Vietnam holidays are made up of kaleidoscopic images: neon-hued cities, lush paddy fields, vast stretches of undisturbed white-sand beaches and dramatic seascapes. Located in the South China Sea, Vietnam stretches almost 2400km from the Mekong Delta to the highlands bordering China, and covers a wide range of climates, countryside and ethnic groups. Its history is punctuated by the Vietnam War, Ho Chi Minh and the French occupation.


Vietnam tours are as diverse and exciting as the country itself. Whether you’d prefer to cycle long, winding roads through tea plantations that drape themselves over mountainsides; paddle through the still waters of Halong Bay; explore the tree-lined boulevards of the capital Hanoi, ducking and diving into back streets, trying some of the world-famous street food along the way; or immerse yourself in the frenetic pace of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), Vietnam trips have an impossible energy.

GEOGRAPHY

Area

Total: 331,210 sq km
Land: 310,070 sq km
Water: 21,140 sq km
Country comparison to the world: 67

Land boundaries

Total: 4,616 km
Border countries (3): Cambodia 1,158 km, China 1,297 km, Laos 2,161 km

Coastline: 3,444 km (excludes islands)

Maritime claims

Territorial sea: 12 nm
Contiguous zone: 24 nm
Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin

Climate: The weather in Vietnam can be split by region. In Hanoi & the north, May to October is hot and humid with high rainfall; November to April is cooler and dry. In the far north, December & January can be particularly cold. Central Vietnam experiences hot, dry weather between January & August when temperatures can hit the mid-30°C’s; whilst high levels of rainfall can occur in September, October & November. Southern Vietnam is generally dry and hot from November to April, and warm and wet between May & October, with the highest rainfall in June, July & August.

Terrain: Low, flat delta in south and north; central highlands; hilly, mountainous in far north and northwest

Elevation

Mean elevation: 398 m
Elevation extremes: 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, arable land

Land use

Agricultural land: 34.8%
Arable land 20.6%; permanent crops 12.1%; permanent pasture 2.1%
Forest: 45%
Other: 20.2% (2011 est.)

PEOPLE & SOCIETY

Population: 96,160,163 (July 2017 est.)

Country comparison to the world: 15

Ethnic groups: Kinh (Viet) 85.7%, Tay 1.9%, Thai 1.8%, Muong 1.5%, Khmer 1.5%, Mong 1.2%, Nung 1.1%, Hoa 1%, other 4.3%

Note: 54 ethnic groups are recognized by the Vietnamese Government (2009 est.)

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

Religions: Buddhist 7.9%, Catholic 6.6%, Hoa Hao 1.7%, Cao Dai 0.9%, Protestant 0.9%, Muslim 0.1%, none 81.8% (2009 est.)

Population distribution

Though it has one of the highest population densities in the world, the population is not evenly dispersed; clustering is heaviest along the South China Sea and Gulf of Tonkin, with the Mekong Delta (in the south) and the Red River Valley (in the north) having the largest concentrations of people

Vietnam & Cambodia Highlights

Hidden Hills of Vietnam & Laos

Mekong River Experience

Hanoi Street Food

Essential Vietnam

Sapa Discovery