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Vietnam Introduction

Discover beauty of Vietnam’s Culture

Country:     SOCIALIST Republic of Vietnam

Cities: Hanoi is the Capital. Ho Chi Minh City (normally called Saigon) is the largest city and more exciting industrial centre. Hue, the Capital of the last Kingdom up to 1945 is still maintaining traces of the old reigns. Danang, the most important city in Centre of Vietnam, with close town Hoi An and My Son. Halong with the World Natural Heritage Halong bay. 

Population: 84 millions. 54 ethnics. The Kinh (or Viet) ethnic forms around 85% of population and mostly inhabit in larger towns. A larger Chinese community of less than 2 millions inhabit mainly in Hochiminh City.

Area: 331,211 km square, roughly the area of Italy or Japan

Shape: Neither boot-shaped nor gathering hundreds of islands.

A huge "S" lying half-facing the Pacific Ocean as per a proud local expression

Land Borders: North to China, upper West to Laos, lower West to Cambodia, East and South to Pacific Ocean.

Sea Borders: Northeast to East Sea or so-called South China Sea, Southwest to the Gulf of Thailand.

Climate: Tropical monsoon. 4 seasons in the North, dry and rainy seasons in the South. Conditions vary North to South with elevation changes.

Geography: 75% of the territory is limestone mountains, the rest are river deltas, fertile highlands, and small deserts

Language: Vietnamese. Don't ask the local people do they understand Chinese naturally. Vietnamese is a tonal language using Roman letters together with tone markers - main problems of foreign students. English is the most popular foreign language and French, Chinese, Japanese are expected to speak at service points. Literacy rate is 88%

Government: Sole-party Socialist Republic under the leadership of the Communist Party. Important persons to name are the Party's General Secretary (Mr. Nong Duc Manh), the country's president (Mr. Nguyen Minh Triet), the Prime Minister (Mr. Nguyen Tan Dung). The leading offices are Politburo and National Assembly.

National flag:


Economy: Market-based economy. Second world leading rice exporter and coffee exporter. Other exported goods are rubber, timber, garment, shoes, seafoods, tea, crude oil, coal, and electricity.   

Festival: New moon and full moon days are main anniversaries at temples. Main Festival of the year is the Lunar Calendar New Year ("Tet") which often falls in mid-Feb. For 5 days to a week most of businesses closed except tourist points. Flower markets every where before the Eve. Temples and shrines are exciting with traditional anniversaries and pilgrims before and after Tet.

Vietnam is a stunning, exciting country relatively untouched by tourism but a delight to explore. There are many islands and beaches in Vietnam are among the finest in all of Southeast Asia, and its cuisine is very possibly the most delicious you will ever find. Between the bustling centers of Hanoi in the north and Saigon in the south, Vietnam is a slender country of jungles, rice fields, beaches and bays, mesmerizing beautiful and never less than enthralling.

Shaped like an elongated S, Vietnam stretches the length of the Indochinese Peninsula and covers a surface area of 128,000 square miles. China lies to the north, Laos and Cambodia to the west, and the South China Sea to the east.

The culture and people of Vietnam are very hard to describe unless you have actually experienced them. The people of Vietnam have a unique and fascinating culture that has been shaped by thousands of years of history. Their culture has been influenced by many other civilizations: the ancient peoples that once inhabited the land, the Chinese, the French, and most recently, the Americans and Russians. From all these outside influences, and centuries of war, oppression, and hardship, they have formed, and maintained their culture.

Buzzing motorbikes, packed with people, animals and whatever else fits on them. Screaming horns. Strenuous street hawkers. The air a mélange of all kinds of different smells. From Hanoi, the cultural hub in the North, to gleaming Saigon in the South - a slumbering country on the move, Vietnam with its bustling cities will captivate you.

North Vietnam – Hanoi

Hà Nội, literally the “city between the rivers”, is the capital and second biggest city of Viet Nam. The historical Old Town, the colonial French Quarter, ancient temples of more than thousand years of age and various scenic lakes and landmarks make up one of the most fascinating cities of Southeast Asia, with a mix of Chinese and French influences enriching the vibrant Vietnamese culture.

Hanoi ranks among the world's most attractive and interesting cities. Originally named Thang Long or "City of the Ascending Dragon," the city was first the capital of Vietnam in A.D. 1010 and has had many names until its current incarnation.

Central Vietnam -  Hue

In the heart of the coastal provinces, between North and South Vietnam, is the imperial city of Hue, a non-westernized enclave of Vietnam's traditions and an important repository of its ancient past. Dominated by majestic temples, ancient tombs, and the imperial citadel, Hue is a place in which time seems to have stopped. In the inland highlands of Central Vietnam are found many of Vietnam's ethnic minority groups.

Hue is included on the UNESCO list as a World Heritage Site.

South Vietnam – Ho Chi Minh City

Westernized, bustling, cosmopolitan Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, is Vietnam's largest city. Inside this dense, teeming metropolis are countless links to the past, including a number of notable shrines and temples.

Located on the Saigon River, Ho Chi Minh City is Vietnam's major port and largest city, with an estimated population of over eight million people, most of whom cruise the town's clogged arteries on an estimated three million motorbikes. True to its reputation, the city is noisy, crowded, and dirty, but the central business district is rapidly developing in steel-and-glass precision to rival any city on the globe. 

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