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The culture of Ao Dai
ao daiAo dai is one Vietnamese word (like nuoc mam and pho), that is familiar to foreigners. Referring to the Vietnamese traditional dress, ao dai become a symbol of beauty and is recognized and praised around the world.

Cultural Origins

To track the origins of the ao dai, one turns to the Red River Delta. When cheo signers (Vietnamese traditional opera) tour Western countries, the audiences are enthralled by the colorful and multi-panel costumes. The original and most popular cheo dress is the four-panel dress, which was called northern delta. Until 1945, the ao dai began to popularize in the central and southern regions. In some areas in the north, people even wore ao dai while doing hard manual labor. The colorful four-panel dress is frequently alluded to in both folk and 20th century modern literature.

Lady in red

Pa Then ethnic1The Pa Then, an ethnic minority people concentrated in northern Vietnam’s Ha Giang and Tuyen Quang provinces, are known for their skill at producing cloth an clothing, there are about 5 ,000 Pa Then people in Vietnam today, all of whom live in mountainous areas. Like many minority groups in Vietnam, the Pa Then is traditionally nomadic. Their lives revolve around nature and the seasons, as they survive by farming, Cotton is their crop.

Historic Village Gates
Village gate1Quach Dong Phuong is a prize winning artist whose works have been exhibited both in Vietnam and abroad. H paints in a folk style. Born in 1961 in Hanoi, Mr. Phuong is also known as a photographer. Between 1992 and 1998 he took more than 900 photos of traditional gates in villages in Vietnam’s northern delta. Many of these gates have since been demolished. Here, Mr. Phuong explains his desire to document village gates.

“In the past, the village gate was closed at night to prevent evil forces from entering and harming the village.”

Floating bazaar

f“Can Tho has white rice and pure water

Whoever visits will not want to leave”

As this verse goes the southern delta region is known for charming its visitors. HF explores why: the floating markets.

The floating market is not only a center of agricultural trade in southwester Vietnam, but also a blossoming tourist destination. In the earl dawn hours the market is bustling, and as the sun rises high over floating market and row back towards rural gardens on the banks.

A legendary landscape
Tam_Coc_Bich_Dong1Nature has bestowed Vietnam’s northern province of Ninh Binh with dramatic landscapes. Sties like Tam Cac – Bich Dong and the stone cathedral of Phat Diem draw scores of visitors. Yet there are other, lesser-known sites that are worth visiting, all within an easy drive of the capital.

Less than an hour’s motorbike ride from Hanoi I entered a different world, the road passing through green hills and the virgin forests of Cuc Phuong National Park. As I drive through this mystical landscape, the words of the song (Suoi Mo” (Dream Stream), by the late composer van Cao, ran through my head Gazing at the clear Ngo Dong River running along the foot if the mountains, I could appreciate how this magnificent landscape would inspire great poetry and music.

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