vietnam travel covid 19 updates

Stay updated with the latest news of the COVID-19 situation in Vietnam and information for traveling to Vietnam. Read more here.

Vietnam Travel Information

i Tour Vietnam | Top-rated private Ho Chi Minh City tours and Vietnam travel guides.

How to Make Incense


Incense has been invented and used for a very long time, about 6,000 years ago, yet the types of incense that have been varied widely since then and the process of making it remain very simple.

Incense Alterations

There are many ways to categorize incense, basing on its smells, shapes, or ingredients. In this article, incense will be divided into two main types according to the making process and the usage: combustible incense and non-combustible incense.

Combustible incense (cone, stick and coil incense): this type has a glue material and a combustible material that is mixed together to make the incense. This makes combustible incense burn slower and easy to use. There are two forms of combustible incense, the straight stick and the spiral one. They are usually used for religious purposes; therefore, you can easily see it while getting around churches or temples in Vietnam.

Incense stick

Stick incense

Incense coil

Coil incense

Incense cone

Buy Cone incense

Non-combustible incense (commonly known as loose incense): this one is less popular in Vietnam than the first one because of its more complex use.

Incense 1

Loose incense is a mixture of many herbs

How to Make Incense

Both kinds of incense are extremely easy to make. Moreover, the making process does not require much equipment. First of all, you need to determine what kinds of incense you want to make, combustible incense or non-combustible incense. Below are the tutorials for both of them.

How to make incense that is combustible


  • bamboo
  • bark powder from the O Duoc tree (a species that is similar to the Cinnamon tree). It is a tree growing in the southern provinces of Vietnam. The bark of this tree has aromatic oil and is able to stick firmly like glue.
  • wood powder that contains fragrances like Agarwood, Blackbutt, and Cinnamon

Firstly, split the incense sticks, which are usually made from bamboo. The bamboo should not be too young and not too old. These bamboo trees are cut into small stripes, then soaked in water and dried in the sun. This step will make the incense stick burn easier. After that, these bamboo sticks are dyed red underneath to make them more eye-catching.

Incense 2

Dying the sticks of incense in an incense-making village in Northern Vietnam

In the following step, grind the powder and wood powder to make sure they are smooth. This mixture will coat outside of the bamboo sticks.

And the last step in the production process is drying. This type of incense will be dried in the sun or air dried to reduce the amount of water vapor in them, ensuring they can be burnt easily.

Incense 3

Drying incense

How to make non-combustible incense (commonly called as pellets or loose ingredients)

This one is simply a mixture of ingredients which can be herbs like lavender or wood powders. You can combine anything depending on your reference to bring out the smell that suits you the most.

How to Use the Incense In Vietnam

If you use cone incense or stick incense, you just need to light one end of the cone or stick, fan out the flame and allow it to burn slowly. That is why this kind of incense is popular in Vietnam in religious rituals.

incense 4

Light the stick incense

In case you use loose incense, you will need to use specialized charcoal (not the type of charcoal used in BBQ) and a dish or bowl. Firstly, hold one end of the charcoal carefully (you can use a utensil instead) and burn it on the other side, you will see the charcoal spark and the flame keep moving around the charcoal. Slowly set it in the center of the bowl or dish. After that, sprinkle the incense mixture directly on top of the charcoal, which will heat the materials and release its fragrance into the air. This type of incense was common in the past in Vietnam to create a scent in the room, but because the way to use it is complicated, it is no longer popular.

incense 8

Heat the loose incense

Meaning of Using the Incense in Vietnam

According to archaeological documents, the liturgy, involving burning incense for the ancestors and gods appeared nearly 6,000 years ago.

In terms of religion, Vietnamese believe that lighting incense is the bridge connecting the visible world to the invisible world. Therefore, on the full moon day, death memorial, funeral, or Ghost Month, Vietnamese usually burn incense to remember and show respect for their ancestors while praying good things for their families. This is a cultural heritage, contributing to the preservation of values and national identity.

Moreover, in the funeral, when burning incense for the dead, there is a difference compared to burning incense for ancestors. According to Vietnam folklore, the new mortal should be offered only 2 incense sticks since the soul still remains in our world. Thus, three days after death, 3 incense sticks are inscribed with the meaning that the soul of the dead has left as well.

In fact, each number of incense sticks has a certain meaning such as:

  • 1 incense stick: symbolize the heart, often use when praying for peace or good business.
  • 2 incense sticks: praying for the salvation of the dead; used in the mourning period, until the funeral ends.
  • 3 incense compressions: there are many ritual meanings, especially in Buddhism, which explains why there are usually three big censers placed in the temple yard.
  • 5 incense stickers: symbolize Kim-Moc-Thuy-Hoa-Tho. 5 elements of the Earth.
  • 7 and 9 incense: praying for good things to happen.

However, 9 or 1 incense sticks have the same meaning, which is sincerity. It also means impermanence, an extremely important lesson in Buddha. Everything in life is temporary; the time of one life is as short as the time the incense is burnt out.

incense 9

Incense offering

The Use and Benefits Of Using Incense

Besides its spiritual use in ancestor worships, incense is also used in daily lives in order to purify the air, keep your spirit up, chase away the insects, ease your mind in physical training (yoga), and practice meditation.

Additionally, the aroma of incense might have positive effects on our health such as easing headache, relieving eye strain because of its soothing fragrance.

incense 5

Fragrance incense

Check out our private motorbike tours with professional local guides
for fun and insightful trips in Ho Chi Minh City!

family outing in ho chi minh city motorcycle

Summary of How to Make Incense

Incense has been used commonly not only in religious sites such as churches or temples because of its spiritual meaning which is deeply rooted in Vietnamese culture and Vietnamese superstitions. However, nowadays, incense is also used in healing therapies thanks to the invigorating aroma and its inexpensive cost.

Since its sophisticated smell, some people think the process of how to make incense might be complex; however, it is easy to use and extremely simple to make. There are several types of incense packaging and incense scent for you out there to choose.

Buy zen incense collections


© Written by Nhi Nguyen for

Stay Informed

When you subscribe to the blog, we will send you an e-mail when there are new updates on the site so you wouldn't miss them.



Guest - Timmy Miller on Saturday, 26 October 2019 14:00

such an amazing article

such an amazing article
Already Registered? Login Here
Friday, 30 September 2022

Captcha Image



This Vietnam travel information page is written by a team of professional tour guides in Vietnam. More about us or visit home page

Private Ho Chi Minh Tours

private ho chi minh tours

All tours are private, customizable, and led by professional English-speaking guides. For more reference, read our customer reviews or see below for the tour package in Ho Chi Minh that works for you.

Half-day City Tour

Night Tour

Food Tour

Saigon's Other Side

Shore Excursions

Vietnam Travel Information

Check out the necessary information for traveling to Vietnam

First Time in Vietnam

To Pack List for Vietnam

Vietnam Travel Adaptors

Major Cities in Vietnam

Family & Elderly Travel

LGBT Travel

Vietnam Festivals and Holidays

Best Vietnamese Dishes

UNESCO World Heritage in Vietnam

Responsible Travel in Vietnam

Vietnamese Culture

Religions in Vietnam

Ethnicities in Vietnam

Tipping in Vietnam

Vietnamese Currency Guide

Best Dishes to Try in Vietnam

20 Must-try Vietnamese Dishes

Unusual Foods to Try in Vietnam

Street Food in Vietnam

Vietnamese Grilled Dishes

Rice Dishes in Vietnam

Pho Dishes in Vietnam

Holiday Dishes to Try during Tet Holiday

Chinese Dishes in Vietnam

Dishes to Try in Northern Vietnam

Dishes to Try in Central Vietnam

Dishes to Try in Southern Vietnam

What to Eat in Ho Chi Minh City

What to Eat in Hanoi

What to Eat in Hue

What to Eat in Hoi An

What to Eat in Da Lat

What to Eat in the Mekong Delta

Traveling to and within Vietnam

Airport Arrival Tips at Tan Son Nhat International Airport (Ho Chi Minh)

Airport Arrival Tips at Noi Bai International Airport (Hanoi)

Major Airports in Vietnam

Taking Trains in Vietnam

Bringing your Motorbikes on Trains in Vietnam

Bringing Your Own Vehicles to Vietnam

Bringing Your Pets to Vietnam

How to Take Motorbike Taxis

Taking a Ferry in Vietnam

Renting a Car in Vietnam

How to Travel from Hanoi to Da Nang

How to Travel from Hanoi to Hue

How to Travel from Hanoi to Sa Pa

How to Travel from Hanoi to Mai Chau

How to Travel from Hanoi to Moc Chau

How to Travel from Hanoi to Cao Bang

How to Travel from Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai

How to Travel from Hanoi to Ha Giang

How to Travel from Ho Chi Minh to Mui Ne

How to Travel from Ho Chi Minh to Da Lat

How to Travel from Ho Chi Minh to Phu Quoc Island

How to Travel from Da Nang to Hoi An

How to Travel from Hue to Phong Nha

Vietnam Travel Itineraries

Vietnam One-month Itinerary

Vietnam One-week Itinerary

Taking a Gap Year in Vietnam

Backpacking in Vietnam

Expat Tours in Vietnam

Honeymoon in Vietnam

Vietnam Visa, SIM Cards, and WiFi

Visa Info & Where to Buy Sim Cards

Traveling with Wifi in Vietnam

Vietnam Travel Safety Tips

Travel Insurance

Is it Safe to Drink Tap Water?

How to Avoid Mosquitoes

Food Safety in Vietnam

Getting Vaccinations

Common Diseases and How to Prevent

Wearing Face Masks in Vietnam

Can Tourists Drive in Vietnam?

How to Avoid Scams

Travel Safety Tips

Best Places to Stay in Vietnam

Deluxe Hotels in Vietnam

Best Hotels in Ho Chi Minh

Best Hotels in Hanoi

Where to Stay in Ha Long Bay

Where to Stay in Mai Chau

Where to Stay in Moc Chau

Where to Stay in Ha Giang

Where to Stay in Cao Bang

Where to Stay in Lang Son

Where to Stay in Sa Pa

Where to Stay in Mu Cang Chai

Where to Stay in Kon Tum

Where to Stay in Da Lat

Where to Stay in Mui Ne

Where to Stay in Hoi An

Homestays in Vietnam

Find more hotels to stay in Vietnam below:

Powered by 12Go Asia system