Inside the 100-aged incense-making village in Saigon suburban
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If you think there are only a few landmarks in downtown Saigon to be offered, think again. There is a hidden incenses-making village right on the outskirt of Saigon not many people are aware of its existence. However, only the best Vietnam heritage tours are able to introduce you such precious gem.
The 100-year-old incense-making village
Where is the site located?
The vivid red and yellow shiningly reflecting in the sunlight goes just so well with the loving comfy smell on the streets of Mai Bá Hương, Thích Thiện Hòa, Vườn Thơm and Trương Văn Đa in the two communes of Lê Minh Xuân and Bình Lợi are the most recognizable features of this suburban incense-making village. Revealed by the native oldies, such career has been around for over a century. The act of making incenses mostly occurs every single day, yet the busiest time would come around Lunar New Year and national special occasions such as the Full-moon days in Lunar January, July, and October. These villages all belong to Bình Chánh District, where most of the mainstream Vietnam culture tours rarely reach.
Do you know such progress requires a painstaking procedure?
Apparently, there are up to various stages demanded to create a qualified package of incenses. At first, an artisan is supposed to dip the incense base into a red liquid. Accordingly, these red-dyed baes would be dried out in the burning sunlight. If moisture occurs, those bases would get musty and hence such incense sticks are not qualified.
The very first stage
The powder components come from different flora species and all well smashed. The incense makers are then mixing this composite with a saffron-color glue powder in order to create a proper agglutination. An incense stick and incense powder are the two most basic elements forming the final product.
Dried out in the Sun
What makes the village of Lê Minh Xuân gain a good level of attention from public thanks to the fact that its incense powder is made out of agarwood or cinnamon and rubber husk. Depending on such a secretive form in each family, their incenses after being finalized are able to release an authentic smell and brand. The shared common characteristics of these incense types are the fragrance itself, low burning speed and good for both human health and the environment. As a consequence, the villages of Lê Minh Xuân and Bình Lợi have been living on for over 100 ages. This is why a Vietnam heritage tour to this segment of the city is totally worth it!
With the help of modern machinery
In the previous time, most incense sticks were made completely by hand, which means the artisans were expected to use a wooden trowel so as to smooth a good amount of powder surrounding the sticks’ upper part. Later on, with the cutting-edge items and machinery were introduced, the final products have come with a better-looking appearance and quality.
The gaudy vibe of the village when Tết comes
As said previously, this 100-year-old incense-making village is seemingly active all year round, yet specific times in a year such as Lunar New Year or Full-moon dates would require a busier atmosphere. This comes from a fact that burning incenses is an essential part of offering and praying during those events. Inside the villages, there is one out of two or three houses following the traditional profession of making incense sticks. The largest incense factory at the site produces roughly 3000 to 4000 sticks, while the smaller ones give out approximately 500 units. These all are then transferred to the rest of the country. There is a broad range of incense-making villages throughout the country, yet the two venues of Lê Minh Xuân and Bình Lợi require the best tours in Vietnam to be specifically customized.
The colorful outlook
Given an off-beat location on the outskirt of Saigon, this incense-making village, however, can be thoroughly reached from the city center through an organization of some Vietnam heritage tours. Visiting the area would be an absolute insight into not only the old established village itself but also an authentic view towards the actual vibe of locals’ daily life in Saigon suburban.