Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
— Mark Twain, 1835 - 1910




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military aid to South Vietnam grew through the 1960s in an attempt to bolster the government, but US armed forces were withdrawn following a cease-fire agreement in 1973.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.


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


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


by schultz132

January 2011

Jan 2011  »  South Korea | Vietnam

Featured hotels in


VietnamThe Vissai Hotel 

848 Tran Hung Dao Street
Tan Thanh Town
Ninh Binh

Price (US$): $40 - $17318 / night

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Location. The Vissai Hotel is located in central Ninh Binh and local attractions include Bich Dong Temple. Hotel Features. Dining options at The Vissai Hotel include 2 restaurants. 2 bars/lounges and a poolside bar are open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. The hotel serves a complimentary buffet breakfast each morning in the restaurant. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool, a health club, a spa tub, a sauna, and a fitness facility. The property's full service… more »

VietnamMoevenpick Hotel Saigon 

253 Nguyen Van Troi Street
Phu Nhuan District
Ho Chi Minh City

Price (US$): $105 - $130 / night

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Location. Near the airport, Moevenpick Hotel Saigon is located in Ho Chi Minh City's Phu Nhuan neighborhood and close to Gia Dinh Park, Saigon Central Post Office, and Ho Chi Minh City Hall. Additional points of interest include Jade Emperor Pagoda and War Remnants Museum. Hotel Features. In addition to 3 restaurants, Moevenpick Hotel Saigon offers a snack bar/deli and a coffee shop/café. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. Recreational amenities… more »

VietnamPilgrimage Village Hue 

130 Minh Mang Road

Price (US$): $129 - $485 / night

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Location. Located in Hue, Pilgrimage Village Hue is in a rural location and close to Nam Giao Esplanade, Tomb of Tu Duc, and Tomb of Khai Dinh. Nearby points of interest also include Bao Quoc Temple and Tomb of Minh Mang. Hotel Features. Pilgrimage Village Hue features a coffee shop/café. Room service is available 24 hours a day. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool, a children's pool, a health club, and a sauna. Spa amenities include facials, body treatments, beauty services, and… more »

VietnamAn Lam Villas Ninh Van Bay 

Ninh Van Bay
Nha Trang
Ninh Hoa

Price (US$): $430 - $949 / night

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Location. An Lam Villas Ninh Van Bay is located on the beach in Ninh Hoa's Ninh Van neighborhood and attractions in the region include Bai Duong Beach, Nha Trang Beach, and Vinpearl Land. Regional points of interest also include Po Nagar Cham Towers and Thap Ba Hot Spring Center. Resort Features. An Lam Villas Ninh Van Bay's restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A beach bar is open for drinks. Room service is available. The resort serves buffet breakfasts each morning in the… more »

VietnamFusion Maia Resort 

Truong Sa Street
Khue My Ward, Ngu Hanh Son District
Da Nang 59000

Price (US$): $390 - $694 / night

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Location. Fusion Maia Resort is located on the beach in Da Nang, close to Marble Mountains, Museum of Cham Sculpture, and My Khe Beach. Non Nuoc Beach is also a point of interest near this luxury resort. Resort Features. Dining options at Fusion Maia Resort include 2 restaurants. A poolside bar and a bar/lounge are open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. The resort serves a complimentary hot and cold buffet breakfast. Guests can enjoy a complimentary manager's reception… more »

Browse more hotels in Vietnam »


Full name
Socialist Republic of Vietnam

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


3,444 km (excludes islands)


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


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


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)


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)


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


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


Internet users

23.382 million (2009)


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