlequin sticks resemble a textured kaleidoscope. The resulting cinnamon and sandalwood scent that wafts through the air is intoxicating.
We purchased a small package of this sandalwood incense in Hué, which eventually made the overland journey with us to Laos. In a spirit house at the opening to a Laotian sacred cave, we set the well-travelled Vietnamese incense aglow.
Tricia A. Mitchell is a freelance writer and photographer. Born in Europe but raised in the United States, she has lived in Valletta, Malta; Heidelberg, Germany; and Split, Croatia. An avid globetrotter who has visited more than 65 countries, she has a penchant for off-season travel. Tricia has learned that travel’s greatest gift is not sightseeing, rather it is the interactions with people. Some of her most memorable experiences have been sharing a bottle of champagne with distant French cousins in Lorraine, learning how to milk goats in a sleepy Bulgarian village, and ringing in the Vietnamese New Year with a Hanoi family. She welcomes any opportunity to practice French and German, and she loves delving into a place’s history and artisanal food scene.
A former education administrator and training specialist, Tricia has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in international relations. She and her husband, Shawn, married in the ruins of a snowy German castle. They’ve been known to escape winter by basing themselves in coastal Croatia or Southeast Asia.
Her writing has appeared in Fodor’s Travel, Frommer’s, and International Living.
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8 thoughts on “Photo du Jour: A Kaleidoscope of Incense – Hué, Vietnam”
I really like pictures in this style – I tried to achieve it with the colours of Morocco – Well done!
Andrew – thank you! SE Asia’s and North Africa’s vibrant marketplaces are so well-suited to this sort of set! I found these incense images rather reminiscent of the colorful Moroccan babouches (traditional slippers) too.
Lovely story, lovely photos! They do indeed look like a “textured kaleidoscope” :)
I appreciate your comment, Marina! :) They offer such fantastic aromatherapy, too, particularly when the scent swirls in the outdoor air. After lighting the incense we climbed to the hill atop the cave entrance and were delighted to detect it wafting there.
Such a beautiful photo of the incense. You really did capture the beauty of it! Suited the title!
Selamat Sore, Wibi! Your comments mean a lot – I am looking forward to your next set of images from Bali or beyond!
Beautiful! Riot of colours they are !
Cám ơn (thank you in Vietnamese), Sonali! I would’ve loved to have seen the incense sticks being made, but since we were en route to a particular destination, there wasn’t time. I had to ask our driver to pull over so I could snap a few images and I’m grateful he was patient, despite the incense bundles probably being mundane to him. :) Happy you dropped by!