Vietnamese Duo Wears Ao Dai Around the World

Tung and Quynh, a Vietnamese couple, gained internet fame when they went viral for their stunning photos wearing Ao Dai while exploring various destinations across the globe.

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“Ao Dai 100” is an initiative to showcase Ao Dai in 100 famous locations worldwide, in order to promote the beauty of Vietnamese traditional clothing. This concept was first conceived by 41-year-old Hoang Thanh Tung and his wife, Quynh Nguyen, in May 2018.

Tung shared that six years ago, there was a controversy surrounding Ao Dai in some foreign fashion shows, which caught his attention. It was then that he came up with the idea of using photography to introduce the world to the beauty of Ao Dai.

By February 2020, the couple had visited 12 countries and captured 28 photoshoots at various destinations. However, the project had to be put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic and resumed in 2023.

“Initially, it was just an album of photos from our travels. It wasn’t until the 5th or 6th photoshoot that my wife and I decided to take the project seriously, in order to share our love for Vietnamese Ao Dai with the world,” said Tung. “There are some regrets as I have yet to visit all the beautiful places where I could capture magnificent images. The goal is not to visit 100 countries, but rather 100 ‘destinations,’ and I have carefully selected the most breathtaking spots in each country to showcase to our audience.”

As of January 30, 2024, the couple has completed 64 photoshoots across 4 continents, 27 countries, and territories, resulting in more than 5,000 stunning photos.

One memorable photoshoot took place atop Nangkartshang, overlooking the peak of Ama Dablam in the Himalayas, Nepal. “This is my personal favorite photo because it was extremely challenging to capture. We spent several days trekking at an altitude of over 5,000 meters, battling oxygen deprivation,” shared Tung.

The photo was taken atop Ama Dablam in the Himalayas, Nepal. Photo: Hoang Thanh Tung

One of the most memorable experiences for Tung and his family in 2023 was their 18-day journey to Nepal, where they conquered Everest Base Camp (located at an altitude of 5,390 meters) and Gokyo Peak (altitude 5,483 meters). As novice climbers, reaching base camp was their biggest challenge.

In October 2023, another one of Tung’s two favorite photos was taken at Braemar Peak in Hong Kong, China. The photo features a red Ao Dai against the backdrop of towering skyscrapers overlooking Hong Kong Bay. Tung recalls waiting two days for the perfect weather conditions to capture this remarkable shot.

Tung considers this as one of his two favorite photos of the past year, showcasing a red Ao Dai amidst the skyscrapers of Hong Kong Bay. Photo: Hoang Thanh Tung

Among their most treasured moments in 2023 were the 54th and 55th Ao Dai photoshoots, which took place during their journey to Everest Base Camp (EBC) and the summit of Gokyo Ri mountain. The couple had to trek 150 kilometers, overcoming increasing altitudes from 2,800 meters to 5,500 meters in the Himalayas. The 54th shoot was captured in frigid temperatures of minus 10 degrees Celsius. For the 55th shoot, they selected the summit of Gokyo Ri, offering a breathtaking panoramic view of Mount Everest.

Tung and Quynh climbed Gokyo Ri steadily for four hours in challenging weather conditions, covered in snow and frost.

Tung expressed his fondness for Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, South America, the city of Jerusalem in Israel, and the town of Bethlehem in Palestine. These three destinations stood out to him due to their unique religious, cultural, and societal characteristics.

Tung and his wife have visited 12 countries and taken 28 photoshoots as of February 2020. Photo: Hoang Thanh Tung

Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt flat in the world, fascinated Tung with its unique natural formations. During the rainy season, the entire flat transforms into a massive mirror, spanning 120,000 square kilometers, reflecting the sky.

Breathtaking photo taken in Salar de Uyuni. Photo: Hoang Thanh Tung

During the dry season, Salar de Uyuni turns into a pristine white salt desert, surrounded by the Incahuasi island, home to the world’s oldest cacti, dating back 1,200 years.

In Bethlehem, inspired by the graffiti art featuring anti-war messages on the city’s walls, the couple chose to wear white Ao Dai as a symbol of peace.

The white Ao Dai symbolizes peace. Photo: Hoang Thanh Tung
“Ao Dai 100” aims to showcase Ao Dai in 100 prominent locations worldwide, promoting the beauty of Vietnamese traditional clothing. Photo: Hoang Thanh Tung
By January 30, 2024, Tung had completed 64 photoshoots across 4 continents, 27 countries, and territories, capturing over 5,000 photos. Photo: Hoang Thanh Tung
Charlotte Pho