Vietnam, sometimes spelled VietNam (/ˌviː.ɛtˈnɑːm/ vee-et-nahm; Vietnamese: Việt Nam, ), officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (Vietnamese: Cộng hòa xã hội chủ nghĩa Việt Nam, ), is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by People's Republic of China (PRC) to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea, referred to as East Sea (Vietnamese: Biển Đông), to the east. With a population of over 89 million, Vietnam is the 13th most populous country in the world.
Vietnam became independent from China in AD 938 after their victory at the battle of Bạch Đằng River. Successive dynasties flourished along with geographic and political expansion deeper into Southeast Asia, until it was colonized by the French in the mid-19th century.
Efforts to resist the French eventually led to their expulsion from the country in the mid-20th century, leaving a nation divided politically into two countries. Fighting between the two sides continued during the Vietnam War, ending with a North Vietnamese victory in 1975.
Emerging from this prolonged military engagement, the war-ravaged nation was politically isolated. In 1986, the government instituted economic and political reforms and began a path towards international reintegration. By 2000, it had established diplomatic relations with most nations. Its economic growth has been among the highest in the world in the past decade.
According to Citigroup the high growth will be continued and based on Global Growth Generators countries Index, Vietnam got the highest Index among 11 countries. These efforts resulted in Vietnam joining the World Trade Organization in 2007. These economic reforms also introduced inequality in many spheres of life in Vietnam such as income distribution and women's rights.
- Where To Stay
- Where To Eat
- What To See
- What To Do
- Where To Shop
- Outside The City
- How To Get There
- Tourist Info
- When To Go
- Travel Information
Facts all about Vietnam
A few interesting facts about Vietnam … The population is 83 million and the capital is Hanoi. The Government is Communist but only 3 million people are members of the Communist Party. Economically the country is one of the “Asian Tigers” with annual growth rates around 8%. The distance between Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi is 1700km. There are an estimated 10 million motor bikes on the roads and when you leave you’ll feel as though you saw them all.
When you should to visit Vietnam?
Where and when to go to Vietnam is an important decision because of the climate which varies greatly between the monsoonal north and the tropical south. There is no month when it is ideal to visit both the north and the south though we were fortunate in November/December, experiencing warm, humid and mainly dry conditions in the south, wet and warm in the center and dry but cool conditions in the north with rain not far away.
Getting around Vietnam and popular cities
When we first started to plan our trip we read various Vietnam and surfed the internet as we tried to come up with a suitable itinerary. In reality the itinerary almost writes itself and once you arrive you’ll be amazed just how easy it is to get around by bus, train, private vehicles with driver and domestic flights. All means of transport are easily accessible, efficient and extremely good value.
Dollars and Euros go a long way in Vietnam, for example you can buy an open bus ticket from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi (that’s 1700km remember) for just $28 US with stopovers in Dalat, Nha Trang, Hoi An and Hue. Transport and accommodation options are available to suit all budgets.
The route we followed on our first trip was as follows: Ho Chi Minh City – Dalat – Central Highlands – Hoi An – Hue – Hanoi and on subsequent trips we have toured the Mekong Deltand visited Sapa in the North. The majority of visitors don’t go via the Central Highlands but tend to travel north or south via Nha Trang on the coast which is one of the country’s lesser desirable destinations. Now it’s up to you to start planning your itinerary.
The map of Vietnam highlights the principal tourist destinations which together with our Vietnam Travel Guide will provide all the information you need to make the most of your journey.