sights uncovered
Travel with Tessa

Women Of The World – Vietnam

From traditional Vietnamese cone shaped hats ‘ Non La’, to the elaborate, handcrafted turbans and embroidered clothing of the Red Dao; and from the baggy pants common in Hanoi and Hoi An, to the elegant Ao Dai for which Vietnam is famous; women’s style of dress varies dramatically across Vietnam. The contrasts, the detail, the colors, the accessories and the fabrics, create a fascinating, fashion, smorgasbord.

Northern Vietnam
A woman wheeling her mobile fruit store, in Old Town Hanoi.


In the market of Old Town Hanoi. The conical shaped hat worn by this woman is called a ‘Non La’: Made from dried palm leaves, bamboo or bark from the Moc tree, the hat is painted with a coat of attar (a fragrant essential oil made of rose petals) which keeps it clean, smooth, and waterproof.


Young girls, dressed in traditional Ao-Dai, glide along the streets on their bicycles.


An artist’s rendition of schoolgirls in their traditional white Ao Dai in spring, when the trees are laden with pink blossoms.

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Northern Vietnam – The Hill Tribes
The Tay
High up in the mountains in a tiny Tay village, a woman does yard work with her baby strapped to her back.


We spent the night in the home of the Tay woman pictured here pounding corn in preparation for the evening meal.


Tay women selling their fresh produce.


The Black Hmong


They wear, hooped silver earrings; some wear stunning silver necklaces resembling a round collar, which symbolize the slavery of their ancestors; knee-to-ankle black leggings; and black embroidered coats.

The Red Dao


Their red turbans are a work of art and a perfect example of their intricate and detailed handicraft. They are known for their fine needlework and herbal medicinal remedies, which are passed down through the generations.

Central Vietnam
Hoi An


Historic Hoi An is one of the most beautiful towns in Vietnam. The people are friendly and quick to smile. Women vendors carry their baskets of produce tied to long poles, which they balance on one shoulder.

Southern Vietnam – The Mekong River
In a village on the banks of a narrow tributary of the Mekong, this graceful woman weaves mats. She sits in a yoga-like position for hours on end.


The Floating Market in the early morning.


Southern Vietnam – Suoi Nuoc
Clothed in a bright tangerine jacket, her head crowned by a woven Non La, her shiny black ponytail cascading down her back –
this young woman epitomizes Vietnamese style.


Suoi Nuoc
In a seaside, family-owned restaurant, the husband does the fishing, and his wife prepares the seafood, which is cooked to perfection on small, tableside, barbeques. Their toddler is the sous-chef.


Disclosure: The photo of the young girls dressed in orange, riding their bicycles, was not taken by me.