Viet Nam’s Traditional Ao Dai

The In Country Tours logo consists of a Vietnamese woman wearing an ‘Ao Dai’ standing on a ‘monkey bridge’. But what does that even mean? Let’s take a closer look at the Ao Dai.

What is the Ao Dai?

The Ao Dai is the Vietnamese national dress, in its current form consisting of a tight tunic and long silk gown worn over trousers. In Vietnamese the words ‘Áo Dài’ translate as ‘long shirt’, and traditionally it has been worn by both men and women, but is more commonly worn by women.

The Ao Dai has become a symbol of Vietnamese feminine beauty, and is a symbol of pride for the Vietnamese people. The image of a Vietnamese woman wearing an Ao Dai dress and a ‘Non La’ conical palm leaf hat is widely recognised throughout the world and celebrated by travellers visiting Viet Nam.

Origin of the Ao Dai

Images of people wearing a version of the Ao Dai are featured on the Ngoc Lu bronze drum, the most famous of the Dong Son bronze drums, dated back to the year 600 B.C.! Although the style has evolved over the centuries, the dress style itself is thousands of years old.

Ao Dai in popular culture

For a very long time the beautiful Ao Dai had been a source of inspiration for artists and poets, cementing its place in Vietnamese arts and literature. The Ao Dai became much more widely known internationally following the 1995 Miss International Pageant where Vietnamese representative Truong Quynh Mai won the Best National Costume award for her Ao Dai.

Ao Dai in the present day

The Ao Dai has become a common choice of fashion for special occasions in Viet Nam. People wear it for weddings, for celebrating the Tết holiday and for other formal celebrations. Schools often require female teachers and staff to wear the Ao Dai, particularly in the South of the Country. Many companies require their female staff to wear the Ao Dai as a work uniform. Travellers can often see flight attendants, receptionists, banking, restaurant and hotel staff in Viet Nam wearing it. White Ao Dai are very common, but they are frequently seen in very bright colours and often with intricate patterns and designs.

The Ao Dai for travellers to Viet Nam:

Viet Nam is well known as a destination for high-quality, custom tailored clothing at affordable prices. Visitors can make the most of this opportunity and have a stunning Ao Dai outfit custom made during their stay. Tailored clothes shopping experience is a fun adventure but you can also have a beautiful and wearable Vietnamese momento.

In Country Tours can plan this as part of your itinerary in most major travel destinations in Viet Nam. Get in touch with us via ICT_support@incountrytours.com

Be sure to check out our article on the ‘Monkey Bridge‘, also part of out ICT logo.