Vietnam travel guide

General information

Vietnam is shaped in a long "S" stretching for 1000 miles from China in the north to the Gulf of Thailand in the south. The country's land area including water is about 127,000 square miles which makes it slightly larger than Italy or a bit smaller than Japan. The territory alo includes thousands of islands and islets scattered along the coast.

Population :                        85 million people
Total Area :                         329,560  square kilometers
Capital :                               Hanoi
Border with Cambodia : 1,228km
Border with Laos:            2,130km
Border with China:          1,281km
Largest City :                     Ho chi minh
Time Zone :                        Standard time zone: UTC/GMT +7 hours
 

Geography
Vietnam is shaped in a long "S" stretching for 1000 miles from China in the north to the Gulf of Thailand in the south. The country's land area including water is about 127,000 square miles which makes it slightly larger than Italy or a bit smaller than Japan. The territory alo includes thousands of islands and islets scattered along the coast.  It is broad in the north and south and narrow in the center, where at one point, it is only 31 miles wide; Vietnamese often describe their country as resembling a bamboo pole supporting a basket of rice on each end since. This image can also be seen as a metaphor for the demography of Vietnam with the heavily populated, grain producing areas located in the north in the Red River Delta and in the south in the Mekong Delta with a thin, less productive and less densely inhabited coastal region linking them. Vietnam is one of the most beautiful countries located in the South East Asia. In the North, Vietnam has common border  with  China. In the East, Vietnam is bordered by the Gulf of Tonkin, in the East and South by the South China Sea, in the South West by the Gulf of Thailand, and in the West by Cambodia and Laos.
Hanoi is the Capital and Ho chi minh city is the largest city.
 
Nationalities
The Vietnamese nation was formed through a process of two major ancient cultures, the Chinese and the Indian. Thus a peculiar trait of Vietnam's culture was formed. As far as anthropology is concerned the Vietnamese people have their origin in the Mongolid race, believed to be one of the major or races of the world and often found in northern and eastern Asia..At present there are 54 different ethnic groups inhabiting Vietnam, in which Kinh (Viet) people  accounts for  nearly 90% of the whole population, and 53 other ethnic minority  groups represent over 10%. Major ethinic minority groups include the Tay, Thai, Muong, H’Mong, Dzao and Khmer.  Nowadays, Kinh (or Viet group) concentrated mainly in  plains, especially in the Red River Delta and the Mekong Delta. The ethnic minority groups live in the mountainous areas. Each group has their own custom and tradition. However, they are all friendly and love peace.
 
Main periods of Vietnamese history
Prehistoric Era: Hung Kings founded a country and  Au lac Nation was established ( from 2879 to 208 B.C )
Northern Kingdom’s domination and the struggle for national independence ( 208 B.C – 939 A.D ): This period was one of the fiercest periods of hardship in Vietnam’s history.
National construction and defense of independence ( 939- 1945 ): This period was an era of revival and development in Vietnam. It was marked by victories of the Vietnamese people against foreign aggressors.
National independence and socialism ( 1945 up to now ): The success of the August Rovolution in 1945 under the leadership of the Vietnamese Communist Party opened a new page of Vietnamese history. The Vietnamese people continued their struggle of resistance to protect their independence. Vietnam has been unified since the victory in the spring 1975. Since 1976, the newly unified Spcoa;ost Republic of Vietnam was proclainmed, with Hanoi as its capital. Vietnam enters a new stage of peace and development as a country.
 
Language
The official language of Vietnam is Vietnamese, which is the mother tongue of the Vietnamese people who constitute nearly 90 % of Vietnam's population, and of about three million overseas Vietnamese. And it is the second language of the ethnic minority groups in the country. It is monosyllabic, with each syllable having six different tones that can change the meaning of the word. This makes it quite difficult for new learners. Beside the official language, each ethnic minority group has its own dialect that has been used and preserved in daily life. The accents and some words are quite distinct among the three regions of North, Central, and South.

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