Incense Village Hanoi: how to get there and is it worth it?

If you’ve found your way to this article, then you’ve most likely seen pictures or videos of Hanoi incense village on Instagram, TikTok or some other online platform.

With vibrant red, yellow, orange and purple bundles of incense laid out to dry in the sun, the incense village Hanoi offers looks truly idyllic and otherworldly.

And don’t get me wrong, seeing the colours and visiting the Hanoi incense village was beautiful and I completely enjoyed myself. However I would caution those who perhaps have too high expectations of what this Vietnam incense village actually looks like.

Vietnam relies heavily on tourism and what was most likely once a traditional incense village has essentially become a tourist attraction. There are still ways to experience the more “traditional” side of the incense stick production so I’m going to share those details here so you can make an informed decision on the big question - is Hanoi incense village worth it?

Helena in a cone hat sitting in the middle of pink, green and yellow bundles on incense

Sitting in the incense sticks

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Where is the Hanoi incense village?

The Hanoi incense village is actually called Quang Phu Cau and it’s not really in Hanoi at all.

Quang Phu Cau is about 1 hour drive south of Hanoi, easily reached by following the Truc Phia Nam road from Vietnam’s capital city.

Helena in a cone hat sitting in the middle of a sea of red bundles on incense

Incense village Hanoi: how to get there?

I would recommend two main ways of getting there:

  • Private or shared taxi

  • A tour

We found public transport to the Incense Village to be sporadic and very long. As there were 3 of us interested in going, we decided to hire a taxi which cost us 300,000 VND - just £10 each when divided between three of us.


Best Hanoi incense village tour

Helena sitting in a field of red incense sticks

Personally I think if you want more from the experience of visiting the Incense village from Hanoi then a tour is a great option.

With the tours, there are more activities and options involved that allow you to experience the tradition and culture of the incense village, which is difficult to do if you visit independently without knowing the locals or the language.

With one of the tours below, you’ll get a photography guide, and the option to visit a local home and try local drinks and snacks. You can try your hand at making the famous conical hats and local artwork.

You’ll learn more about the history of the village and depending on the time of year, you might be able to see traditional incense festivals - where the colourful bundles are laid out in public spaces and in shrines.


Everything you need to know about Quang Phu Cau aka the Incense stick village Hanoi

Helena in a cone hat standing in the middle of pink bundles on incense
Helena in a cone hat sitting in the middle of pink, green and yellow bundles on incense

We visited independently as a group of three people in a private taxi.

I love bright colours, photography and unique things to see and photograph, so while I enjoyed seeing the colours and photographing them, there are a few things you should know:

1. The incense that are laid out all year round are staged - this is an area set up for tourists to take photos of the drying incense, there are step ladders and colourful shapes and patterns made out of the incense specifically for your photography and you need to pay a small fee (I can’t remember exactly but I think it was about 100,000 VND / £4)

2. Depending on the time of year it is incredibly hot. We visited in July and it was almost unbearable, no shade and just portable AC units in the metal shed where staff were sitting

3. Most of the year there are no festivals or celebrations where the incense are laid out more traditionally. To experience this you’re likely to want to go on a tour who has connections and can show you a more authentic side to the incense production

4. If you just go for the staged area, it’s a fairly long drive for a short stay

5. There are traditional Vietnamese hats available to use as props in your photography

6. There’s not a lot else to do in the village, we tried to find an open cafe to get refreshments and couldn’t find one although that could be because we visited on a Sunday


Is the Hanoi incense village worth visiting?

Helena walking in between rows of incense sticks drying in the sun

Ultimately if you’re looking for an authentic experience, I don’t think this is it. Unless you go during a festival time or as part of a tour which shows you a more authentic part of the town, the locals and the process of creating the incense.

Having been, I don’t know if I would honestly recommend my friends and family to go unless they are very enthusiastic about getting specific, colourful photos in the staged incense. If you’re looking for an Instagram opportunity - it is definitely that!

But otherwise, it is a long drive for not a lot if you’re planning this day trip independently.

If I were to go again, I’d definitely go on a tour so I could learn more about the town and the traditions of the incense village. Visiting independently and just leaving with photos felt very surface level and while I love the photos - I prefer to have more of a story/understanding of the experience.

Unfortunately the people at the incense display did not really speak English so I didn’t have the chance to ask questions either.

Helena in a cone hat sitting in the middle of pink, green and yellow bundles on incense

Summary: is the Hanoi incense village worth it?

Is the incense village in Vietnam worth visiting? It honestly depends on what you’re going for.

If you want beautiful pictures and something instagram worthy - absolutely worth visiting.

But if you want more than that, you’ll struggle to find it without going on a tour and the 2-hour round trip from Hanoi might not be worth it otherwise.

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