Travel is only glamorous in retrospect.
— Paul Theroux, 1941 -
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Vietnam

Background

Vietnam

The conquest of Vietnam by France began in 1858 and was completed by 1884. It became part of French Indochina in 1887. Vietnam declared independence after World War II, but France continued to rule until its 1954 defeat by Communist forces under Ho Chi MINH. Under the Geneva Accords of 1954, Vietnam was divided into the Communist North and anti-Communist South. US economic and military aid to South Vietnam grew through the 1960s in an attempt to bolster the government, but US armed forces were withdrawn following a cease-fire agreement in 1973. Two years later, North Vietnamese forces overran the South reuniting the country under Communist rule. Despite the return of peace, for over a decade the country experienced little economic growth because of conservative leadership policies, the persecution and mass exodus of individuals - many of them successful South Vietnamese merchants - and growing international isolation. However, since the enactment of Vietnam's "doi moi" (renovation) policy in 1986, Vietnamese authorities have committed to increased economic liberalization and enacted structural reforms needed to modernize the economy and to produce more competitive, export-driven industries. The Communist leaders, however, maintain control on political expression and have resisted outside calls to improve human rights. The country continues to experience small-scale protests from various groups, the vast majority connected to land-use issues, calls for increased political space and the lack of equitable mechanisms for resolving disputes. Various ethnic minorities, such as the Montagnards of the Central Highlands and the Khmer Krom in the southern delta region, have also held protests.

About

Vietnam (Việt Nam), officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (Cộng hòa xã hội chủ nghĩa Việt Nam) is a country in Southeast Asia. Its neighboring countries are China to the north, Laos and Cambodia to the west.

Read more about Vietnam in our Vietnam travel guide »

Featured journals from

Vietnam

Southeast Asia winter 2011

by psmadsen

Brief photo updates from my winter 2011 journey in Australia and Southeast Asia.

Sep 2011 - Dec 2011  »  Australia | Vietnam | Cambodia | Thailand

One Lucky Lady off to see the World!

by Natreadtravels

Let the Adventure begin.............thank you Edwina and Cruise Portfolio for allowing me this wonderful opportunity.

Mar 2014 - Jun 2014  »  United Kingdom | Vietnam | Chile | Argentina | Bolivia | Colombia | Peru

3 Seasons

by SlyOldFox

Adventures in winter avoidance

May 2014  »  New Zealand | Vietnam

South East Asia 2009

by jeffsadventures

Feb 2007 - Oct 2009  »  New Zealand | Vietnam

25 Days of Laos

by wanderingshutterbug

A 25-Day Journey Around Laos On Mustafa (A Sleek Black Honda FTR)

Apr 2011 - May 2011  »  Vietnam | Laos

Vietnam/Cambodia

by schultz132

January 2011

Jan 2011  »  South Korea | Vietnam

Featured hotels in

Vietnam

VietnamHyatt Regency Danang Resort and Spa 

Truong Sa Street, Hoa Hai Ward,
Ngu Hanh Son District
Da Nang
Vietnam

Price (US$): $185 - $905 / night

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Location. Hyatt Regency Danang Resort and Spa is located on the beach in Da Nang's Non Nuoc neighborhood, close to Non Nuoc Beach and Marble Mountains. Other points of interest are Museum of Cham Sculpture and My Khe Beach. Resort Features. Dining options at Hyatt Regency Danang Resort and Spa include 3 restaurants. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available. The resort serves buffet breakfasts each morning in the restaurant (surcharges apply). Recreational amenities include… more »

VietnamLegend Hotel Saigon 

2a - 4a Ton Duc Thang St
Ho Chi Minh City 70000
Vietnam

Price (US$): $182 - $539 / night

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Location. Legend Hotel Saigon is located in Ho Chi Minh City's Riverside neighborhood, close to Opera House, Ho Chi Minh City Hall, and Saigon Central Post Office. Nearby points of interest also include Saigon Notre Dame Basilica and Ho Chi Minh City Museum. Hotel Features. Dining options at Legend Hotel Saigon include 4 restaurants. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available. The hotel serves buffet breakfasts each morning in the restaurant (surcharges apply). Recreational… more »

VietnamHotel Majestic Saigon 

01 Dong Khoi Street District 1
Ho Chi Minh City 70000
Vietnam

Price (US$): $190 - $470 / night

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Location. Hotel Majestic Saigon is located in Ho Chi Minh City's Riverside neighborhood, close to Opera House, Ho Chi Minh City Hall, and Ho Chi Minh City Museum. Nearby points of interest also include Museum of Fine Arts and Saigon Central Post Office. Hotel Features. Dining options at Hotel Majestic Saigon include 3 restaurants. A poolside bar and a bar/lounge are open for drinks. Room service is available. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool, a health club, a spa tub, a sauna,… more »

VietnamSheraton Nha Trang Hotel & Spa 

26-28 Tran Phu Street
Nha Trang 57000
Vietnam

Price (US$): $149 - $404 / night

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Location. Sheraton Nha Trang Hotel & Spa is located on the beach in central Nha Trang, close to Khanh Hoa Museum, Nha Trang Beach, and Thap Ba Hot Spring Center. Other points of interest near this luxury hotel include Tram Huong Tower and Dam Market. Hotel Features. Dining options at Sheraton Nha Trang Hotel & Spa include 3 restaurants. A poolside bar is open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool, a children's pool, a spa tub, a… more »

VietnamAna Mandara Villas Dalat 

Le Lai Street, Ward 5
Da Lat
Vietnam

Price (US$): $117 - $206 / night

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Location. Located in Da Lat, Ana Mandara Villas Dalat is in the mountains and close to Domaine de Marie Church, Bao Dai Summer Palace, and Xuan Huong Lake. Nearby points of interest also include Dalat Flower Gardens and Dalat Cable Car. Hotel Features. Ana Mandara Villas Dalat's restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A poolside bar and a bar/lounge are open for drinks. Room service is available. A complimentary buffet breakfast is served each morning. Recreational amenities include… more »

Browse more hotels in Vietnam »

Vietnam

Full name
Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Capital
Hanoi
Location

Southeastern Asia, bordering the Gulf of Thailand, Gulf of Tonkin, and South China Sea, alongside China, Laos, and Cambodia

Geographic coordinates

21 02 N, 105 51 E

Area comparative

slightly larger than New Mexico

Border countries

Cambodia 1,228 km, China 1,281 km, Laos 2,130 km

Coastline

3,444 km (excludes islands)

Climate

tropical in south; monsoonal in north with hot, rainy season (May to September) and warm, dry season (October to March)

Terrain

low, flat delta in south and north; central highlands; hilly, mountainous in far north and northwest

Lowest point

South China Sea 0 m

Highest point

Fan Si Pan 3,144 m

Natural resources

phosphates, coal, manganese, rare earth elements, bauxite, chromate, offshore oil and gas deposits, timber, hydropower

Population

89,571,130 (July 2010 est.)

Ethnic groups

Kinh (Viet) 86.2%, Tay 1.9%, Thai 1.7%, Muong 1.5%, Khome 1.4%, Hoa 1.1%, Nun 1.1%, Hmong 1%, others 4.1% (1999 census)

Religions

Buddhist 9.3%, Catholic 6.7%, Hoa Hao 1.5%, Cao Dai 1.1%, Protestant 0.5%, Muslim 0.1%, none 80.8% (1999 census)

Languages

Vietnamese (official), English (increasingly favored as a second language), some French, Chinese, and Khmer; mountain area languages (Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian)

Government type

Communist state

Independence

2 September 1945 (from France)

National holiday

Independence Day, 2 September (1945)

Chief of state

President Nguyen Minh TRIET (since 27 June 2006); Vice President Nguyen Thi DOAN (since 25 July 2007)

Head of government

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan DUNG (since 27 June 2006); Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh HUNG (since 28 June 2006), Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung HAI (since 2 August 2007), Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien NHAN (since 2 August 2007), Deputy Prime Minister Pham Gia KHIEM (since 28 June 2006), and Deputy Prime Minister Truong Vinh TRONG (since 28 June 2006)

Internet country code

.vn

Internet users

23.382 million (2009)

Airports

44 (2010)

Ports and terminals

Cam Pha Port, Da Nang, Hai Phong, Ho Chi Minh City, Phu My, Quy Nhon

Other countries in the region