Roadside stands just outside of Vietnam’s former imperial city, Hué, overflow with bundles of colorful incense. When viewed en masse, these harlequin sticks resemble a textured kaleidoscope. The smell of cinnamon and sandalwood blends wafting through the air as merchants craft the sticks before your eyes is intoxicating.
You can find these incense stands on the road leading from Hué to the tomb of former Emperor Tự Đức. We purchased a small package of sandalwood incense and later took it on our overland journey to Laos. In a spirit house at the opening to a Laotian sacred cave near the Plain of Jars, we set the well-travelled Vietnamese incense aglow.
While in Hué, be sure to set aside some backpack space and itinerary time for this short yet brilliant diversion.