Vietnam Information

THE SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM

Flag: A red flag with a 5-pointed gold star in the centre.
Mainland Territory:331,210 km2
Population: 90.5 million inhabitants as of 2014
National Capital: Ha Noi
Located in the Eastern part of the Indochinese peninsula, Viet Nam is a land strip with the shape similar to the letter “S”. China borders it to the north, Laos and Cambodia to the west, the Pacific Ocean to the east and south and the East Sea to the east.
Located in the Eastern part of the Indochinese peninsula, Viet Nam is a range of land with the shape looking like the “S” character. It is bordered to the North by China, to the west by Laos and
Cambodia, to the East by the East Sea and to the east and south by the Pacific Ocean.
The combined length of the land boundaries of the country is 4,639 km, and the total coastline is
3,444 km long. The narrowest space of the country in the central Quảng Bình Province,with just 50
km across, though the widest space is about 600 kilometers in the north.

Latitudes: 8° and 24°N
Longitudes: 102° and 110°E

TOPOGRAPHY
Vietnam has been considered a carrying pole with a hanging rice basket from each last point. The description is fitting for a single chain of mountain, the Annam Cordillera (in Vietnamese, Truong Son), extends from north to south, along the western border, joins 2 “rice baskets” by formed abundant Mekong River Delta in the south and in the north by the densely populated Red River Delta of the Tonkin area. Over 2/3 of the whole country’s population lives in the 2 low-lying delta areas, which both are composed of abundant alluvial soils brought down from the mainland Southeast Asia as well as the mountainous areas of southern China. The rest of the country’s population lives along the narrow coast of the Central, in the hilly areas of the Central Highlands, the north of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon, formerly), or in the Red River Deltas north and west mountainous areas. The highest peak of mountain near the northern border is Fansipan (3,143 m/10,312 ft).

CLIMATE
Vietnam is located entirely in the tropical belt lying between the Tropic of Cancer and equator and the. While there are some slight differences in temperature, depending on the altitude and seasons, the main seasonal variations are marked by the changes of rainfall.
In the north, the rainy season often lasts from the middle of April to the middle of October; Hanoi capital has an annual average rainfall of 172 centimeters (68 inches); and in the mountainous area, sometimes the annual rainfall could exceed 406 centimeters (160 inches). In the Red River Delta region, the daily temperatures could considerably fluctuate, especially in the dry season, as the thermometer might drop as low as 5°C (41°F) in Hanoi region. The average temperature in Hanoi is about 30°C (86°F) during the rainy season.
The south of the country is more tropical as throughout the year, the temperatures in Ho Chi Minh City could be varied just from 18 to 33°C (64 to 91°F). In the Central Highlands, the temperature are a little bit cooler, ranging from an average of about 20°C (68°F) in summer to 17°C (63°F) in winter. The rainy season could come with an annual average rainfall of about 200 centimeters (79 inches) in lowland regions, extending from early May to November. The typhoon season extends from July to November, with the most serious storms happening along the Central coast. Typhoons in this area could often lead to the severe loss of life and crop damage.
POPULATION
The population of the country in 2014 was estimated at 90,500,000by the United Nations (UN), making it the 14th most populous nations in the world among the 193 countries worldwide. In 2005, about 7% of the population was more than 65 years of age, with about 29% of the population under 15 year old. There were one hundred of males for every one hundred of females in the country. According to the United Nations, the annual change of the national population rate from 2005 to 2010 was expected to be 1.3%. According to Vietnamese government, this is a too high rate, despite the great success of family planning program in decreasing the fertility rate from 3.7 births a woman in 1990 to 2.9 in 2005. The estimated national population in 2025 is 103,187,000. The population density would be 251 per square km.The UN predicted that 26% of the population in 2005 would live in urban areas, and that urban areas would be growing at a 3.21%annual rate. The capital city, Hanoi, would reach population of 3,977,000 in that year.

ETHNIC GROUPS
About 85% to 90% of the socialist republic of Vietnam’s population is composed of Vietnamese ethnic. The racial origin of the Vietnamese are confused though several scholars believe that Vietnamese people represents a mixture of Mongoloid people who migrated into the region from southern China with Australoid people living during the Stone Age in the mainland Southeast Asia.
Besides the Vietnamese ethnic, there are 53 other ethnic groups who live in the socialist republic of Vietnam. Many, such as the Jarai, the Rhadé, the Nung, the Thai, and the Tay, are nomadic tribal people who live along the Sino-Vietnamese border and in the mountainous regions of the Central Highlands. The overseas Chinese (Hoa) are descendants of those migrated into the region in recent hundreds years. The Khmer and the Cham are remnants of the past civilizations controlling the southern components of the nation.
The ethnic Chinese is the largest ethnic minority of the nation, with more than 2 million of inhabitants. The Montagnards (mountain people) of the highlands in the Central is the second largest minority group. The Cambodians (Khmer Krom) has about 600,000 inhabitants, primarily living at the mouth of the Mekong River and along the Cambodian border. Other sizable minority groups are the Cham, the Tay, the Muong, the Man, and the Meo.

LANGUAGES
The official language of Vietnam is Quoc ngu (Vietnamese). This is a tonal language, and it has many similarities to Chinese, Thai, and Khmer, and at least 1/3 of the Vietnamese vocabulary is borrowed from Chinese. Whilom, Vietnamese was written in Chinese characters; however, a Romanticized alphabet originally developed by Roman Catholic missionaries under French rule in the 17th century was adopted like the written standard form of the language. Almost every minority group has their own spoken language, and some of them even have their own writing system, but every child in the socialist republic of Vietnam has chance to learn the national language. Other languages used by Vietnamese in mountainous and remote areas are Khmer, French, English, Chinese, and the tribal languages of Malayo-Polynesian and Mon-Khmer.

RELIGIONS
Buddhism is the dominant belief in religion. Nevertheless, several believers follow a mixture of Confucianism, Taoism, and Mahayana Buddhism; sometimes it could be called the “Triple Religion” of Vietnam. Though fifty percent of the population is commonly Buddhist, the Office of Religious Affairs under the government estimated that just eleven percent of the population is following Buddhists. As several people in Asia, people living in Vietnam also practice spirit worship – one type of religious belief that was especially prevalent in the tribal peoples.
Christianity was first brought to the country by Roman Catholic missionaries in the seventeenth century, sponsored by the papacy, the Portuguese, the Spanish, or the French. Lastly, nevertheless, the Christian faith’s propagation that was banned by the Catholicism and the imperial court just could be followed in secret. French priests were particularly active in attracting the decision of the French in the 19th century to conquer Vietnam. Under the rule of the French, the Christianity was flourished, and when this country restored its own independence in 1954, there were over 2,000,000 Catholics in Vietnam, a population that rise to between 6-7 millions in 1998. Estimates indicated that eight to ten percent of Vietnam’s population is Roman Catholics. There are between 421,000 – 1.6 million Protestants anywhere in the nation. About sixty five thousands of people are Muslim, mainly Sunni. About fifty four thousand ones are Hindu, most of who are ethnic Cham. The Baha’i Faith claimed a membership of about six thousand to eight thousand people.
2 millenarian religious sects, the HoaHao and the Cao Dai, have become popular in the Mekong Delta among townspeople and peasants. Both religions are based in part on Buddhism. The HoaHao has about 1.3 million of members. The Cao Dai has about 4 millions of members.
Since the reunification in 1975, activities of religion have been restricted, although the religious freedom is guaranteed formally in the constitution of 1980. Every religious group has to register with the government. This is a process published by the government as a mean of controlling and monitoring the activities of religious beliefs. The government provides official recognition to some Muslim, Cao Dai, HoaHao, Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Buddhist organizations, a designation which provides some freedom to openly operate throughout the nation; nevertheless, these groups still have to receive the approval from the government for every operation, such as the appointment of the church leaders.

CURRENCY
The currency of this country is the Vietnamese Dong
Denominations of Dong are: ₫500, ₫1000, ₫2000, ₫5000, ₫10000, ₫20000, ₫50.000, ₫100.000,
₫200.000, and ₫500000
Foreign currencies could be changed at banks, markets, airports, and hotels with ease.

OPENING HOURS
The Offices of the Government are opened from8:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m and 1:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

TELEPHONE
011 – the US. exit code to dial initially when calling international
84 – Vietnam’s country code needs to be dialed next
9 – Vietnam’s mobile code need to be dialed next
011 + 84 + 9 + the Local Number – the whole dialing format
Phone cards are available throughout the country and the cards could be purchased at several
outlets. There are also many systems of mobile phone
.• HO CHI MINH Code: 08
• HNOI Code (IDD): 04
• Country Code: 84

Tourist Visa
The Tourist Visa for Vietnam need to be promulgated before arrival and the typical visa could be valid for one to three months. This is the most common type of visa that travellers to Vietnam from the whole world often use. In a few cases, the visa starts to expire from the time it is issued; thus, it is an ideal suggestion to get your visa as close as you can to your intended arrival time.
The cost of a Vietnamese visa could tremendously vary based on where you apply – a Vietnamese tourist visa may cost A$70 in Sydney, Australia, but just US$30 in Bangkok, Thailand and even just US$25 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Therefore, if people have time, then it would be much better for them to get their visa from a Vietnamese embassy somewhere in Asia rather than in their own home nation.
I have heard that Vietnamese visas taken from the consulate in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, could be issued valid for set dates up to one month apart.

Pre-Arranged Visa/ Visa On Arrival
More -arranged visas than real visas on arrival, these visas are sort through a Vietnamese travel agency who could obtain a “Letter of Approval” from the immigration department of the country. This letter would be copied to tourists and to the international airport they are planning to use and when they arrive at the airport their visas should be always ready to go.
There are several levels of visa length (up to 6 month, multiple-entry) and prices available and a nearly endless number of travel agencies in Vietnam who would happily sort the visas for tourists.

Airports
Vietnam has 2 hub international airports, Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh City and NoiBai Airport in Hanoi. A 3th airport is in Da Nang – the Da Nang Airport, could accept a far smaller number of international flights. More than 12 other domestic airports are scattered across the country.

Public Transport
Vietnam is a large nation and flying is the safest and fastest way to travel between the big cities. Tourists should opt for flying if travelling between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, just a 2-hour trip compared with over 1 day by train or bus. Pacific Airlines and Vietnam Airlines are the single 2 carriers that offer domestic flights, the latter which is a cheap carrier with facilities of online booking.
Train travel is easily the most comfortable type of overland travelling and the main line between Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi could get you from 1 city to the other within sixty hours aboard the Reunification Express. To enjoy more comfort, when travelling a long distance in Vietnam, to book an aircon berth is a must, and at a ticket office, you would have to book way in advance. If anyone is planning a train journey in this country, they should opt for Vietnam Express Train to the destinations they want to travel.
Inland routes are limited but there’s an international overnight between Lao Cai and Hanoi on the border of China, from where buses run on to Sata.
Bus travelling is the most popular type of overland travelling and not suggested if you aren’t just planning to travel a short distance. On Vietnamese buses, seats are relatively small and the conductor might try to assign over 1 person to a seat. If you have to travel by buses, ensure that you book with a high-quality tourist company that would cater to travelers. Several bus tours that are open-top offer tours around the larger cities.
There are no main company for car rental in Vietnam like Avis and Hertz because the international driving licenses are not accepted. It is perfectly acceptable for hiring a car with driver. Nevertheless, it is usually the best way for tourists to travel. Remember that long distance travelling by road could be very slow due to traffics and conditions on the road.
To travel within the cities, ‘xeom’ (motorcycle taxis) are usually the quickest way to get about. Before getting in a taxi, always deal about the price with the drivers. Cycle-Pedi cabs are also fine for travel within cities. You would often pay more for a Pedicab than a motorcycle taxi; however, the pace is more comfortable and some operators provide city tours.
Getting about the country by boat, especially in the southern Mekong Delta, is actually a must. Day boat tours through tour companies come with reasonable price and this is a comfortable way to visit the Mekong area, the Nha Trang, Ha Long Bay, and Hue areas.

Food
In the past few years, Vietnam’s foods have become more and more common all over the world. Food lovers might have tried the 2 best well-known dishes in Vietnam – bread rolls and spring rolls. Rice, herbs, fresh veggie, and noodles all play huge roles in Vietnam’s culinary, making it among the healthiest culinary around the world.
In Vietnam you would discover a definite fact: people living in Vietnam like eating noodles. They eat noodles on daily basis, sometimes for all meals. Vietnam’s noodles are made from some basic ingredients, the most common among them are mung beans, wheat, and rice, but a entire sub-culinary is built on these basic ingredients.

About Vietnam’s Culinary
In the northern part of Vietnam, thanks to the effect of neighboring China, people often use soy sauce rather than any other part, where fish sauce is used more regularly and more widely. Other popular ingredients in Vietnamese meals are cane sugar, tamarind, lemon grass, limes, black pepper (majorly in the north), coconut milk, and hot chili supplemented by potatoes and asparagus, courtesy of the influence from France. Cooking methods may vary from boiling or simmering to grilling or frying.
Stir-frying using chopsticks and a wok is popular. A lot of European effects could be found in Vietnamese dishes, such as baguettes (French rolls), patés, cold roast pork, meats, and sauces. In some parts of Vietnam, at the other end of the scale, there is still many different demands for exotic meats like snake, turtle, and dog.

Accommodation
Thanks to the increasing volumes of tourism, Vietnam’s accommodation issue has also expanded to meet the demands of this sector. Tourists could be able to find a lot of different services here, from five stars hotels to budget hostels. As a thumb rule, large cities have a lot of options while in small ones, and it is more difficult to find out upscale accommodations.
Unlike several countries in South America and Europe, there is no central square where most tourist attractions and accommodations concentrate yet they spread out in many districts instead. For instance, in Hanoi, while the Old Quarter offers several accommodations with hotels and historic attachments, hostels near West Lake provide scenic view of the largest lake in the capital of Vietnam.
Expect to pay 150 dollars for luxury and five dollars for budget option at least. Several hostels and hotels have a check out and check in time so ensure that you would check in advance to avoid having to pay an unwanted price. Some of these accommodations also provide city trips or tours to the areas around. It is better; nevertheless, for shopping around and asking for opinion from other experienced tourists to avoid scams. In most cases, luggage storage is available.
For precaution, remember to lock your entire luggage before leaving them at the hostels.

Tour Guides
Government-licensed tourist guides are always available so travelers would be able to catch the help from them and pay a trip. These multi-linguistic guides often accompany organized bus tours, or the visitor or the guide could hire a car on an individual basis with a driver. Tourists are welcomed by over one hundred travel agencies with offered guides speaking Cambodia, Korean, Thai, Chinese, Spanish, German, Japanese, French, and English.

Vietnam Information
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