330.991 square km
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.