Appearing as attractive and friendly as a Vietnamese lady in her Ao Dai (the national costume), Vietnam offers beautiful sceneries, rich cultures, famous historic sites, and friendly people. Vietnam is developing rapidly but yet still remains traditional and regional.
- Name of the country: The Socialist Republish of Vietnam
- Capital city: Hanoi
- Government: Communist system
- Head of the government:
President: Nguyen Minh Triet
General Secretary of the Party: Nguyen Phu Trong
Prime minister: Nguyen Tan Dung
- Population: About 85 million
- Area: Stretch over 1600 km from North to South
Land Area: Over 329.000 sq km
Coast Line: Over 3.400 km
- Climate: Vietnam is a tropical country- It lies in the East Asia monsoon zone and its tropical climate is determined by two monsoons: South-West monsoon and North-East monsoon.
The rainy season lasts from May to November
The dry season lasts from December to April
Average temperature: Around 25 degrees Celsius
- Geography: It borders China in the North, Laos and Cambodia in the West, and the South Vietnam Sea in the East and South.
- Political and Administrative system:
The principal local governmental entities include a People's Council of elected deputies and a People's Committee of members chosen by the council. All the political-economic-social activities of these entities are led by the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV).
The administrative system has 4 levels: city/ province → urban district/sub-urban district → ward/commune/township/village → hamlet.
- History in brief:
Prehistory: The earliest human habitation of North Vietnam goes back about 500,000 years. The Hoa Binh civilization of Mesolithic and Neolithic cultures existed in North Vietnam around 20,000 - 8,000 BC. Primitive agriculture and wet rice culture might have been engaged in North Vietnam during this period. Later civilizations that have been acknowledged are Bac Son Civilization (in North Vietnam, from 8,000 – 5,000 BC), Dong Son civilization (also called the Red River Civilization – from 4,000 BC), Sa Huynh civilization (in the Middle Vietnam, from 2,800 – 2,000 BC), Dong Nai civilization (from 5,000 – 2,000 BC) and Oc-Eo civilization (in the Mekong delta, Funan Kingdom – from 200 – 700 AD).
From 200 BC to 938 AD, Vietnam was dominated by China. The most famous Vietnamese heroines who defeated the Chinese invaders in this period were the two Trung Sisters (40 – 43 AD). The Vietnamese, particularly women, are always proud of being their descendants. In this era, the Vietnamese were introduced to Therevada Buddhism and Mahayaba Buddhism by Indian and Chinese monks, and to Confucianism and Taoism by Chinese scholars.
From the 10th Century to 19th Century AD, Vietnam gained and constantly protected her independence from China through many dynasties of the Ly, the Tran, the Later Le, and the Tay Son.
From 1858 – 1954: The French colonized Vietnam and divided her into 3 countries: Tonkin in the North, Annam in the Middle and Cochinchina in the South. They built houses, buildings, schools, churches; plantations of rubber, coffee; roads, railways; etc. They exploited more than what they could build and transferred goods and products back to the Motherland more than what they should have got. This period described as “hell on earth” was over after the defeat of the Dien Bien Phu battlefield in 1954.
From 1954 – 1975: Ngo Dinh Diem established and claimed himself president of the South regime from the 17th parallel down to Ca Mau against the Geneva Agreement of a national election. The country was again divided into 2 parts: North and South. The Vietnam War took away the lives of 2 million people within 20 years. It was partially ended in 1973 after the Paris Agreement and fully ended on 30 April 1975.
From 1975 till now: Peace has really returned to one of the most friendly and peaceful people in the world. The Vietnamese have always healed the wars and moved forward. From being starving in 1970s, she has become the world second rice exporter. Vietnam has been considered one of the fastest developing countries in the world, a dreamland for businesses and enterprises.
- Security: Safe and stable
- Religion: Main religions are Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, and Christianity
- Ethnic group: 54 ethnic groups divided into 5 ethno linguistic groups
Include: 84% ethnic – Vietnamese
2% ethnic – Chinese
14% the others
- Language: Vietnamese is the national language
Most popular foreign language: English
Tourist guides can speak English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Thai, Japanese and Korean
- Characteristics: Vietnamese people are friendly and hospitable
- Culture: Locally rich cultures in terms of cuisine, costumes, architecture, traditional handicrafts, wood carvings, stone carvings, lacquer wares, ceramics, embroidery, pottery, conical head making, etc) of the Vietnamese, the Cham, the Black Hmong, the Red Dao, and many other ethnic groups
- Economy: Based on agriculture, fishery, garment, sea oil exploitation industries
Agriculture: Rubber, rice, fruits, ground nuts, coffee, animal husbandry . . .
Industry: Garments, crude oil, food processing, constructions, manufacturing. . .
Main import: Petrol, electronics, machinery and equipment, fertilizer, steel products, motorcycles, autos, …
Main export: Rice, rubber, coffee, foodstuff, garments, crude oil, tea.. .
- Electricity: Mostly 220 V at 50Hz. You may still find 110V (also at 50Hz)
- Shopping: Clothes, silk and fabrics, handicrafts, pottery, lacquer ware, or food stuff.
- Office hours:
All Government offices are open eight hours a day from 7.30 to 16.30 (except for a one-hour lunch break) on Monday to Friday. Some offices are open on Saturday morning but close in the afternoon. Sunday is a holiday.
Most private offices are open eight hours a day from 8:00 or 8.30 to 17.30 or 18:00 (except for 1.5 hour lunch break) on Monday to Friday. Some offices are open on Saturday morning but close in the afternoon. Sunday is a holiday.
- Telecommunication: There are many telephone suppliers you can use in Vietnam: Vinaphone, Mobil phone, Viettel, S-phone, EVN phone for desk phones, mobile phones, and internet phone. For cheap international phone calls, use service numbers: 171, 178 before dialing the phone numbers
- Internet Access: You can get access to the internet almost everywhere even in a small village. Most hotels allow access to ADSL internet or Wifi internet
- Radio and TV :
Radio: FM, AM, VOA, BBC . . .
TV: international channels such as CNN, BBC, TV5, ANBC, HBO, MTV. . . are all available in additional to numerous local TV channels.
- Tourist highlights:
In the North: Hanoi, Halong Bay, National Parks, Tam Coc Caves, Sapa, Dien Bien, etc.
In the Center: Hue Royal Citadel and tombs, Hoi An ancient town, My Son Sanctuary, Phong Nha Caves, Marble Mountains, Nha Trang bay, beaches, Central Highlands, etc.
In the South: HCMC, Mekong Delta, Cu Chi Tunnels, Cao Dai Holy See, Vung Tau beaches, Phu Quoc Island etc.
- Money Currency: Dong (VND)
Bank notes: 200d, 500d, 1.000d, 2.000d, 5.000d, 10.000d, 20.000d, 50.000d, 100.000d, 500. 000d
Bank coins: 200d, 500d, 1.000d, 2.000d, 5.000d
Popular Vietnamese banks: Vietcombank, Eximbank, Sacombank, Agribank, ACB bank, etc. which are available both in the cities and in the countryside
Popular foreign banks: City Bank, ANZ Bank, HSBC Bank, etc. only available in big cities of Hanoi and HCMC.
ATMs are available widely in cities and big towns, but few in the countryside. Vietcombank ATMs are the most appropriate for foreign credit cards.
- Tips: 5 or 10 % in restaurants or hotels. Generally speaking, tipping is not compulsory but highly appreciated.