I Love Viet Nam Travel website






330.991 square km

83.500 million


Vietnam lies on the eastern seaboard of the Indochina peninsula. It borders China to the north and Laos and Cambodia to the west. To the east and south lies what the Vietnamese call the East Sea. Mountains and hills cover four-fifths of Vietnam’s territory with the Truong Son range stretching over 1,400km. Mount Fansipan (3,142km) is the highest peak in Southeast Asia.

The most populated areas in Vietnam are the lowland alluvial plains, the Red River Delta in the North and the Mekong Delta in the South. Vietnam’s two biggest rivers, the Red River and the Mekong River, respectively discharge 122, 109 cubic meters and 1.4 million cubic meters of water. Vietnam’s 3,260km-long coastline features beautiful beaches like Tra Co, Lang Co, Nha Trang, Vung Tau, and Ha Tien, National parks include Ba Vi, Cat Ba and Cuc Phuong in the North, Bach Ma in the Center and Cat Tien in the South.

Ha Noi. The capital of Vietnam, is located at 20o - 25o latitude North and 105o - 30o longitude East in the plains of North Vietnam, where they are many rivers flowing eastward to the sea. Hanoi is a convenient transport cluster for all the northern provinces. Smaller, quieter, greener and more dignified than Ho Chi Minh City, the capital of the nation can sometimes look like a provincial French city. The city remains quiet enough for cycling, which is the ideal means of getting around. Places to visit include the fascinating 11th -century Van Mieu - Temple of Literature (site of the first University of Vietnam), Tran Quoc Pagoda and the Mausoleum of President Ho Chi Minh.

Hai Phong. Situated on the gulf of Tonkin, Hai Phong is the largest port in North Vietnam and 100 km east of Hanoi. Hai Phong is the getaway to Ha Long Bay either by boat through Cat Ba Island or by road. Cat Ba Island lies 30 km east of Hai Phong. Its diverse ecosystems include tropical evergreen forests, freshwater swamp forests, coastal mangroves, freshwater lakes and waterfalls, grottoes, caves, sandy beaches and offshore coral reefs. It is home to monkeys, boars, deer, squirrels and hedgehogs, and its offshore waters; are heavily populated by fish, mollusks, seals and dolphins.

Ha Long Bay. 170 km east of Hanoi, a picturesque landscape of sea and sky, considered a beautiful wonder on earth and recognized as World Heritage by UNESCO. It is composed of more than 3000 islets over an area of 150 km with many beautiful caves, grottoes, lakes and beaches.

Hoa Binh. 70 km west of Hanoi, Hoa Binh region is rich in beautiful landscapes and is a unique melting pot of the different ethnic minorities in Vietnam (Thai, Tay, Muong, H'mong).

Located at an altitude of 1600m in the remote North - Western Highlands, Sapa attracts many visitors. It was built as a hill station for the French in 1922, but went into a long decline from which it has only recently recovered. More and more travelers are braving the bad roads and flocking here for the climate and to visit the hill tribes (mostly H'mong, Dao and Kinh people) who live in the area. The Saturday market is the best place to buy handicrafts. Just 9km from Sapa, is Fansipan (3143m), which is the highest mountain in Vietnam.


Central Highlands. The western region of the Central Highlands area, along the border with Cambodia and Laos, still sees visitors. The varied agriculture region and the presence of up to 31 distinct ethnic groups make it a fascinating destination. Buon Ma Thuot, Pleiku, and Kontum are made up of ethnic minority groups, while Tua and Ban Don societies are matrilineal and matrilocal.

Hue. Located in the middle part of the country and often referred to as the most beautiful city of Vietnam, Hue was the capital of the country from 1802 to 1945. It has long been a major cultural, religious and educational center. The remains of the Citadel, constructed by the Emperor Gia Long from 1804 and surrounded by moats, contains many interesting sights. Here you will see the Nine Holy Cannons, the Imperial Enclosure, the Palace of Supreme Harmony and the Halls of the Mandarins. Sadly, the intriguing Purple Forbidden City was largely destroyed during the American War. About 15 km south of Hue are the intringuing Royal Tombs. Hue has many other places of religious and dynastic importance, and some interesting museums. If you want to get out of the city for a swim, head 13 km northeast to Thuan An Beach, where there is a lagoon, a hotel and the possibility of sampan trips up the Perfurne River.

Da Nang. Founded in 1888 and called Tourane by the French, Da Nang has long been the busiest port and is now the main city in central Vietnam. Except for a few architectural remains of the French colonial period and the famous Cham Museum, the city is mainly an active business city and port. In the outskirts, the most famous beaches of Vietnam offer great opportunities for relaxation. China Beach and My Khe Beach were famous during the American War as the rest and recreation destination for G.I.s and are also outstanding for surfing.

Hoi An. An important river port 30 km south of Da Nang, Hoi An, is rich in history and has a unique character. It was a contemporary of Macau, attracting Dutch, Portuguese, Chinese and Japanese trading vessels, and it retains the feel of centuries past. Its magnificent collection of almost 850 older structures and intact streetscapes just beg to be explored. They include homes of merchants, pagodas, public buildings and a whole city block of colonnaded French buildings.

Nha Trang. Although it could well develop into a flashy resort similar to Pattaya Beach of Thailand, Nha Trang is still fairly quiet. With clear turquoise waters, snorkeling and diving are prime activities, and just relaxing on the beach is an experience in itself. There are also some interesting sites nearby, such as the Cham Towers of Po Nagar, built between the 7th and 12th centuries on a site that had been used for Hindu worship as early as the 2nd Century. Nha Trang, the main city of Khanh Hoa province, is famed as the finest city beach in Vietnam. The town is also a key transport crossroads, with Cam Ranh harbor, Nha Trang airport and good access to roads and railways. The vibrant local economy is based on fishing, tourism, foredstry products and its comprehensive infrastructure. Ethnic minorities include the Ede, the Cham and the Raglai. Places to visit, includes: Ponagar Cham Towers, Nha Trang Cathedral and Hon Chong.

Da Lat. A city of Lam Dong Province, is located on the Lang Bian Highlands, at the altitude of 1,500m above sea level, 300 km from Ho Chi Minh City and 110 km from the East Sea. Endowed with a favorable climate and a spectacular landscape by nature, the city enjoys fresh air and cool weather all the year round. It is a peaceful place famous for its green pine forests, colorful flowers and fruit the whole year. Rolling hills and fertile valleys are dotted with lakes and thousands of villas nestling in the pine trees. In the distance, water from high peaks flows into inviting rivulets and imposing waterfalls.



Ho Chi Minh (Saigon). Ho Chi Minh City is the economic capital of Vietnam. It is a bustling, dynamic and industrious center and, by far, the most populous city of the country (7 million). The streets, where much of the life of the city takes place, are a myriad of shops, stalls, stands-on-wheels and vendors selling wares spread out on sidewalks. The city churns, ferments, bubbles and fumes. Yet within the teeming metropolis are the timeless traditions and beauty of an ancient culture. Sights include the Giac Lam Pagoda, the neo-Romanesque Notre-Dame Cathedral, former South Vietnam Presidential Palace and Chinatown.

Cu Chi Tunnels. 75 km, north west of Ho Chi Minh City, is a 215-km tunnel which started in 1930 as a series of underground shelters, where the revolutionary resistance fighters against the French lived. Later in the War against the Americans, the networks of tunnels were constructed, stretching as far as Saigon River and the Cambodian border. They contained meeting halls, bedrooms for the guerillas, food and weapon storage, area, kitchens and field hospitals.


Mekong Delta. In Vietnam, the mighty Mekong is divided into nine tributaries, which the Vietnamese call Dong Bang Song Cuu Long or The Nine Dragons Delta. To understand life in the Mekong Delta you must float down its slow, shimmering waterways. Here, all life still depends on the river. Not only is the river the source of all nourishment, but it is also the marketplace. In the floating market of Can Tho you will find evidence of rich rice crop, as well as abundant fish, fruit and vegetables. And you will get a sense of the role of the river as a highway. It remains the key link of the delta to the outside world. The pace of life remains slow in the Mekong Delta, the daily routine little changed for centuries. As you drift down the small canals which crisscross the area, modern life and its worries will seem a world away.

My Tho. 70 km from Saigon offers beautiful riverside views and immense rice fields. A boat cruise on the Mekong River to visit orchards on islands, a coconut candy workshop and a bee-keeping farm is an excellent trip.

Can Tho. The capital of the Mekong Delta, 170 km south of Saigon, is famous for its floating market and for the Khmer pagoda. Visitors can take a boat cruise to visit the bustling floating market and enjoy the tranquil beauty of the riverbank orchards.

Ha Tien is a small town on the Gulf of Thailand, 8 km from the Cambodian border. The area, famous for its nearby white sand beaches and fishing villages, is also known for its production of seafood, black pepper and items made from the shells of sea turtles. All around the area are lovely, towering limestone formations that give this place a very different appearance from the rest of the Mekong Delta region.

Chau Doc. Gateway to Cambodia thought Mekong River Located deep into the Mekong Delta, at the Three River crossing made by the Hau River. Once part of Cambodia, Chau Doc, an attractive bustling riverside town, is the home of the Cham and Khmer cultures, of floating fish farmhouses and the Islamic Cham minority settlement. It is an area of outstanding cultural richness and beauty.

Phu Quoc Island. A mountainous and forested Phu Quoc Island is in the Gulf of Thailand, 45 km west of Ha Tien and 15 km south of the coast of Cambodia. This tear-shaped island is ringed with some of the most incredibly beautiful beaches in Vietnam. There are fantastic views of underwater marine life through the transparent blue green waters.

Coal, iron, aluminum, tin, appetite, oil.
Agricultural and forestry products: Rice, maize, sweet potatoes, peanuts, soy beans, rubber, lacquer, coffee, tea, tobacco, cotton, coconut, sugar cane, jute, and tropical and subtropical fruit.

Vietnam is essentially a tropical country with a humid monsoon climate. The annual mean temperature is over 20 degrees Celsius throughout the country (Hanoi 23.4 C, Hue 25.1C, Ho Chi Minh City 26.9C). In July, the average temperature in Hanoi is 28.6C, in Hue 28.9C, and in Ho Chi Minh City 27.6C. Lowland areas receive around 1,500 mm of rain per year, while mountainous areas receive 2,000 to 3,000 mm. Humidity can reach 90 percent in the rainy season.

Cool and dry from November to April and hot and rainy from May to October. The difference between summer and winter temperatures is dramatic in the North (varying up to 12 degrees Celsius). The South is warm year-round, with seasonal variations in temperature averaging just three degrees Celsius.

Vietnam has four major cities; Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Phong and Da Nang, and 57 provinces.

Vietnam’s history may be divided into five periods:
Prehistory: There is evidence of human settlement in northern Vietnam as far back as 500,000-300,000 BC. In the third century BC King An Duong founded Au Viet.
Chinese occupation: Northern Vietnam was occupied by China from 189BC to 939AD.
Independence: Local kings ruled the area from 939 to 1860AD.
French Colonialism: The French colonized Vietnam from 1860 to 1945.
Independence: The Socialist Republic of Vietnam was founded following the 1945 Revolution, when President Ho Chi Minh declared independence.

There are 54 ethnic groups living in Vietnam. The Viet or Kinh people account for 88 percent of Vietnam’s population and are mostly concentrated in the lowlands. In contrast, most of the country’s 5.5 million ethnic minority peoples live in mountainous areas. Major groups include the Tay (960,000); the Nung (152,000); the Thai (770,000); the Muong (700,000); the H’mong (441,000); the Dao (340,000); the Hoa (930,000); the Khmer (720,000); the Bana (100,000); the Giarai (184,000); and the Ede (140,000).

The three main religious influences in Vietnam are Buddhism, Confucianism and the Cult of Mother-Worshipping.

More than 80 percent of the population speaks Vietnamese or Kinh/Viet, the national language. Many ethnic minority people speak Kinh and their own native language. Three scripts have influenced Vietnam’s history: - Chinese Han ideograms were used until the beginning of the 20th century; - The Nom script, created between the 11th to 14th centuries, was derived from Han script to transcribe the popular national language; - European missionaries in the 17th century first developed quoc ngu, the Romanised transcription of the Vietnamese language used to this day.

I Love Viet Nam Travel website