Vietnamese traditional dress

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Asia » Vietnam
May 22nd 2019
Published: January 8th 2008
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The rice harvest in Mù Cang ChảiThe rice harvest in Mù Cang ChảiThe rice harvest in Mù Cang Chải

This is one of my favorite photos in Vietnamese traditional dress. It was taken when I traveled at the terraced rice fields in Mù Cang Chải (North West Vietnam) during the harvest in October 2012.
The Vietnamese traditional dress, "Áo Dài", is one of the most elegant and beautiful dresses for women. It’s very simple, consisting of a close-fitting blouse, with long panels in the front and back, that is worn over loose white trousers. As a Vietnamese girl who loves to travel abroad, sometimes I bring an Áo Dài to travel with me. Whenever I wear it, my Áo Dài always attracts friendly looks from both locals and travelers.

I once got a message from an Irish poster in the Thorn Tree travel forum. He wrote to me "You must get a wonderful reaction from the local people when you wear your Áo Dài. I think you would stop the traffic, if you were to wear it walking down a street in Ireland."

An Áo Dài can be worn with a Nón (conical hat) or a turban of the same color. I wish I could bring a Nón (conical hat) with me more often when traveling abroad, but it would require a great care, as this kind of hat is very soft and easily deformed. Certainly, a photo with a conical hat would have made the essential photo of a Vietnamese girl abroad.
Mỹ Sơn Holy Land in Central Vietnam Mỹ Sơn Holy Land in Central Vietnam Mỹ Sơn Holy Land in Central Vietnam

Mỹ Sơn Holy Land in Central Vietnam is a UNESCO world heritage site. This shot was taken in January 2008 on my second visit to the site.

Every girl in Vietnam has at least one Áo Dài, as it's not expensive to make. Whenever we wear Áo Dài, because of the long trousers, high heel sandals or shoes are necessary, it makes the girls look taller. The traditional color of trousers is white, but now many colors are acceptable. The Áo Dài is worn on such special occasions like engagement or wedding ceremonies, contract signing ceremonies or any special event. Áo Dài is used as an uniform at some offices, airlines or shops etc., and the white Áo Dài is also the uniform of Vietnamese school girls. You will see this uniform more often in southern Vietnam, where the weather is warm throughout the year. In northern Vietnam, its cold in the winter, so this uniform is not always suitable.

There are many Áo Dài shops where we could rent an Áo Dài for a day if we want. Normally, I buy cloth at the market then bring it to a tailor, but sometimes I also rent an Áo Dài for a day, as I want a different design and color. Some fashion designers have changed the traditional Áo Dài into a modern style without
Sunset over the sea in BruneiSunset over the sea in BruneiSunset over the sea in Brunei

Sunset at Jerudong beach of the 7 star Empire Hotel in Brunei Darussalam (May 2007).
the collar and sleeve. The new design is great, but I always prefer the traditional style. We can buy plain cloth and get the Áo Dài shop to paint any picture or flower on the Áo Dài as per our request.

Here are 110 photos of Áo Dài that were taken in Vietnam and when I traveled abroad during 2008-2014, after I was presented a digital camera (Ricoh) and started taking these special photos. Now I have 16 traditional Áo Dài of different colors and a modern Áo Dài (without the collar and sleeve) in my photo album. I like natural photos without special make-up and computer touch-up (like Adobe Photoshop). Thanks must go to my father, friends, tour guides, travelers and locals I met when traveling, even motorbike taxi, tuk tuk and cyclo drivers, who helped me take these photos. I hope you also like my Áo Dài.

Additional photos below
Photos: 110, Displayed: 24


The Taj Mahal - IndiaThe Taj Mahal - India
The Taj Mahal - India

When I visited the Taj Mahal, I wore a blue Áo Dài. An Indian photographer at the Taj Mahal helped me take this photo, and this is my favorite photo on the trip.
Nanning, China - May 2008Nanning, China - May 2008
Nanning, China - May 2008

Long Xiang tower (tháp Long Tượng) at Jing Xiu Shan park (công viên Thanh Tú Sơn) in Nanning, China.
The Temple of Literature in Hanoi, VietnamThe Temple of Literature in Hanoi, Vietnam
The Temple of Literature in Hanoi, Vietnam

Văn Miếu - Quốc Tử Giám (built in 1070) was the first university of Vietnam. This is a very famous place in Hanoi.
My first ever portrait in the traditional dressMy first ever portrait in the traditional dress
My first ever portrait in the traditional dress

This shot was taken at a studio in Hanoi in October 2014. I wore a colorful dress and a red turban. This is the 13th Áo Dài dress that I had.
Vân Long nature reserve, VietnamVân Long nature reserve, Vietnam
Vân Long nature reserve, Vietnam

The boat rower and I at the Vân Long nature reserve in Ninh Bình province, northern Vietnam - August 2008.
Savannakhet, Laos - January 2009 Savannakhet, Laos - January 2009
Savannakhet, Laos - January 2009

Wat Xaiyaphoum is the oldest and largest temple in Savannakhet, southern Laos.
Cát Cát village, Sapa - April 2008Cát Cát village, Sapa - April 2008
Cát Cát village, Sapa - April 2008

A great view of mountains and rice terraces on the way down to Cát Cát village in Sapa, north west Vietnam. My father is taking this photo for me, while my mother is walking down stairs with her blue and white umbrella.
Mỹ Sơn Holy Land in Central VietnamMỹ Sơn Holy Land in Central Vietnam
Mỹ Sơn Holy Land in Central Vietnam

Mỹ Sơn Holy Land in Central Vietnam is a UNESCO world heritage site. It used to be an imperial city during the Chăm dynasty from the 4th to the 12th century. It was a large complex, which was built to celebrate the divinity of the king. The 70 towers of red brick used symbolic architecture to reflect the various facets of the king's divine nature. However, after the wars, most of the buildings had been destroyed. There remain only some brick towers and ruins, but they still look very special.
Special Áo Dài Special Áo Dài
Special Áo Dài

This Áo Dài of red and yellow color is a special design for the queen in the old days or for a bride at her wedding ceremony. This photo was taken at the Temple of Literature in Hanoi.
Bhaktapur, Nepal - April 2009Bhaktapur, Nepal - April 2009
Bhaktapur, Nepal - April 2009

Myself and 23-year-old Nepalese guide in Bhaktapur, also known as the City of Devotees. This city was the capital of Kathmandu valley during the 14th to 16th centuries. At present, it's a UNESCO world heritage site.
Sydney Harbor - July 2013Sydney Harbor - July 2013
Sydney Harbor - July 2013

Winter 2013 in Australia
Terelj national park, MongoliaTerelj national park, Mongolia
Terelj national park, Mongolia

Mongolia is the 18th country I have been to. This shot was taken at Terelj national park (70km from Ulanbaatar) on my birthday in June 2011. In the background, there is a ger (Mongolian tent).
Wooden statues at Đồng Xanh parkWooden statues at Đồng Xanh park
Wooden statues at Đồng Xanh park

Wooden statues at Đồng Xanh park, Pleiku city, Central Highlands of Vietnam - December 2009.
The lotus lake in HanoiThe lotus lake in Hanoi
The lotus lake in Hanoi

I am standing on a small boat at the lotus lake in Hanoi. The man, who rows the boat with a pole, had to sit down to keep the boat balanced. I am holding lotus flowers in my hand. June to August is the lotus season in Hanoi. To take this photo, I had to wake up at 5am and went to the lake, as the lake owner only works from 5am to 7am during the summer time.
Hạ Long bay, Vietnam Hạ Long bay, Vietnam
Hạ Long bay, Vietnam

This is one of UNESCO world heritage sites in Vietnam.
Bhaktapur, Nepal - April 2009 Bhaktapur, Nepal - April 2009
Bhaktapur, Nepal - April 2009

Nyatapola temple, Taumadhi square, Bhaktapur city, Nepal.

11th January 2008

Ao Dai
Chào em, your photos of the Ao Dai are beautiful - they make me very homesick for Viet Nam! I spend most of my time in Hoi An - returning to Australia only long enough to earn some money! You have certainly travelled far & wide! What do you do for the company? Safe travelling. Mai.
12th January 2008

Thank you
Thank you for your comment on my Ao Dai photos. I have been working in the construction industry with the Japanese for many years. I can speak English and Japanese, and used to travel in Japan on business in 2004. I'm still new to blog technique and hope to write some travel stories about the countries that I visited and share experiences with other bloggers.
15th July 2008

Hi, I just came across your site when searching for images of girls in ao dai. Having lived in Vietnam for 15 years I still find the ao dai the most attractive and graceful dress on this planet. Nothing compares to it and it is pleasing to see someone such as yourself travelling the world showcasing this wonderful dress. I can understand the need for young women to wear western style dress these days but perhaps they do not realise that they all look their most beautiful when wearing an ao dai. For me, the ao dai, is the single most beautiful vision of Vietnam and it should be universally recognised as the dress that brings Vietnam's culture to the world. Thanks. Paul
23rd October 2008

Beautiful pics
Beautiful pics, sceneries and model. You are lucky to have a good photographer. Keep on traveling and keep taking those pics with your ao dai. Best Wishes.
1st March 2009

The Áo Dài is so simple yet so elegant - absolutely gorgeous! Regards Lorenza
19th March 2009

You have a beautiful collection of Ao Dai
You really have nice collection of Ao Dai. I love the accessoires you've used with them, pe the red one with a paper fan in HaLong bay. The violet one at Heaven Gate in Sapa has wonderful colour. One of my favorites is the white one at the Lotus Lake: it is just so pure. Hope to see your new blog soon.
16th August 2009

Your Áo Dài photos are very beautiful as is Vietnam.
13th September 2009

Hi, I am an American who lived in the Philippines for eight years with my family. I collect Barbie dolls of the world and when I can't find a national custume represented then I sew one. I was looking for images of vietnam and came across your site. Lovely pictures- and your dresses are beautiful. I am going to try to sew two without patterns so wish me luck! Thank You
16th September 2009

My favorite ao dai
September 15th 2009 Van Nguyen Hi, I really love your pics on the site.Ao dai is the most beautiful dress for the Vietnamese's girls and women.When you wear aodai on, you have your own personality.It is not only secretly attractive but also very sexy .And the views are the most beautiful as well.I wish i could see some pics of ao dai from 55 to 60 year old ladies.Thank
17th October 2009

Trip to Vietnam
Having just come back from my first trip to Vietnam I have to say I think your national dress Áo Dai is one of the most beautiful and elegant costumes I have every seen. I only wish now I had got one made for myself as I think they would be most comfortable to wear for any body shape although they do look very good on the slim Vietnamese women. I love your country and hope to get back one day soon as Thypoon Ketsanaprevented us from getting to Halong Bay and Hoi An Happy travelling Sandy
22nd October 2009

ao dai
preety dress cute rox fantastic cool lovely fashion nice colours
2nd January 2010

Beautifull Vietnam
Vietnam is a beautifull Country with many kinds of natural beauty, and very friendly beautifull people. I would like to visit Vietnam, and make many friends. and also see if there is some way I can contribute to helping Vietnamese people have an even better standard of living.
19th February 2010

nho nha
cho chi I am 15 and still going to school watching this makes me really miss vietnam I left vietnam and my dad since I was 2 I went back their once in 2002 for 2 weeks this really makes me miss the long beatiful ao dai of vietnam i really miss vietnam
23rd February 2010

Thanks for posting the pictures. I've never been to Vietnam but I hope to travel there sometime in the future!
24th March 2010

the vietnamese dress is very lovely!!
26th March 2010

thank you i needed imformation for my vietnamese clothing project
31st March 2010

you're very beautiful, traveller :)
10th April 2010

these dresses are beautiful! they are very pretty! Layce xxx P.S. we got the Savannakhet Laos!
29th July 2010

I miss VietNam so much
Thank you, You are so beautiful in ao dai. I live in France for a long time and I miss so much Vietnam and Ao dai. I had only one occasion to wear white Ao dai in France when I presented my project. At that day, every people in my school told me that "so elegant, you are going to a marriage ?", I only told that 'in Vietnam, it is a uniform to go to school, and I want to take advantage this occasion to wear vietnamese uniforme". As you know that Ao dai is so elegant and I am a his fan
1st September 2010
Mỹ Sơn Holy Land in Central Vietnam

Nice travel story
Hi, Very interesting story about your travel. Keep up with your travel and tour interest. U should also travel to Bhutan. Bhutan is really beautiful and I am sure you will like it. Get in touch with me. Cheers Karma
2nd September 2010

You are very good person
the world see how Vietnam Aoi Dai is very beautiful, thank you for you kindess Aoi Dai dressing is good culture, you work and work as Vietnam Model present just in special occasion only, city has move with modernity, Vietnam good culture because at present in city such as Ho Chi Minh City ordinary people wear Aoi Dai i would like Vietnam promotes more Aoi Dai dress in society as well in school city
5th November 2010

very nice all your photos,i love so much.i buy one for my friend she look so nice in it. By the way im in Trinidad and Tobago.
23rd November 2010

Brought back memories of a wonderful trip
I really enjoyed your stunning pictures - I travelled to Vietnam with my family - children aged 10 and 11 - we had a wonderful time - it was a very welcoming experience and we loved your country. We very proudly climbed Fansipan, the highest mountain in Indo-China -
5th January 2011
Hạ Long bay, Vietnam - June 2008

i really have a great appreciate with a vietnam girls whom were wear their traditional outfit.really look so beautifull.i live in South Korea and sometimes i saw her on subway or other place.and it make me"hmm i hope someday have a time to go to vietnam ^^" and i'm Indonesian..
18th March 2011

I absolutely love the Vietnamese dresses they are so feminine and beautiful, would love to be able to buy one
27th March 2011
An Thới port, Phú Quốc island, Vietnam

Wow! These pictures are amazing!... All 105 of them!
7th April 2011

Love it, dream it
It is unable to compare, love it, I can only feel the love of it I can not put it into words. I am so proud of it. Keep on the good job Chao If any one want to share stories please come to
25th May 2011

Nice to meet you!
Your blog is very nice! :x
4th July 2011

I love the blog and the idea of keeping the photos of dresses together ;-) I admire the fact that you wear them when travelling as well - very elegant and beautiful.
23rd January 2012

love it.
It's a beautiful dress, I love ALL your national dresses, thank you for sharing. Great photos and interesting writing.
7th February 2012
Special Áo Dài

Special Ao Dai
All your photos are amazingly beautiful...thank you for sharing these with the world ! Namaste'....
10th June 2012
The Taj Mahal - India

You look beatiful :) I like ao dai, they are elegant yet so flexible.
10th March 2013

i love viet nam
i love vietnam i love vietnam
17th September 2013

Hello Red River,
This is Kent Converse. Do you remember me? I am going to VN sometime in Dec. I am bringing my Grandson. We will be in the Vietnam area for six months. I hope you will let me and my Grandson Wes treat you to dinner when we get to Hanoi. Your effort, cleverness with the Ao Dai story was amazing. I am going to read all your blogs, study them before and when I visit parts of the world, you have written about. Take care, Kent
8th December 2013
Trấn Quốc pagoda in Hanoi

Could you please give me the phonetic pronununciation of Ao Dai,You and it both are just simply beautiful.
5th January 2015
Museum of Ethnology in Hanoi

Beautiful photographs.
Hello Ha. I haven't had time as yet to read all blogs but the photographs are simply stunning. Thank you for sharing your beautiful blog site with me.
29th September 2016

Original travel
Merci beaucoup pour cet article très intéressant ! On n'omet trop les codes vestientaires dans la culture mais sa a une place importante surtout dans les pays asiatique ! ON apprend beaucoup de chose grâce à votre site en général donc félicitation ! vietnam authentique
3rd May 2018

The most beautiful and feminine National dress for women in the world

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